“It was understood that there was a winner and a dead man. Which makes my approach to training totally different if I’m going to die. It’s impossible for you to train the same way, I don’t care how much you practice, I don’t care how sharp your sword is or what famous smith made it. If you go into a sword fight for points, you’ll never obtain what I’m obtaining with a dull sword against somebody that’s going to die.” – Virgil Hunter
“My palms would definitely be sweaty and my knees weak. My arms would be heavy with vomit on my sweater already.”
If you told me that I was going to get into the cage with Demitri Telfair, the line from Eminem above would describe my sentiments exactly.
Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Telfair came to Taiwan in 2004. Like some foreigners, he came to teach English, but unlike most, he also came with a mission in mind: wanting to gain some knowledge in the Wing Chung Kung Fu school of martial arts.
It’s been a short 9 years, but these days Demitri (AKA “Narouque”) has completely transformed. Now fighting professionally as a mixed martial artist, Dimitri is one of the most dedicated fighters around, having trained in boxing, wrestling, Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Wing Chun, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai.
And he’s killing it too. Dimitri has achieved a professional record of 4-0-1 to-date.
Not only that, but he’s also building up quite a name for himself in the MMA world. Known by his nickname “Narouque,” you’ll see him tearing opponents down in many competitions around Taiwan and other parts of Asia. So what does his fight name mean?
“After I showed some of my fights to my fiance’s family, they started saying: ‘Narouque, he’s fierce.’ ” explains Demetri.
You see, “narouque” is a word used in the aboriginal Atayai language here in Taiwan (this tribe is the same tribe seen in the film “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale”). It is actually used to signify the sound of a bear, lion or tiger. Narouque is also the nickname of Demitri’s fiance’s grandfather, so when her family used the word to describe his fighting style, he was more than honored to embrace it as his own.
As for fighting style, his preferences for fighting are that he doesn’t really have preferences. Whether standing or on the ground, he will determine his strategy depending on his opponent. To prep for fights, he uses a technique he picked up when he played high school hoops: visualization. He pictures himself in the cage, doing the techniques he wants to execute, moving, defending, etc.
“The mind body connection must be strong,” he states.
My Favorite Fight
For me, his most exciting fight to watch took place at Club Luxy in Taipei. His opponent: Sang Il Lee from South Korea.
The fight culminated with 3 minutes remaining in the 2nd round when Narouque delivered two elbow strikes to Lee’s head, ultimately creating a river of blood down Lee’s face. The combo stopped the fight and the fighters went back to their corners. During the break, Sang’s team wiped away the blood from his face with a towel; soaked in a matter of moments. Nevertheless the fight continued.
Back in the cage, the two got themselves into what is called a clinch. This position typically looks as if the two fighters are hugging (no, they aren’t trying to be nice), but it is actually used to gain better arm and hip position. During this struggle for total domination, blood from Sang’s head wound began spraying down Demitri’s back. This was the moment that I knew it was only a matter of time until Narouque sealed the “W.”
As the fight progressed, Sang was taken to the ground and received more unyielding punishment to his head and face, courtesy of Demitri’s fists. Result: TKO. Astounding!
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”. Miyamoto Musashi.”
When Demitri isn’t training for fights, he is one of the head instructors at Taiwan BJJ- Taichung. He hopes that those of you reading this might understand a fighter’s mind and heart, and perhaps even have your curiosity struck in regards to the many different types of martial arts that Taiwan has to offer.
“If you or someone you know is interested in the martial arts for exercise, self-improvement, meeting new people or competing and maybe even fighting professionally one day, definitely stop by your local academy, meet the instructor and watch a class,” Demitri recommends.
Narouque has had 3 Total Knock Outs in the 2nd round, an arm bar victory in the 3rd round, and 1 No Contest (due to judging complications) in his professional career. He plans on getting involved in the RUFF professional MMA league based in China, while he continues to compete in the PRO league based here in Taiwan. His goal as a professional fighter is to compete in the UFC.
When he competes in BJJ, he is a light weight at 74kg. But he fights in MMA he is a light weight at 70kg. This ferocious fighter has hosted and competed in many tournaments, all of which have been an extreme success.
This guy definitely knows what he’s doing and I can only hope that those of you who are interested in martial arts and self-improvement, be it confidence building, strength, mind/body-balance, will go find him at Taiwan BJJ- Taichung/Taipei