Interview with Master John Ding

One needs to feel that potency to believe the awesome power. Coming from an external background, I was certainly very impressed with the power of the three disciples of Master Yang Sau Chung from who I learnt the traditional Yang Style.


Every style of martial arts has something to offer. I feel from my own experience though external styles are limited in that as one gets older it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain your standard. For example, a boxer is only able to maintain his position as a champion over a certain time span in his career. This also applies to martial art experts. Whilst they cannot always maintain their position, they are able to become trainers and teach students to achieve similar standards.


TCAH: Was it a clean break or did you continue external training?

MD: In the beginning I used to incorporate Tai Chi principles in my external arts to make them more effective. Numerous masters of external styles are probably going through the same thing now! Over time, though, I felt that as Tai Chi was so effective, it was pointless to keep modifying the external style. Finally, I decided only to practiced Tai Chi Chuan. This was certainly not an easy decision – to give up something that I loved and had trained at since a young age. It was


TCAH: have you any regrets?

MD: Only that maybe I should have switched earlier! It’s the best decision ever made in my martial arts training. My theoretical and practical understanding of Tai Chi Chuan has grown many folds – the principles are clearer than ever. The application of Tai Chi Chuan for self-defence is more potent than ever. It’s totally a different world from my external training. It seems like an endless journey- when you think you’ve reached a certain level, another level starts. It’s a continual spiral. Just as with Yin Yang symbol – as Yin reaches its limits, Yang comes into being and so on. Tai Chi gets more and more interesting as your training continue- each level opens a new door. It’s almost like the Chinese Kung Fu movies; the martial artist goes through different levels in training until reaching the ultimate level of being the supreme!


TCAH: Do you think people can practice both internal and external martial arts?

MD: People have to find their own path and make their own decision. To truly grasp the concept of internals arts, one has to pay a price- in Cantonese we call this “Doi gar”. It is difficult and painful. Staying on both sides will never truly get you in touch with what internal arts can offer. I often tell

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