Last Updated on February 6, 2014.
Champion Leads Full Life
There is no such thing as a slow day for Will Hamilton. Most people would be content having been promoted to executive officer for physical training and tactics at the NYPD Academy. For Hamilton that’s just his day job.
He was promoted to Sensei by Tiger Schulmann in 2009. A rank only bestowed on two other instructor since he was raised to it.
To further understand the esteem in which he is held by Shihan Tiger Schulmann, he is one of only two people to ever be promoted to that rank without working full time in a school..
Instead, Hamilton is a fixture at headquarters. Now he teaches every Monday and Thursday evening, training alongside a new generation of Team Tiger Schulmann fighters. His first taste of leading classes came more than a decade ago on Saturday’s and Sunday’s in Rego Park. But things changed after he won the title.
“Shihan wanted me to do the same thing at headquarters. He said whatever you want to teach, whatever you think is good. Show them what you got!”
I first met and became friends with him shortly after. My own training brought me to Elmwood Park every Thursday morning where Hamilton’s teaching and sparring where invaluable to my own success competitively.
I feel thankful to have have been able to train with him while his job still allowed him to teach morning classes. Things got tougher after he left his position overseeing beat cops in the NYPD’s 73rd district, Brownsville, Brooklyn. Now his job is Monday to Friday 9-5. So he gives two nights every week to serve as a mentor to other young students, many with the same background and same goals as he had nearly 20 years ago.
“He’s positive all the time,” says Craig Alexander. Alexander, whose next MMA fight will be as a professional, trains with Hamilton every Thursday any time he is preparing to fight. He makes the journey from Feasterville, Pennsylvania, at least an hour and a half, for the expert training. “He’s the champ. It makes it very easy to listen. Not only is he great technically at teaching, but he’s been there and done it so it’s extremely motivating.”
The two nights a week are complimented by countless Friday and Saturday nights where he can be found at amateur boxing, kickboxing and MMA events cornering his young fighters.
He takes tremendous pride in the display his young charges have put on over the last few years. While he is not competing at the same level as he was a decade ago, it hasn’t stopped his drive. Now he simply displays it from outside the ropes.
Hamilton still somehow finds time for a life at home. He married the love of his life, Michelle, in 2003 and he has three kids, his eight year old son having been born with autism. He is heavily involved with every aspect of his kids lives in the same way he is with his students and the officers he oversees at the Police Academy.
He is putting the same championship drive into helping his 7 year old son live with Autism, actively trying to use the same principles he learned in Martial Arts to help the 7 year old be as successful as possible.
Hamilton is the president of LEAF, Law Enforcement Autism Families. The organization is brand new, but it’s first goal is to establish an exercise program for people on the Autism Spectrum who are non-verbal or have a limited attention span.
He is applying the same attention to detail that allowed him to become a Kickboxing Champion. It’s also the same discipline he has taken to an executive position with the NYPD.
Hamilton became an officer in 2000 in the 30th Precinct. He says it was a tough beat, Washington Heights. That hardly stopped him from having the same success he has had in every other part of his life. It’s something with which Tiger Schulmann’s has had a prominent role.
“I felt like I had an unbelievable amount of confidence. I wasn’t worried about being in a confrontation or a difficult situation. I think I felt different because of my training.”
That training would be integral in his role at the police academy. It was his fourth year on the job when the academy began looking for officers with Martial Arts training to help in the Physical Training and Tactics department. Hamilton was a natural and stayed at the academy until his promotion to Sergeant and transfer to the 73th precinct.
He spent the next three years as a Sergeant in Brownsville. It was his job to keep all the officers under him safe. He would overlook those on foot patrol while also checking up on any officers that had specific calls to respond too.
It was in 2009 when a position opened at the Academy again. Hamilton was suggested by the man who was his supervisor his first time at the academy. He was back at the Academy after a successful application and interview.
Now he doesn’t oversee daily training like his first posting, instead he is responsible for designing curriculum.
“Everything we’re teaching at Tiger Schulmanns’ is functional for police on the street. In the police academy we only have six months so we can’t spend as much time as a student at a Tiger Schulmann’s,” says Hamilton.
While police officers have many more aspects to their learning than just self-defense, Hamilton sees some similarities and feels every officer can benefit from Tiger Schulmann’s training.
“Standing base drill. Forward roll. Jab, all the strikes all the kicks. Ground tactics we work on mount escape to the guard work on a scissor sweep, all those things work for an officer on the street.”
It’s the same basics Hamilton spends the vast amount of his time teaching to his young students at headquarters. There was nothing fancy about Hamilton’s fighting style. Just as there is nothing fancy about his teaching style or the way he goes about being a NYPD Sergeant, husband or father.
He personifies hard work and the rewards that go along with it. A simple lesson he learned at Tiger Schulmann’s
By: Sensei Thad Campbell
If you would like the opportunity to train with Hamilton simply ask your instructor!