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