It was late 2017 and I had just accepted a new role with Amazon to lead a new office in Denver, Colorado for the Devices Sales organization. The new role was great professionally, I was leading product and tech for a 45 person organization that spanned Denver, Seattle, and Bangalore, India, and I was making great money. In the job I was responsible for building, developing and bringing the Amazon culture to Denver, and as a result was traveling frequently between Denver, Seattle, Bangalore and London, often spending weeks at a time in hotel rooms and countless hours in airports and hotels. Again, the job was great professionally, I was responsible for an organization that was generating half a billion dollars and had great people on my team.
To manage the stress that the job entailed, I tried things like CrossFit, hiring a personal trainer and drinking heavily. CrossFit was a great way to get fit, but after spending 10 hours a day, 7 days a week at work managing so many people the last thing in the world I wanted to do at the end of the day was go to a class that required heavy engagement with yet more people. Personal training was great at teaching me the fundamentals of lifting heavy weights, but was extremely boring...it was a drag going to lift at the end of the day. I tried other activities to stay fit, and relieve stress including traveling to camps in Pataya, Thailand to learn Muay Thai, Boxing and BJJ. These camps were great, and highly recommended, but it requires a ton of travel. I needed something that would help relieve stress, get in shape, and keep me engaged without the need of a "support circle". This led to the creation of Ass Kickers United.
In the movie Rocky IV, after the death of his dear friend Apollo Creed in the exhibition match with Ivan Drago, Rocky travels to a remote cabin in the snowy mountains of Russia. This was the inspiration of the first Ass Kickers United gym, formed at the top of Lookout Mountain west of Golden, Colorado at an elevation of 7,300 ft. I converted a shed to a working gym, and modeled it after the cabin in Rocky IV. Outside of the gym I have an area for chopping and sawing logs, inside the gym I have a pull-up bar, olympic bar, heavy bag, speed bag, and climbing rope. The gym created an environment that would allow me to train using many of the concepts I learned in CrossFit (functional body-weight fitness) and in training Muay Thai (technique, endurance and toughness).
This is how Ass Kickers United was born.