Gratitude and Success


First Post
Where do I start....  Last year I weighed 330 lbs and had absolutely no strength.  I decided I couldn't let myself get any bigger.  I had loved watching MMA since the early UFC days and always had wanted to give it a shot but thought I had to lose weight in order to get into it.  I had joined a 24 hr fitness and started try and exercise but found myself lost in a foreign land.  Thinking I got a good workout after 20 min of sitting on a curl machine, I would hit the closest Jack in the Box on the way home and celebrate my "effort".  Out of curiosity I yelped a few local fight gyms and found one that gave a 2 week free trial and dropped by.  Walking into the gym was intimidating to say the least but something caught me.  Everyone was having so much fun.  I decided to give it a shot and I fell in love immediately!!  I learned to box and grapple and took Krav Maga as well, but I still couldn't even do a pushup.  Then my coach and now close friend approached me and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.  "Have you ever heard of Kettlebells?"  From that moment my life changed.  He taught me how to swing told me about this crazy eastern bloc guy who made rad videos and had a website dedicated to feats of strength.  Needless to say I was hooked.  Although MY friend isn't an RKC, he lit a fire in me and I craved fuel to keep the flame burning.  I went out and bought Pavels books and read articles and came across a success story of a woman in my area by the name of Tracy Reifkind.  It just so happens that the week I discovered her, she was doing her signing for The Swing.  My wife and I met her and started training with her and she brought up the idea of me training for the RKC.  This is where I'm at now, however I heard that Pavel was jumping ship and setting sail to new horizons so I came here and now I am training for the SF lvl. 1.  I'm now 265 and stronger than I have ever been.  I still have a ways to go but I absolutely love this journey and couldn't imagine my life without it!

Thank you Jeff Quinlan, Academy of Self Defense Santa Clara, Mark and Tracy Reifkind for all the inspiration, knowledge and assistance you have given me over the last year.  I love you all dearly and am looking forward to what the future has to offer.


Does anyone feel like sharing a success story?  Currently I'm a full time admin and would love to eventually shift into being a full time KB instructor/fight instructor.  Has anyone else made that kind of shift?  I'd be very interested to hear how you went about it.


Level 5 Valued Member
I have a similar goal.

I was overweight and not strong..well maybe a little bit from previous years.


Anyway in 2007 I started taking Karate. Soon I was addicted. Weight started coming off but I wanted more. I also wanted to be strong. I did a bunch of HIT stuff and Body Building workouts but it was always meh.

I discovered the Russian Kettlebell Challenge book by accident a few years ago. Changed my training. Now I too am going to do the SFG level 1 when it gets to California or Arizona(I live in AZ)


First Post
Awesome story!

Started training w/ bells in 2005 followed my fathers footsteps after he discovered pavel. Devoured all of pavel's books and articles and immersed myself in training for the RKC.

I was training on my deck one day in 2007 doing swings and my landscaper came up to me and started talking to me in broken english about kettlebells and how he loved them. Slightly confused, I listened and it turned out he was a Gracie BJJ black belt. Go figure. He invited me to train with him the next day at 6am at an academy he taught at. At the time I was 230lbs, and was more into powerlifiting despite my kettlebell experience.

First day I trained with him I got tooled up and down the mat and choked 16 ways to Sunday. I was hooked!! I continued training with him 4x a week @6am for a year.

Got my RKC in 2008 and was still training BJJ. I got down to a very lean 205lbs. Stronger than I ever was at any weight, and more athletic too.

Fast forward to today and I teach Kettlebells full time at my buddy's MMA gym in NJ and am a purple belt in BJJ.  I am also going to be teaching BJJ classes in the coming weeks.

Currently its covering all the bills, and has a bright future.  It is something I love to do and I'm super grateful I've had the opportunity to learn from Pavel and all the Instructors


Level 1 Valued Member
Cheers to you James, MMX and AJ on your success!

My story is certainly less inspiring and one of balance. I come from a CCX running &  track cycling background and have always had good lower body strength. I was fit (e.g. skinny) but most certainly weak.  It took a good crash and broken collarbone to help me seek out help and ultimately stumble onto Pavel and KB's.

Since that time I've worked to become balanced in strength, endurance and mobility. Pavel & Dan John's Easy Strength text helped me to realize that a high level of strength & endurance need not be mutually exclusive.  This year I returned to endurance sports after an 8 year hiatus and finished a 50k trail run, a GoRuck Challenge and multiple Tough Mudders.

During those events I maintained my strength & mobility and never suffered the usual overuse injury as I have in the past.  A double BW DL and BW press are money in the bank.  I'm still closing in on a one armed chin and crushing the 2.5 CoC gripper.

I'm very thankful for this forum and those RKC's that have not only helped but inspired me in the past.  Without them I would have never realized any of these goals.

Keep up the great work and thank you for your stories of inspiration.



Level 3 Valued Member
James, we're happy you're here. Thank you for the kind words and the inspiring story.



Level 6 Valued Member
So glad for this forum and excited about being a small part of a great new organiztion.
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