About Us

About Sigung (Grand Master) John Ding


Grand Master John Ding founded Master Ding Academy to preserve and promote the traditional, holistic approach of Yang style Tai Chi Chuan training, following a lifetime's pursuit of excellence in Martial Arts.


MDA tai chi is characterised by a strong emphasis on building health, power and understanding of internal energy through experiential study of Tai Chi's concepts and principles. The result is a system that we hope teaches you strength and calmness in the face of all life's aspects, lightened by a true joy for living.

MDA covers the entire traditional Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan syllabus, so no matter how deeply you want to look into Tai Chi, we will be there for you. In addition you will benefit from the unique skills of this generation's MDA teachers and masters who work hard to make the process fun, flexible and inclusive. To us it is all about transmission of the real skill of Tai Chi Chuan which is carried from generation to generation by the proper understanding and execution of its concepts and principles. If you are after more from your Tai Chi Chuan, look no further. For further information please visit our main website at www.masterdingacademy.com

MDA Stratford City and Ilford Teaching Staff

Ko Poon (MA, BA Hons, PGCE, PGdip, FHEA, Dip Shiatsu Do)

Head Teacher at MDA Stratford City

External Martial Art Career

Ko Poon (Poon Kok Hung) began Martial Arts in the early eighties within a successful Karate organisation. He has trained in the external arts of Shotokan and Goju Ryu Karate Do under various masters to a high level, achieving the grade of Black Belt 5th Dan in Shotokan.


He started teaching his own Karate classes in 1994 and co-founded Poon Dojo with his brother John Poon in 1995. Today, Ko Poon maintains a constant presence within Poon Dojo, as an advisor and part of the Chair of Governors to PDSMAE, although his own martial journey has taken him deeply into the powerful internal art of Tai Chi Chuan. Within the media world Ko has appeared in a documentary about spirituality as well as on Children's television training a presenter in the Art of Karate.

Internal Martial Art Career

In 1999 Ko Poon decided to focus his training within the internal arts. It was at this point that he became a student under Master John Ding (Ding Teah Chean). In December 2002 he qualified as a JDIATCC Traditional Tai Chi Chuan Instructor. Since then, he has been involved in teaching Tai Chi to the Elderly for 'Age Concern Waltham Forest', teaching Tai Chi in a Newham Primary School as well as for a Learning Disability Unit at Waltham Forest. Additionally, Ko Poon now runs the MDA Stratford City branch and is a senior student of Sifu John Ding, dedicating his Martial Arts training solely to the path of Tai Chi Chuan.


Therapy Career

Ko Poon started his therapy career in the early nineties, as an apprentice of Dr A.J.W Clemens BA. MSc. Phd., Founder of the Association of Osteomyology. It was in 2000 that Ko Poon decided to study Shiatsu. He graduated in November 2003 from the British School of Shiatsu Do as a fully qualified Shiatsu therapist. During the course of his training he had the opportunity to train with leading practitioners in the field such as Ohashi Sensei (Founder of Ohashiatsu ©). Ko Poon now runs a successful Shiatsu practice in East London.


Professional Career

Professionally, Ko Poon has worked in the British Education system since 1996. Starting as a Primary School Teacher in the East End of London, he then gained promotion to become a senior manager holding the positions of Acting Deputy Head Teacher, Assistant Head Teacher as well as a Leading Maths Teacher in the Borough of Newham. In September 2003 Ko Poon became a Senior Lecturer at the University of East London, lecturing in Mathematics and Physical Education for the Primary PGCE programme (Initial Teacher Training). Ko Poon was also the lead Physical Education Lecturer for the Primary PGCE Programme for 13 years. Ko Poon is now the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Lead for the an East London Primary Teaching School as well as the Primary ITT Lead for a London based School based Teacher Training Provider.


John Poon (BA Hons)

Assistant Teacher and Lead teacher for Ilford MDA


Internal Martial Art Career

In 1999 John Poon decided to focus his training within the internal arts. It was at this point that he became a student of Master John Ding. He continues to train under the Since then, he has been involved in teaching Tai Chi for Health to the Elderly for Waltham Forest Age Concern and Gainsfield Court (Rainbow Project) as well as teaching at Goodmayes Primary School.


Professional Career

Career wise John Poon has worked as a part-qualified Accountant (ACCA) in the Charity Sector & Non-For-Profit organisation since the late 1990s. He was a Trustee for St. Francis Parish Church in the early 1990s helping with fund raising, budgets and annual accounts. In the early 2002, John's career took a turnaround as he became a Property Consultant in East London & Essex, working as an Assistant Manager for a large Estate Agent in Ilford. Towards the end of 2007, John set-up with 3 other Directors a Property Agency based in the heart of East London known as 'VOGUE Property Solutions'.(www.vogueps.co.uk)

John was also previously employed by one of the top security companies worldwide ‘G4 Security’. Qualified as a Security Guard, Front line and Door Supervisor, which is recognized by the SIA (Security Industry Authority). John has also attained a Martial Arts Coach qualification and is undergoing further coaching qualification with Pro-Active East London, which includes level 1 sports coaching award, child protection and first aid.


Gemma Leary (BSc Hons)

Assistant Instructor


In 2005, Gemma Leary began to practise the art of Tai Chi Chuan (after achieving a high grade in the art of Karate), and in November 2006 completed the Tai Chi for Health Course at MDA, so she is recognised as a Tai Chi Instructor.


Panayiota Nicola (BSc Hons)

Assistant Instructor


In 2007 Panayiota began to practise Tai Chi Chuan (after achieving a high grade in the external art of Karate), and completed the Tai Chi for Health Course at MDA. She continues to train under the MDA Stratford City and regularly trains at MDA with Sifu John Ding at the Master Classes and retreats.