David Rodriguez (left) and John Higginson

David Rodriguez,  1965 - 2007

David Rodriguez, Senior Instructor and one of the founders of Zhong Ding España died on April 23rd 2007.

We first met David in 1997 at the international taiji meeting of Rencontres Jasnieres in France when he attended a San Shou course taught by John Higginson.  Despite the fact the he spoke no English and John spoke no Spanish, communication was no problem due to David’s remarkable ability to speak ‘international body language’ and his boundless sense of humour, which kept everyone on the course permanently in stitches.  Over the next few days, other Spanish students came to train, and by the end of the meeting they had decided they liked our approach; we also really liked them, and so the connection between Zhong Ding and Spain was born.  2007 marks the Tenth Anniversary of Zhong Ding Spain, and David was the catalyst for this enduring association.
David became a full-time instructor in Asturias, northern Spain, where he built a loyal following of students, many of whom became full-time instructors themselves.  He was instrumental in establishing classes in other areas of Spain which blossomed to work independently, and are thriving today. 

Although his taiji forms were functional rather than beautiful, David’s true skill was his indomitable fighting spirit.  Terrier-like he never, ever gave up in any contest, and although he had a tough and wiry build, he was only slight in stature, and I remember with great pleasure watching a particularly titanic struggle with a far taller and heavier Spanish instructor who had been intent on causing trouble, which ended with David’s hands firmly round his throat whilst sitting on his chest.

David liked to work with just a few basic hand and weapon forms, preferring instead to concentrate on the substance of the art, which frustrated a few would-be form-collectors.  However, his methods were extremely effective, and his legacy is the large number of talented students and instructors he has produced.

Over the years, both David and John finally remedied their respective language deficiencies, and could communicate freely; however David’s huge popularity transcended the need for language, and he will be remembered by his friends in England as perpetually joyous, feisty and positive, and I for one will always picture him laughing uproariously. 

He is going to be greatly missed.


Vicky Holden



‘David Rodriguez’:  Bagpipe-playing, leather-making, wood-turning, motorbike riding, acupuncturist.
To a skilled cider-pourer and Asturiano, my many thanks.

David should be remembered for the vivacious character he was.  It was my pleasure to know him as my very good friend.

He will be very sadly missed!

His friend (and taiji teacher)

John Higginson

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