Kai was born July 12th in Brooklyn, NY. At the age of six, he became a ward of the state of New York due to a problematic home environment. For the next ten years, he would be in transitional placement moving from several foster homes to institutional placements. It was within this environment that he found weight training as his refuge.
Deep inside of his soul, there resided many talents that few people were aware of, most importantly, his burning desire to be a visual artist. His two worlds would eventually meet and interconnect as his body became the subject of study. He became his own living model. He utilized his physique to gain a greater understanding of space and movement, creating works of art that became increasingly detailed and complex over time.
His exponential growth and development drew the attention of his 7th grade English teacher. Since his school conduct was far below the expectations tolerated by the facility that housed him, Kai was introduced to the idea of teen competition. Because of his enthusiasm and desire to measure his physique against competitors his own age, bodybuilding became the behavior modification tool that would prevent Kai from becoming a so-called “statistic”.
It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life
The beginning of his bodybuilding career helped him to build his confidence and the belief in his own ability as a bona-fide competitor. Kai spent the better part of middle school traveling to different shows and taking teen titles. After taking second for the first time in his young competition career, he decided to take a hiatus to pack on some real muscle and re-emerge as a force like no one had ever seen.
It was at this time that that he was introduced to what would become his home and institute for competitive education, 5th Avenue Gym. It was in this small basement gym in Brooklyn, NY that Kai met some of the most impressive natural athletes the world had to offer. It was here that he would soak up the knowledge that would provide him the ammunition necessary to destroy the biggest bodybuilding monsters.
Finding His Calling
Before his 19th birthday, Kai Greene turned pro with a natural organization and held the distinction of being the youngest natural professional bodybuilder in the world. Kai’s pro status allowed him to take his competitive aspiration to a larger stage.
I won every professional title that organization had to offer. In the summer of 1997, I set my sights on gaining professional recognition with the IFBB. It was brought to his attention that in order to gain pro status he would have to first qualify through their amateur organization called NPC.
Kai’s competitive career with the NPC was filled with mixed success. As a natural athlete, his goal was to win the Team Universe and acquire pro status with the IFBB through the Amateur World Championship. In 1999, after two unsuccessful attempts, Kai won the heavyweight division and overall title at the Team Universe and was invited to compete at the World in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Recognizing that he had placed fourth out of dozens of the world’s best competitors, he was still disappointed. Kai took a four year hiatus to re-group and continue the never ending work on developing his physique. He was determined to take his rightful place in the pro ranks.
The nay-sayers said that it couldn’t be done, and I began to believe them. He went to school and focused on developing his talent as an artist while continuing to use his physique as an artistic learning tool. He continued to do what had always brought him great comfort and feelings of stability and consistency; He trained and trained hard, but not for the purpose of anything but his own peace of mind.
In 2004, it was brought up that the NPC Team Universe had become a Pro-Qualifier for the IFBB. Though he had been away from the competitive scene for five years, Kai made a commitment to himself that he would return to reclaim his title as Team Universe overall champion and ascend to the IFBB pro ranks. As a result of his dedication and desire to overcome the ever-surmounting odds against him, Kai arrived from his home in Jacksonville, Florida to NYC’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center to do damage. On August 8th 2004, the judges recognized the physique that he sculpted for so many years and awarded him the heavyweight and overall championship by unanimous decision. Kai’s day had finally come. After 16 years, Kai Greene finally made the transition to the IFBB Professional ranks.
Over the years, Kai has gained vast notoriety beyond what he could have imagined in his youth. Within the bodybuilding arena, Kai has been held as one of the most inspirational athletes of his time. With a seemingly unique, yet well developed vocabulary, Kai has made a seemingly unconscious effort to create a revolutionary approach to bodybuilding. He has changed bodybuilding’s fans, competitors and the overall perception of a once thought of as, “pick things up and put them down” bodybuilder.
Kai’s story is still being written. But now, as a seasoned IFBB Pro, Kai has his heart set on one title, Mr. Olympia!