Zhong Ding International

Zhong Ding International

Living Tradition - The Martial Way

What exactly is Zhong Ding International about and what does it stand for?   Here is what the Founders of the Association Fong and Nigel Sutton have to say:

“Zhong Ding International is a worldwide family founded on kindness, love, generosity, sincerity and a lack of prejudice. These are all the qualities that over the forty plus years of our martial arts career we have encountered in our teachers and seniors.  If we start from the last item on that list, without lack of prejudice none of our teachers would have taught us, whether Chinese, Malay or Filipino they have all put aside the negative view of westerners and of women in martial arts that has often been prevalent in their own cultures and societies. Their kindness and  love, which manifests in an unselfish generosity, has been shown repeatedly over the years when they invited not only us but our whole  family into their homes and lives.

In attempting to honour the legacy of teachings and skills passed on to us, Fong and I have endeavoured to show the same generosity. From the first day of the foundation of Zhong Ding, and even before, we have opened our home and our lives to those who came to us to learn. This has inspired us to promote and  preserve  the tradition of formal initiation (where culturally required)  and the establishment of a martial arts family to continue  the  fostering of positive human values, allowing individual family members to reach their full potential in a nurturing and supportive environment as well as to preserve the tradition requiring commitment and dedication to really penetrate to the heart of these arts.

When it first started the Association was called the Zhong Ding Taijiquan Research Institute but over the years the number of arts taught and the scope of the organization broadened to the present day where it embraces traditional martial arts from China, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.”

Nigel Sutton

Zhong Ding International strives to create a learning environment that is both positive and professional as well as friendly and inspirational; where the individual is encouraged and guided to find their own “Inner Warrior”.

The Living Tradition of the Asian Martial Ways as taught by ZDI is based on the following core concepts:


That the arts are Martial Ways.

The Chinese character for martial represents the stopping of a halberd, thus the aim of a martial artist  is the prevention of conflict; and that they are Ways reflects the fact that they are a lifelong journey of self-discovery and self-cultivation. The  Chinese character Dao represents a Way or a path, a lifelong journey of spiritual discovery. According to the classic work of Daoist (often written as Taoist) philosophy, the Dao De Jing, this Dao corresponds to the underlying principle of all things, thus Wu Dao has a depth of meaning far beyond a simple method of fighting.

That in order to take this journey Loyalty is needed.

Loyalty is not only to the path we walk and the teachers and the members of the lineage that have walked the path before us, but also to ourselves and our endeavours in following the Way. The Chinese character for Loyalty shows a centred heart thus describing the essence of what loyalty is.

That Endurance is needed to persevere in taking this journey.

Endurance is a vital quality, needed by all who train in a Way. The Chinese character depicts a sharp knife hanging over the art and represents the fact that our studies should always be treated as a matter of life and death. Only with this immediacy and sense of urgency can we truly expect to make progress on the Way.

That Virtue – the Essence is an essential training goal.

Finally Virtue, in the sense of the essence of our training and of the Way itself, is what we aspire to and expect to develop as we continue our lifelong training journey.
As can be seen from these characters and what they represent, the Martial Way has the potential to be much more than just a collection of fighting techniques. We practice the fighting arts to learn how to live more fully. As a renowned Eastern teaching describes it, our training is the process of the Self training the Self to be the Self.