Tom Moss Sensei (6th Dan), 1944 - 2003.
Tom Moss was born in Bathgate, Scotland in 1944. When he was 10 years old, his family moved to England, and Tom attended Bishop Ullathorne School in Coventry. After leaving school, Tom began working in the engineering industry, where he would stay until he began teaching Aikido full time in the late nineties.
In 1965, after learning a little Karate and Judo, Tom began studying Aikido under the tutelage of Pat Stratford. He was completely hooked after just a few sessions, amazed at the effectiveness and power of the techniques, and the emphasis on not harming one’s opponent. Tom quickly found that the flowing, circular movements at the core of Aikido suited him perfectly. Aikido was little known in the UK at the time, and Tom often travelled around the country to find instruction from high ranking teachers. He reached the rank of Shodan (1st degree Black Belt) in 1969, and soon after set up his own club at Nicholas Chamberlain School in Bedworth with friends Ken Knapper, and Frank and Jim McCall. In 1973 he married his wife Barbara, and in the same year founded the Phoenix Aikido Club. In 1984 Barbara gave birth to their son John; John also went on to practice Aikido and gained his Shodan in 1999.
Over the years, the Phoenix Aikido Club was refurbished and extended to accommodate growing numbers of students and classes. In 1997, Tom achieved his lifetime ambition to teach Aikido full time. He spent a lot of time improving the building itself, and with the help of students and friends he created the three training areas, comfortable changing rooms and extensive facilities that the club now offers. He introduced many new classes, including daytime classes, which were very special to him, along with one-to-one tuition and women’s self defence courses.
One of Tom’s great joys was teaching children. He was known and respected throughout the schools in the city, where he regularly taught Aikido and self defence. He was also renowned for his patience and care when teaching children with special needs. He instructed all the junior classes at the club and developed his own teaching methods that combined fun, discipline and the joy of learning.
In 2002, while teaching at the Big Three course in Lowestoft with William Smith Sensei MBE and Hayden Foster Sensei, . It took him completely by surprise; he was honoured to receive the award in the company of such respected Aikidoka, and around fifty of his students were there to witness the presentation, making the occasion very special for Tom and the club. Tom was presented with his Rokudan (6th degree black belt)
Tom loved people, and always tried to bring them together the best way he could; through his enthusiasm for Aikido. Health permitting, he would doubtless have continued to do so for a very long time. Tom’s legacy was his love for life, his love for his own family, and for his extended family of students and friends. His patience and sense of humour, on and off the mat, were legendary, and he was loved and respected by everyone who knew him.
After being admitted to hospital 10 days earlier, Tom Moss Sensei passed away at 5pm on May 14th, 2003.
Tom Moss Sensei
This man was a special man
This man was loved and respected
This man was generous and kind
This man had a way with people young and old
This man made me feel special
This man was my teacher
This man was my friend
This man made me laugh
Now this man has made me cry
This man loved life and lived it to the full
This man left us all too soon
This man will be missed
This man will be remembered
This man was called sensei
This man was called Tom Moss
Rest in peace, my man, my friend
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