It is with great sadness to announce that we lost one of our very close “family” member-Master Jeff Thomas, 5th Duan age 71. Our heartfelt condolences goes to all his family, namely his wife Glynis, his daughters Master Angie Thomas (Wu Duan) & Kelly, son-in-law James and grandchildren Evie & Joshua.
Master Thomas was promoted to 1st Duan on 4th September 1994. Initially he brought his daughters Angie & Kelly to our Rochford/Benfleet classes, but couldn’t resist participating as well, very soon after. Always trained very hard to the best of his ability , with care and kindness to everyone around , esp his juniors. Much admired for his friendliness in class, social events or Championships. A staunch supporter and participant at our Championships, since the early nineties up till 5 years ago, strong fighting spirit with excellent self-control.
He was serving as ringside judge in our recent 4th November 2017 Championships. A very happy day for him as he saw both his grandchildren’s Evie & Joshua success in both the form & free-fighting events!! Below are his thoughts and experiences as a valued part of the Federation.
A great ambassador of our school and Humanity!! Goodbye and Rest in Peace, Jeff.
GM Loke On behalf of All Instructors & Students
Below is an article written by Jeff about his life in the Tang Sou Dao family.
I had encouraged my two daughters to take up martial arts but being independent souls, even at the tender ages of nine and ten, they both chose different styles. My oldest daughter (now Master Angie Thomas) chose Tang Soo Do/Moo Duk Kwan (the style Grandmaster Loke taught prior to his founding of Tang Sou Dao in 1997) which she had seen from a leaflet. My youngest, Kelly chose a Shotokan style from a newspaper advert. My youngest attained green belt in Shotokan (equivalent in rank to green in our art) then decided to join her sister in Tang Sou Dao. Three grades later, as is the early teenage way, she decided to stop. So be it. So I took the plunge!
Six weeks or so later I was entering the Wu Kwan for a different reason. Never having been a ‘hobby only’ type individual I had now found an art with an inner intensity all of its own. No wonder it’s called ‘the Way’! I trained with Angie, who was 1st Ji at the time. I’ve been fortunate to have had her support all these years.
I personally take the view that you have to make the ‘Art’ your own. All those who have stayed the course and become ‘old school’ in their own right, young and older students, must have taken that view also. Having spent four teenage years in amateur boxing I had been encouraged to be ‘fast-fisted, fleet-footed’. Since I unfortunately tend to have a forward-only gear, this may explain why I just about won more than I lost. That I managed to avoid a broken nose in that time is uncanny. Fortunate!
In Tang Sou Dao we are also fortunate. Under Grandmaster Loke we have instruction by a highly respected martial art teacher of infinite knowledge, ability and achievement. There’s no substitute for ‘been there, got the t-shirt’. All Grandmaster Loke’s students should be aware he himself has come through the same ‘mill’ that he now puts us through. Instead of only ‘fast-fisted, fleet-footed’ I now train for ‘good heart-savage hands’.
It has been a good journey so far. I find this art draws predominantly good people, sound in heart and humour. Some memories arise. My good opponent Master David Hopkins’ reverse punch that most times when we fought at the Championships meant I got a bronze and he went on for a higher gong. Good stuff!
Good luck in your ‘Art’. Tang Sou to all!’