I lost my father when I was 12. He was 48 and died of alcoholism. He was a functional alcoholic, and my world was tipped upside down.
Kevin’s uncle encouraged him to pursue martial arts and paid for part of his enrollment in karate school. The death of his father and the discovery of martial arts would prove to be a life-changing combination for Kevin.
Well, I stayed for four and a half years. I got my black belt. I started at thirteen and figured out right away, “Oh, look: if you practice you get better!” My teachers could see that in me, and I started training more and more. When I was fourteen or fifteen I started lifting weights. My body just responded.
From there, it’s kind of interesting when you look at it, at my life. When you look at it, I turned a hobby into a lifestyle, into a career. It got me into the best job in the world. I started off with martial arts and strength training. From martial arts, I got my discipline, and infused it into
strength training. And from there, I introduced it into my career. I tell people all the time, I didn’t have a plan in motion or say “I’m going to be a trainer and train fighters for the rest of my life.” I tell them, I’m the opportunist. I was in the right place at the right time. I’m famous for quoting, in my
certifications, “When your heart speaks, take note.”
When Kevin started working with Kenny Florian it was around when Kenny had injured his back. Kenny requested Kevin fly out to Vegas to help him stretch and do back rehabilitation work, in the hopes of salvaging the match. Kenny went on to lose the fight, but Kevin earned himself a job. Kenny knew he had to make serious changes to his training and hiring Kevin was the first change he implemented.
One of the big problems we had was Kenny’s back. I don’t know if you remember reading about when he was going to fight Sam Stout for the first time,
he bent over to pick up his T-shirt and he threw his back out. This was the same thing with Sherk. I said, “You know, we have to rebuild you from the inside out.”
These guys were famous back then getting serious six weeks before a fight. I remember the first conversation:
I said, in my basement gym mind you, “Do you like Tom Brady.”
Kenny’s like, “Yeah, why?”
I’m like “Okay, just asking. Do you like Tiger Woods?”
He’s like, “Yeah, definitely.”
I’m like, “They’re pros, right?”
He’s like, “Yeah, of course.”
I’m like, “Are you a pro?”
He said, “Yeah,” and I said, “Then friggin’ act like it. Stop screwing off.”
I’m very fortunate to work with everybody that I work with. I’m very fortunate and proud of the fact that I can go to a UFC Expo and people will say, “I love your stuff.” Giving back to the people, giving back and doing my job – you know, my job is to be of service, and that’s an accomplishment.I can’t stand being away from my family. I’m hopping on a plane on Monday to go to Japan. I’m going to Japan! To perform a certification! If you had told me that three years ago I would have said, “Nah, that’s never going to happen.” I’ve wanted to go to Japan since I was eighteen. And I’m getting paid. I’m getting paid to go to Japan to teach a certification. The flight’s going to be long and all that other crap, but you know what? I’m going to Japan!would say first, is this what makes your heart sing? Because if this is what makes your heart sing, don’t worry about the money. The money will follow. Do what you love. The money will follow.The second thing I would tell them is to start small. Stay in the framework of: if you can’t do big things in a great way, do small things every day. Start with the small things.
Get an education on this. If you think you want to just jump in and create fighters right away, okay, let me explain something to you – number one, they don’t have
a lot of money. So, it may not pay the bills. mma, burn with kearns, kevin kearns, ufc, fighting, train like a fighter. I would also say, study, study, study. And have a clean slate. I’m saying this to say, “color outside the freakin’ lines.” Think outside the box. So what if it’s crazy or ludicrous? So what? Just try it. All they have to do is stay safe. I tell trainers there are three parameters: effective, efficient, and safe. That’s what I want you to think about with a client. Not what you want to do, what they want to do.Another thing I tell a trainer to is to have some personal depth. And be ready to work hard, because this is not an easy job.