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Nemean Fight System Introduction

Greg Koval


What is the Nemean Fight System?

The Nemean Fight System started during the Covid pandemic. Having a lot of time at home gave me the opportunity to study fight footage in a deeper way. I started out with a simple but important question.

How do the best fighters in the world always seem to win?

I knew from my own experience this was more than just genetics and who had the fastest punch or kick as I was taught. In my earlier training I spent countless hours developing the fastest turning wheel kick only to have little actual improvement or success in my fighting. Yet, at a high level tournament my grandmaster Moo H Kim hosted with over 500 participants, for 20 years the same grand champion would always emerge in David Zivcovich, whose name I certainly misspelled. David wasn’t the fastest, but he was smart. He used a system that allowed him to beat everyone with an impenetrable defense and well timed shots.

After studying hundreds of hours of fight footage, I believe that this is the same on all levels. At the highest level in the UFC, all the fighters are genetically about as perfect as a person can get, with a wide variety of body types perfected by a style that optimizes those physical attributes. Yet, there are cases where a few individual fighters overcome people with often physical advantages and always emerge victorious.

This is because instead of relying on their attributes, they used a system. Systems eliminate choice overload and gives the practitioner a clear path to overcome obstacles.

So I began to break down fighters and look at their systems. I began to see patterns emerge. I played with their systems in my sparring and began to change my outlook on how fighting can and should be taught and slowly developed a framework for a better way of teaching.

You have to realize that teaching in martial arts till this point the common framework for fighting was either forms and one steps or pad drills and bag drills. Neither prepared someone for actual sparring and people spent huge amounts of time developing skills that didn’t transfer. Time management by the way is the single most important asset for any martial artist. With only a small amount of time to train, regardless of your frequency, every minute counts and should be used in a skill that directly translates to success. I’ve seen people spend an hour a day on hardening their hands but can’t fight worth a damn because they wasted their time on the wrong thing. By the way, I feel that way about the countless thousands of hours I spent on Poomse (forms). But I was young and didn’t know better. I thought it made me a better martial artist because that’s what I was taught.

After studying the systems of others I began to identify a system of my own and that’s what I hope to share with you. I’m not showing some crazy bananas techniques I made up. There’s enough of that nonsense going around. This is about identifying clear goals and setting a system in place to achieve them. In that, I think I’ve been wildly successful. So don’t come into this looking for a book teaching you how to do a better side kick or how to do an omoplata. Go learn the techniques yourself. Learn them correctly and read this to learn how to actually make them work for you. Aside from a few modifications to techniques that serve the system, I’m not teaching how to do the techniques. That information is pretty readily available to you and everyone else. Instead, this is how to put those techniques together to win every time.

The Goals and Objectives of the System

As the goals of the system are altered for each person, the system itself is going to change.

  1. Replace the chaos of fighting with structure. Fighting is scary and chaotic and overwhelming, particularly to beginners. By having clear objectives at every point in a fight you can see through the confusion and always follow the correct path, like the dextrous butcher in the way of chuang tzu.

  2. Always put the fight on our terms, where we are dominant over our opponent and overcoming their strongest responses. While this goal occurs in many places, there are two primary places where we can put the fight on our terms. The first is in striking range. Most anyone can throw a punch, even badly, but few know how to deal with an outside range kicker. So we maintain range dominance. The second is when they close the gap to take them down since most people have no solutions for the ground, particularly if forced to fight from inferior positions. So we use dominance in outside kicking until the gap is closed and we take them down to use dominance on the ground.

  3. Apply pressure tested methods used by fighters at the highest level. We don’t take anything for granted and don’t rely on theory until properly tested. Very little in martial arts cannot be tested and anything that is part of the system must be tested and retested and retested by as many people as possible against as many people as possible to eliminate any flaws. Theory is only as good as its proven application.

  4. Emphasis on a strong defense that is impenetrable, like the Nemean Lion from which it is named. It is much easier to be successful offensively if you know you can’t get hit.

  5. Have clearly identified landmarks that allow fighters to more easily identify positional goals, set traps, limit variables, and create microsystems and background processes

  6. Blend Striking, Takedowns, Clinches, and Grappling into one cohesive system instead of as separate entities.

  7. This must be a repeatable process that can be passed on to anyone.

  8. High percentile principle - Most of the time in this system should be spent on the things you will encounter the most.

Common Concerns

While there are a lot of niche questions I’ll address in individual sections, these are some common broad concerns I’ve been asked about.

  1. It doesn’t work on my body type - Yes it does. I’ve seen this work on all different body types. But while you are working the system in your sparring and drills, consider modifications to technique. Also consider you may not have gotten far enough along in the system to address your concern yet. For example, there is a section on overcoming a taller opponent by attacking the lead limbs, but you need to learn the fundamentals first. If you learn the whole system and it’s not part of it, then maybe you should add it into the system. This system is designed to evolve, not create another outdated dogma.

  2. This doesn’t work for my style - Sometimes this is a matter of adjusting the system to fit your style better and sometimes it’s a matter of spending more working the system to get better at it.. So a pocket fighter might spend more time in the forward contraction, but use the long guard as an entry to it. But it is still a part of the system. They can add into it techniques they prefer, but still stay in the framework.

  3. It takes too long to get good at it - Consider that you aren’t meant to master the whole of the system in a month. This system is designed to take years or even decades to master, but you don’t need to master the whole of it to get proficient at that core of it. Even learning the core of the system can take time, but certainly less than a year to become proficient in its use to the point of functionality and this will already overcome most others, but as you run into obstacles or as you continue to train, you add in more and more till you become further advanced in it. Ultimately the Nemean Fight System is an entire martial art of its own, and like any other martial art, the more time you spend learning it, the better you get at it. There are levels to this system, not all or nothing.

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