Exclusive Interview With Duke Roufus

Alireza FadaieContributor IFebruary 25, 2010

Duke Roufus is a 4-time professional heavyweight kickboxing world champion and is regarded as one of the "most knowledgeable Americans on Muay Thai and one of the world's top trainers of the sport."

He has won the world championship title from all the major kickboxing sanctioning bodies: WKA, WAKO, ISKA, KICK and IKF. His years of dedication to sports of kickboxing and Muay Thai have resulted in his induction into the Black Belt magazine Hall of Fame.

Now with MMA becoming increasingly popular, he is training some of the elite mixed martial arts fighters such as UFC fighter Eric Schafer.

What follows is an interview I did with Roufus.

Alireza Fadaie: Tell us about how you got started in Martial Arts?

Duke Roufus:I started in Martial Arts with my father when I was 4 yrs old. I guess I started because my two older brothers and mom trained so it was what our whole family did for fun. My background from my father was Tae Kwon Do, Kenpo, Boxing and Full Contact Kickboxing. At age 18, I began Muay Thai.

Why did you choose Kickboxing between all the Martial Arts?

Duke Roufus:I began Kickboxing because again this is what we did as a family. My dad was involved in the PKA as a referee, judge and representative until 1986. He judged Bill Wallace's retirement fight. We went to so many fights with him when I was young. I saw my first fight here in Milwaukee in 1975 -- Benny Urquidez was the main event.

As a long time fighter, what do you think about the heavyweight fighters of today?

Duke Roufus: I think the heavyweight category is very tough today. There are many great athletes from outside of the USA.

Do you think the money a fighter makes is worth all the effort he puts in for his fights?

Duke Roufus: You always wish you made more money but I have had a lot of cool experiences. I have learnt so much by travelling the world and made some great friends in my travels.

Tell us about your competition history at K-1.

Duke Roufus:I have competed in K-1 cards since '94. I was supposed to be in the 1994 World Grand Prix but I hurt my back. Pat Smith replaced me.

What do you think about K-1 in general?

Duke Roufus: I think it is great to unite all kickboxing styles under one set of rules.

Which one is more rewarding -- fighting or teaching?

Duke Roufus: They both are rewarding. Right now my greatest joy comes from teaching.

Any experience with disloyal students?!

Duke Roufus: I think people should go their own ways. Life is too short for stuff like that.

Tell us about your good and bad memories.

Duke Roufus: Too many greatest memories to pick. Worst memory is when I was fighting for a living. You have to fight and train no matter how bad your injuries. This at times made the fun go away.

Your biggest win and loss?

Duke Roufus:Many great fights win and loss. My favorite was in '95 beating Stan the Man. He had come off wins over Alexio and Cikitic (1994 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion) and was considered the best at that time. He also was a big star in K-1 & Japan.You have to beat the best to be the best.

Alireza Fadaie is a Vancouver Based 2X Canadian Martial Arts team member and published martial arts journalist. He teaches Karate and Kickboxing at Richmond Sports Club.Visit his website at www.warriorsclub.net

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