For my money ADCC has always been the greatest grappling tournament. It brings together great athletes not simply from Jiu-jitsu, but judo, wrestling, sambo and MMA as well. The clash of styles makes for incredibly unique matches and outcomes. I also love the emphasis on takedowns. While many BJJers bemoan the guard jumping penalty I applaud it as the tournament’s greatest strength. Grapplers cannot be one dimensional; they must understand how to dominate the match from the feet to the floor. I also love the international feel. Qualifiers are held from around the world, it’s the closest our sport may ever get to an Olympics.
Teaching kids martial arts in Poughkeepsie can be hard at times. The students don’t always have the physical abilities to pull off the moves, their attention is so often elsewhere and they’re especially sensitive. As a result, most of the black belt school owners I know do not teach their kid classes. Instead they delegate the responsibility to an aspiring fighter who is training for free or they hire someone with a greater degree of patience.
I’ve always preferred to get on the mat with my kids. I alternate between teaching triangle chokes and giving speeches about the virtues of doing your homework. The abilities of kids vary greatly, for every student who looks like they might be the next UFC champion there’s another who can’t stop crying after hitting his head on the mat.
I try to make a real investment in my kids, understanding that they’re the future of Precision Mixed martial arts. I hope that I won’t simply improve their kicks and punches, but help them grow up to become better men and women. My right hand man, Chris Stanley is my brother in the struggle. Someone who shares my passion for teaching kids and never lets the smile leave his face, regardless of how chaotic the kids might become. I must confess though, there are difficult days where we question how much of a difference our teaching is making.
Then there are days where I get little gifts like this and I’m reminded why we keep running our kids martial arts classes.Check out Precision MMA’s kids martial arts classes in Poughkeepsie, NY for 30 Days FREE. Call 845-392-8495 or visit http://www.lagrangemartialarts.com
There is nothing better than making someone miss when they’re trying to take your head off. The ultimate statement of self defense skill is evading an incoming bomb. When I watch boxing it isn’t the knockout that wows me, it’s slick head movement.
If GSP does indeed call it quits I will miss his wonderful accent
Brought to you by Tampa martial arts coach Matt Arroyo
The Ultimate Fighter has become the UFC’s farm system for finding top undiscovered talent for mixed martial arts. The reality show has produced multiple world champions and countless contenders over it tenure on the air. The tournament format of the show is grueling. Three fights in a 6 week period while completely cut off from friends, family and the support structure that usually guides a fighter through troubled waters. Fighters must compete through injuries and literally live side by side with the very people training to knock them out. They are robbed of their privacy and all their eccentricities are broadcast worldwide for public scrutiny. Fighters who persevere to the finale possess an extraordinary amount of mental and physical fortitude; steadfast discipline and devotion to their craft make them the benchmark for aspiring combatants across the globe. However, juxtaposed alongside these marvels of martial excellence is a motley crew of self sabotaging underachievers with a surplus of hubris and a deficit of commitment. These self-proclaimed “professional fighters” forgo hard work and dedication in favor of binge drinking, street fighting, fraternity styled pranks and gluttonous overeating.
Aside from perhaps quitting on the stool, the most visible external sign of a fighter’s lack of heart is failure to make weight – a behavior that has plagued The Ultimate Fighter since its inception (I briefly discussed my first hand experience with a TUF cast member falling short on the scales HERE). Making weight on the show is much more difficult than other fights mainly due to the fact that the weight cuts are so frequent. Often times the fighters who do best on the show are those who compete above their natural fighting weight. Joe Stevenson, Mac Danzig and Kevin Gastelum are prime examples of this phenomenon. Mitigating circumstances aside, all fighters know what they are getting themselves into when they sign on the dotted line. The weight cuts are not a surprise and the fighters have access to the best food money can buy at zero cost for the duration of the show. This season, Cody Bollinger was the first to fall victim to the scale. He suffered embarrassment on the grandest scale and became the recipient of untold amounts of ridicule and disdain. In spite of this public crucifixion, his opponent to be Anthony Gutierrez suffered the same fate. Gutierrez is stable mates with numerous UFC veterans. He has seen how professionals conduct themselves at the highest level. Additionally, his coaches and teammates pointed out the recklessness of his “nutritional regimen”. Gutierrez simply arrogantly assumed he could cut 20 pounds in a week’s time and failed…miserably. David Grant was Gutierrez’s opponent and was the perfect foil, a consummate professional. Rather than enjoying an easy route to the finals, Grant was devastated that he earned his spot by forfeit. It was as if he considered his entry to the finals an unjust enrichment. He yearned for the crucible of competition and felt betrayed that he was denied his opportunity to demonstrate his worth. I actually believe he would rather have fought and lost than receive advancement via weight cut.
This turn of events holds many consequences for the sport. On the one hand, it plays to the sport’s critics by portraying the athletes as amateurish, weak minded children who can’t fulfill the most pedestrian of obligations. The title of “Ultimate Fighter” is forever weakened as the public now realizes that simply being on weight is enough to secure a spot in the finals.
The UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts should take this occurrence as an opportunity for some self assessment. Fighters routinely miss weight. There is one astronomical difference between a fighter missing weight on TUF as opposed to a regular UFC event – the fight doesn’t occur. There is no negotiation, no financial compensation to make up for the infraction, the penalty for missing weight is simple; you are not entitled to compete. At almost every UFC event someone misses weight. John Lineker has missed the mark a staggering three times yet for some reason he is still allowed to compete in the same division. Weight classes are in place to create a level playing field, to ensure that skill, athleticism and determination determine the victor rather than simply size. Violating weight class restrictions is the most blatant form of cheating. You don’t miss weight in the heat of the moment. There was no moment of confusion or anger that made you forget the weight class you signed up for. The competitor was aware of the rules and blatantly disregarded them. Allowing a bout to continue by simply instituting a financial penalty would be equivalent to allowing a fighter to openly take steroids if they sacrificed 20% of their purse. If athletic commissions scrapped a fight whenever a fighter missed weight then the UFC would likely cut fighters after their first infraction, or at the very least require them to move up a weight class for future fights. Additionally, if the threat of a fight falling through was real then coaches and promoters alike would check the progress of their fighters on the path to weigh-ins. A fighter competing at 135 pounds should not be 150 the week of the fight. The fighter didn’t mentally quit during the weight cut, they were far too heavy.
If the UFC adopted this model it would result in short term chaos followed by long term improvement. For the first year fights would be called off regularly, but once cuts were doled out fighters would wise up. They would stop trying to drop a weight class after every defeat. They would refrain from taking bouts on 7 days notice. They would stop assuming they could sweat out 20 pounds in a matter of days and instead make sensible weight loss decisions. Sadly, I doubt the UFC will adopt this policy. Instead we will continue to scold the TUF combatants who miss weight and reward the cheaters in the UFC who do the same.
I stumbled across an old hard drive with some training footage from the beginning of my pro career in 2007. Back then we had Frankenstein Mats put together with duct tape and trained in the attic of an old physical therapy building. Here I’m sparring with one of my amateur students who later went on to be a pro, Mike Piekarski. Back then we didn’t have head coaches, I basically coached myself through my first 3 fights learning by the trial and error of sparring rounds.
At a certain point the sport matured and allowed professionals to come together under the watchful eye of seasoned coaches and training partners. This is a clip from a training session at the AMA Fight Club in 2011. Here I’m in a room with multiple seasoned regional pros as well as numerous Strikeforce and UFC veterans. Just four years earlier though, this type of training was non-existent in my corner of the tristate area.
Sometimes looking back makes you appreciate what you have today. Sometimes I complain about long drives to training or waking up early because I took quickly forget how things used to be.
The Ninja Roll is one of my favorite ways to take the back. I originally learned this move at an Eddie Bravo seminar back in the day
Live in Tampa, Fl? Check out the great techniques of Gracie Tampa South http://www.bjj.org/the-magic-grip-triangle-defense-mma-tampa-technique
Nothing in life is certain – “expect the unexpected” is the motto of every sage martial artist. However, the closest thing to a guarantee in this crazy, unpredictable world of ours is that when Karl Nemeth fights, he is putting on a spectacular show and getting his hand raised.
Last night was a historic evening in Hudson Valley MMA history. For the first time ever, real mixed martial arts bouts were contested in Poughkeepsie, NY. The Mid-Hudson Civic Center played host to John Carlo’s “Fall Brawl”. Growing up in Poughkeepsie, the civic center was always where the action was at. Every time I walk through those doors I’m flooded with nostalgia. When I was in elementary school I remember losing my voice cheering on my favorite pro wrestlers as the leaped from turnbuckles and hit one another with folded steel chairs. As a middle schooler my first rock concert was at the civic center when Marilyn Manson got in trouble for starting a fire and indecently exposing himself on stage. Just a few months back I huddled in the Civic Center to watch my favorite comedian Louis CK put on a sidesplitting routine. Now the arena I’ve come to know and love would play host to the sport that is the focus of my life – it was a very exciting evening.
Unfortunately, New York MMA is “barely legal”. The Empire state has kept the sport in an odd limbo that neither sanctions nor outlaws amateur bouts. As a result, bouts are allowed to proceed with no real state oversight. This had upset the neighboring athletic commissions of Pennsylvania and New Jersey who have implemented mandatory suspensions for any combatant who dares to compete in their home town. This unfair persecution of New York fighters was why we decided to have Karl compete in a muay thai bout rather than MMA (that and for Karl’s last attempt at MMA his opponent dropped out the day of the fight).
Every coach dreams of having a student that will exceed their own abilities. Someone who will take their teachings and guidance and not just absorb them, but improve upon them. I have been fortunate to have that in Karl. A true martial artist who takes a cerebral approach to the science of fighting. Karl learns the conventions of an art and then figures out ways to defy them in spectacular fashion. A little over a year ago I brought Karl to work with my muay thai coach and living legend Kaensak Sor Ploenjit. Kaensak’s approach to muay thai embraces the old Bruce Lee addage of “Using no way as a way”. Feints, set ups, spins and jumps are common practice – creativity and unorthadox attacks are not just encouraged, they are the very foundation of attack in Kaensak’s system. He and Karl were a match made in Heaven.
The number 1 prerequisite for this style is fearlessness – a trait often lacking in aspiring pugilists. Karl has this trait in spades. Last night Karl entered the ring to the roaring applause of his Precision MMA students. Everyone at the gym who stepped in the ring to spar with Karl leading up to this bout knew they were in for something special. I always hated the crowd, the noise, the anticipation of combat – Karl seems to thrive off it. An ear to ear grin graces his face from the opening bell as he stalks his opponent. Once the bout begins the noise of the crowd is deafened by the sudden thunderous smack of Karl’s leg kicks. His opponent is game though and marches forward with courageous determination determined to trade power with “Mr. Fantastic” (an old nickname given to Karl following his first muay thai bout) as the first round comes to a conclusion.
The second round picks up where the first left off. The opponent is employing the same strategy, but the kicks are too numerous and now coming from odd angles with unpredictable timing. Round kicks, teeps, axe and spin kicks quickly mark the legs, body and face of Karl’s battered opponent. He changes course and decides to clinch. Karl delivers thunderous knees and body punches before hurling his opponent to the ground with muay thai sweeps. Entering the final round Karl’s opponent now realizes he finds himself in a “pit or the pendulum” situation. He is overwhelmed and out gunned. Karl pulls out all the stops landing spinning back fists and even leaping off the cage to land an Anthony Pettis-esque superman punch that could have been part of a Parkour highlight video. Karl panders to the crowd egging on their cheers with his flamboyant techniques, they roar with approval as the final bell sounds.
Karl has his hand raised and further cemented his place as the top Poughkeepsie Muay Thai fighter in the Hudson Valley.
As a coach I couldn’t be more proud. Afterwards the New York state commissioners were dying to know if Karl would be willing to fight MMA. Although Karl is known as a stellar stand up fighter, most people don’t realize that he is equally skilled on the ground. It won’t be long until he adds Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt to his ever growing mantle of achievements.
Live in Poughkeepsie and want to train muay thai with Karl? Check out Precision MMA for 30 Days FREE call 845-392-8495 or visit http://www.poughkeepsiemuaythai.com
Not in Poughkeepsie? Florida residents to sure to check out Kids martial arts Tampa