Last Updated on January 13, 2014.
Part 1 of 4 in a Series on Sensei Will Hamilton
Will Hamilton is a man who gives other men Confidence. It’s a special attribute and one I can attest to myself. It’s a rare person who can give you something you don’t know you’re getting without you realizing you’re getting it.
It’s that leadership that has led Hamilton from being a New York City Police Officer walking a beat to a NYPD Sergeant leading recruits through arrest and close combat tactics that help keep city Police Officers alive every day!
My exposure to Hamilton came much earlier than that. He was still walking a beat in Brownsville when I first trained with him in 2003.
It was 2006 when I really got a true look into the man he is. I had been training with TSMMA’s successful fight team for three years, but I was still the proverbial left “out” fielder.
I had asked Shihan Tiger Schulmann if I could get a chance to go in the ring. I’ll never forget his response, “stick to broadcasting, you’re really good at it.”
I know Shihan said it to motivate me, and it did just that. The fight was scheduled and I began training four days a week at our headquarters. My main sparring partner for the two months before my fight? Sensei Will Hamilton.
It began painfully. I was in awe of Hamilton. I had called his fight a few months earlier at The Capitale in New York City where he earned the US Muay Thai Title with a vicious one punch knockout. His opponent Steven Richards, was so stunned, his coach literally had to carry him to back to the corner.
Now I had to step on the mat with him for two or three rounds of sparring each day of training. All I can say is thank God for big gloves and head gear.
Something funny happened over the next few weeks though. The punches started to hurt less and little by little I began to hit back. I’ll never forget the day two weeks before my fight. We finished our last round of the day and Hamilton patted me on the head gear.
“Thad, your right hand is no joke. No one hits me with a right hand and you got me good today!”
I spent the two hour drive back to my school in Feasterville on Cloud 9. I had just gone toe to toe with a US Muay Thai Champion and earned his respect. If I could hang with him what chance did my opponent have in his first ever amateur bout.
I won that bout, largely because of the Confidence I gained in my training camp. I went in knowing I could hang with Will Hamilton, what was Zack Hudgions going to do to me.
Hamilton was in the crowd that night, one of the first to congratulate me after my performance. I would continue to train with him constantly as my career shot all the way to the ranks of the New Jersey Tigers of the World Combat League.
It wasn’t until a few years later I realized I had had no business even sparring with Will Hamilton. I don’t know the exact moment, but I can remember laughing out loud at my own stupidity. This amazing leader of men had run a game on me so perfectly I didn’t even realize I was playing.
Stay tuned for Part II of this four part series coming soon.