Part 2 of 4 Part Series on Sensei Will Hamilton
Life was supposed to be perfect for Will Hamilton in the winter of 1995. It was a New Year. He had recently graduated from Katherine Gibbs School of Business and every day he traveled in to Manhattan for a great entry level position at the prestigious Marriott Marquis on Broadway.
Still he couldn’t get over the feeling that something was missing.
He grew up in East New York the oldest of four siblings. After his father and mother separated, he would often be left in charge of his brother and two sisters. That sense of responsibility might have been one reason Hamilton didn’t feel quite right.
He was the father of a young daughter and didn’t want her to grow up to see what his mother had. During his parents separation, Hamilton had spent much of his childhood watching his mother in a doomed relationship. The man she was dating would often turn to alcohol and violence. It was not a good time when he was intoxicated.
“At the time I felt helpless. I felt like if I was stronger and smarter things would have been different.”
Hamilton was working at the Marriott when he saw a series of commercials for Tiger Schulmann’s Karate on television. He had always wanted to get involved with Martial Arts, having dreamed of winning championships the way he had seen on Television growing up.
After the third time he watched the commercial he trekked from his Jamaica, Queens apartment over to Rego Park to try an introductory class.
“I felt like a hundred bucks. The discipline, how it was structured, the way I felt after the class was over. I felt stronger, it was everything i was looking for.”
It was January of 1995 and Hamilton made the first of many life changing decisions. He joined Tiger Schulmann’s and embarked on a journey that hasn’t slowed down for 19 years.
He began by taking classes three days a week, but couldn’t get away from the feeling of confidence class was giving him. Quickly he became a fixture at the school, training nearly every single day.
“I loved the feeling, the after effect after I left that class. All my life I felt a little helpless and after I left that class I felt confident and felt I could handle myself.”
Taken by the discipline of his Tiger Schulmann’s classes, Hamilton looked for more. He joined the Army in 1996. He had to take a brief hiatus from his training during boot camp in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, but he returned to Tiger Schulmann’s as well as his job at the Marriot after returning to New York City.
He would train constantly for the next few years, competing in Tiger Schulmann’s in house tournament, the Challenge of Champions, and competing against himself each and every time he trained.
“Class taught me never to give up. My instructor would give me challenges I didn’t think I could do and then he would help me do it. I learned you can do anything if you set your mind to it.”
It was 1999 when Hamilton achieved his first major goal with Tiger Schulmann’s.
It was then Hamilton’s instructor would invite him to test for his Black Belt. Like many of the challenges he faced in his training, he passed with flying colors. What he won’t ever forget is the final hurdle to his belt.
“You had to fight ten different Black Belts before you finally passed the test. Knowing I had accomplished that, it gave me amazing Confidence.”
Four years into his training and Hamilton had just started on his journey.
By: Sensei Thad Campbell
Stay tuned for part 3 of this 4 part series on Sensei Will Hamilton