Master Tom Hamilton
Master Tom Hamilton started his martial arts journey in the 1970's under the renowned Karate Sensei Tommy Morris.
At Strathclyde University, Tom trained in the style of Zhuan Shu Kuan (a form of Wushu kung fu founded by Masters Koh and Kam) under the tutelage of Sifu Jav Birjandi, progressing quickly up through the system. After Sifu Jav sadly passed away, Tom unofficially took responsibility for carrying on the training at the club, travelling to London to train with Masters Koh and Kam in order to reach black belt level.
Tom and I met in 1993 when I joined the Zhuan Shu Kuan club at Strathclyde University.
In early 2004, Tom and I were introduced to Grandmaster Samuel Kwok through an acquaintance of Tom's in Manchester, Sifu Billy Davidson and were accepted into Sifu Kwok's Wing Chun family, undergoing the bai si at Sifu Kwok's house in Blackpool, England.
We spent many an early Sunday morning driving to Sifu Kwok's house to train most of the day before heading home to Glasgow and were fortunate enough to travel to Hong Kong and China with Sifu in 2004 and 2009.
Tom sadly passed away in 2011 and is missed constantly by all at Hamilton Wing Chun and throughout the Kwok Wing Chun family. Sifu's words, spoken by myself at Tom's funeral, can be found here.
Tom was a tremendous influence on me from my teens onwards. As a man, he had all the humility and generosity you could look for in a friend. As a martial artist, he had an insatiable appetite for learning and progression and his martial arts were all about the power, effectiveness and practicality of the technique. There was nothing flowery about Tom's technique - if it didn't work, it was discarded. In that respect, he found his ideal style and Sifu in Grandmaster Kwok's Wing Chun.
Tom was given the honour of taking the Chinese name Kwok Zhi Chiang by Grandmaster Kwok.
Tom embodied ying and yang, someone who cared deeply about others and studied endlessly to become a healer but with a core of steel which was only exposed when it was absolutely necessary.
I will spend the rest of my life trying to live up to those standards. He will always be my true Siheng.