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Judo Belts


Here at Poon Dojo, we have a team of qualified and reliable teachers and instructors, with two dojos based in Stratford and Ilford. Contact us today to speak to our team.


The following are the profiles of POON DOJO Teachers and Assistant Instructors that are recognised and accredited by Poon Dojo to teach or assist in teaching the Poon Dojo curriculum / Nei Chuan (Internal Martial Arts) system in their respective branches. Teachers and assistant instructors maintain their Martial Professional Development (MPD) by attending the POON DOJO teacher training programme led by Sifu Ko Poon with support from Sensei John Poon. Thereby maintaining professionalism and high standards expected by our teachers and assistant instructors. Contact us today to get booked in for a class.

picture of Ko poon


Director & Founder

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 and 1st Dan in Goju Ryu as well as being graded by worldwide acknowledged Masters whose lineage can be traced to Japan and Okinawa. He started teaching his own Karate classes in 1994 and co-founded with his brother John Poon - POON DOJO. Today, Ko Poon is one of the Co-Directors to POON DOJO. 


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 UK Waltham Forest', teaching Tai Chi in a Newham Primary School as well as for a Learning Disability Unit at Waltham Forest to name a few. Additionally, Ko Poon now runs the MDA Stratford City & Goodmayes, Ilford branch and is a senior student of Sifu John Ding, dedicating his Martial Arts training solely to the path of Tai Chi Chuan.


Therapy, Health & Wellbeing Career

Ko Poon started his therapy career in the early nineties, as an apprentice of Dr Sir A.J.W Clemens BA. MSc. Phd., Founder of the Association of Osteomyology. Ko Poon graduated in November 2003 from the British School of Shiatsu Do as a fully qualified Shiatsu therapist. Ko Poon now runs a successful Shiatsu practice in East London.


Professional Career

Professionally, Ko Poon has held the positions of Acting Deputy Head Teacher, Assistant Head Teacher in a Primary School. He was also a Senior Lecturer at the University of East London for thirteen years and is currently the Primary ITT Lead for a School Based Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) Programme, training the next generation of Primary School Teachers.

picture of John Poon


Head Teacher & Co-Founder

External Martial Art Career

John Poon (Poon Kok Kung) began Martial Arts in the early eighties within a successful Karate organisation. John gained his first dan at the age of twelve after five years of intense training making him one of the youngest black belts in the country at that time. In 1994 in partnership with his brother opened the doors to Poon Dojo to the public. Since then he has been responsible for training hundreds of students that have stepped foot at Poon Dojo. The fruition of which has resulted in the training of high-grade teachers. John Poon now heads the Poon Dojo satellite branches, which run within Primary, Junior & Secondary schools during the academic year. 


Internal Martial Art Career

In 1999 John Poon started his Tai Chi journey under the John Ding International Academy of Tai Chi Chuan (JDIATCC). He continued his Tai Chi training with his brother Ko Poon who is responsible for running Master Ding Academy Stratford City.


In November 2006 John Poon received certification for “John Ding Foundation form for Health”. Since then John has focused his efforts in running weekly classes in Tai Chi for Health, Balance & Wellbeing across East London, Essex & City of London. This is evident from our client page the number of clients we now teach Tai Chi. 


Back in 2015 with permission from Master Ding, John set up Master Ding Academy Ilford/ Goodmayes branch. Since then has become an authorized MDA Instructor under “MDA London”. In addition to this in 2015, along with his brother Ko Poon, both became the Martial Arts & Tai Chi Consultants for the University of East London, Stratford & Docklands. Work involves coaching, teaching & running workshops for UEL & other Academic Institutes.   


Therapy, Health and Wellbeing Career

John Poon teaches Tai Chi for Health, Balance & Wellbeing to a number of clients in East London, Essex & City of London. Hands on experience (over 15 years’ experience) has seen many of his clients benefit from these classes both mentally, physically & spiritually. He also continues his ongoing study & research on Child Development, Behaviour & Mental Health Awareness. 


Professional Career

On a professional level, John Poon runs a small property business based in East London & Essex. Managing a small property portfolio for his closest clients, friends & family overseas & UK based. He also seasonally does joint ventures in property development with some of his closest & trusted associates. 

Picture of Penny Nicola

Penny Nicola started her martial arts journey in the eighties with a successful Tae Kwon Do organisation in East London (Hackney). She started her martial arts training with Poon Dojo in the mid nineties. Within five years she gained the grade of First Dan.

Penny also trains at MDA Stratford City and is an assistant instructor of Tai Chi Chuan. She continues her martial arts training attending Master Ding Academy events spending time with Sigung (Grand Master) John Ding. On a professional level, Penny was a Forensic Scientist working in a governmental department and is currently working for Medicine Regulatory. 


Deputy Head Teacher / Health & Safety Co-Ordinator

Gemma Britton


Deputy Head Teacher & Quality Assurance Co-ordinator

Gemma started her martial arts journey with Poon Dojo at the age of 11, gaining the grade of First Dan at the age of 16. Under the guidance of Sifu Ko Poon and Sensei John Poon, she qualified as a teacher of Poon Dojo and has continued her learning with them ever since.


Alongside teaching with Poon Dojo, Gemma is an approved instructor of Tai Chi Chuan with Master Ding Academy (MDA). She is an assistant instructor with MDA Stratford City.


Away from martial arts, Gemma is Head of Fundraising and Communications for a non-profit peacebuilding organisation, having worked in the charity sector for 14 years. Previous experience includes supporting medical research efforts for people living with hearing and sight loss, and more recently working with an older people’s charity; leading work to raise funds and build capacity to support older people experiencing (or at risk of) social isolation, and those living in poverty. She has a degree in Economics from Loughborough University and feels strongly in using her experience and knowledge to help create a better, happier and more equitable world. More widely, she has a particular interest in the impact of effective leadership and how coaching and mentoring in the workplace can lead to improved performance, and incorporates principles from internal martial arts in an office-based setting. 


Sarfraz started at Poon Dojo in 2005 at the Stratford HQ.  He has since gained the qualification of 1st Dan in August 2011 and assisted at Poon Dojo Stratford and Goodmayes, Ilford HQ. He started training in the Master Ding Academy Stratford City in 2008 and continues his training with Sifu Ko Poon.  He also attends seminars at Limehouse and the annual instructors' retreat, which is led by Master (Sigung) John Ding and Master Alan Ding.
Sarfraz studied at Brunel University and professionally has worked as a design engineer on high end supercar projects, sports project vehicles and hybrid technology. He now leads multiple design teams working with a global automotive manufacture on fuel & emissions efficient commercial and passenger vehicles


Assistant Teacher (Senpai)

Amber Byrne


Amber started her martial arts journey with Poon Dojo in 2007 at the age of 11. At the end of 2012 she achieved the grade of 1st Dan and began as an assistant teacher within the Dojo. It was around this time that she graduated to the Master Ding Academy Stratford and began her study of Tai Chi. Amber has studied the art continuously since then and has risen to an advance level at Poon Dojo Stratford branch, alongside maintaining her Nei Chuan training and assisting at the Stratford HQ & Poon Dojo Satelite branches. In 2019, Amber was awarded her 2nd Dan in Nei Chuan.  


Amber is one of the senior Lion Dance performers at Poon Dojo. Having started out learning the cymbals for the Lion Dance as a brown belt in her teenage years, she now leads the performances and practise sessions alongside fellow senior Tanoh. In recent years Amber and Tanoh have worked together to develop the Lion Dance beyond what they were first shown and now regularly spend time refining more advanced and ambitious movements in the hopes of passing this down to the newer members of the Poon dojo Lion Dance Troupe.

Assistant Teacher (Senpai)


Yazmin started her martial arts career with Poon Dojo at the age of nine & has now been with Poon Dojo for over 10 years. By the age of 15 she gained her 1st Dan and started teaching as an Assistant Teacher the year after. She is currently an Assistant Teacher at Poon Dojo Goodmayes Satelite Branch and is now working towards her 2nd Dan.


Yazmin is currently studying part time at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and also works part time for a well known established Performing Arts School.


Assistant Teacher (Senpai)


Tanoh started his training with Poon Dojo in 2001. Achieved his black belt in 2006 & was also then awarded his 2nd Dan in 2010. 


He continues his training with Poon Dojo & Master Ding Academy Stratford branch to date & is one of our Senior Instructors. 


He also leads the Poon Dojo Chinese Lion Dance team along with Amber Senpai. 


Tanoh is currently working towards a degree in advanced emergency care. He works as a paramedic for East of England ambulance service. 


Assistant Teacher (Senpai)

Jujitsu Outdoors


If you would like to speak to a specific one of our martial arts teachers, contact us today based in Stratford, and email us on and we'll get back to you.

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