Boxing Testimonials

Portland Boxing TestimonialHow I came to agree to take a ‘boxing lesson’ from Jeff is a long and boring story...and probably more fitting for the ‘Oxygen Channel’ than a testimonial. In short it goes like this...One year ago my life, or life as I knew it at that time, could not have been worse, and to make myself ‘feel’ better I was spending a fortune in therapy, gyms and cross-fit classes. The result, more tears, an empty wallet and sheer workout boredom.

Randomly, my uncle had heard about Jeff and wanted to give a boxing lesson a try. So (on a Saturday at 8am...nooooo thank you) we scheduled a session with Jeff...and there you have it! Within the span of an hour things started to change. I knew this was how I was going to redirect my energy and find my self-worth.

I’ve always worked out, always been athletic and for the most part ‘fit’. However for many years I remained the same...not any stronger, more confident, faster, or more aware... not mentally, emotionally or physically. After working with Jeff and Ben that has all changed. Jeff and Ben push you to your absolute limit, and then a little further. Yet, the feeling of absolute physical exertion is never painful rather it’s exhilarating. As you can barely stand or breathe you couldn’t feel more proud, strong or in control.

Today, my absolute fondest times are when my uncle, brother and I spend a morning training with Jeff and Ben. At 43 I am in the best shape I have ever been in. I feel in control of my body, my decisions and my life. Let me tell you... Jeff’s kind heart, dedication and patience paired with Ben’s spirit and a smile that lights up a room has saved me a fortune in therapy, gym memberships, and fad workout programs. I am forever grateful.

Amy M. McClintick
Licensed Massage Therapist

Downotwn Boxing in Portland Oregon

A friend of my family had been working out with Jeff for a while ( over a year, maybe two ) and I had always been interested in checking out what she was doing but was taking Kung Fu and didn't have time. One week we were doing some straight boxing in Kung Fu,,, and I found out I couldn't throw a hook or an upper-cut. That was humbling. I decided it was probably time to get down to basics: boxing, wrestling.

I've studied Tae Kwon do, Okinawan Karate, Hung Ga Kung Fu, Tai Chi ( Wu, Chen, and Yang forms ), and Wing Chun Kung Fu. So, it was with some trepidation that I finally approached Portland City Boxing. To be quite honest, I was expecting disco/boxing/Zumba because the club is downtown. Well, I hadn't met Jeff and Ben yet. These guys are serious! I then got to watch my friend, Amy, in action. She's always been athletic but she'd upped-it quite a few notches. She was brutal at throwing combinations that had impressive power. I could feel her gloves poppin' across the room.

To back up what has already been said in other testimonials, there's no ego or attitude at Portland City Boxing. Nor are there contracts. Those are two red flags in my book. Anybody at any level of fitness is given equal attention and encouragement. That's why my daughter and I have been going, together with our friend Amy, for a few months now. After a workout, we both leave worked-out but feeling strong. I had no idea my daughter was a fighter. I've seen upper body results in myself even though I'm an avid surfer. And,,, I almost have an acceptable right hook!  It's all good, clean fun too. Check out their heavy bag boxing video "1-12".

Kudos to Jeff and Ben!!!
Simon and Rhianna

Womens Boxing Downtown Portland, Oregon

When Boxing came up earlier this year, I thought it was a great idea. My dad had been working at it for a couple of months and was liking it-he suggest my brother and I try it out. I like to be active and fit, plus a different type of work out would be a good change from the routine.

Portland City Boxing has shown me a different level of work out. I get challenged there to an extreme that I never would be able to reach on my own. I usually work with Ben. He's positive, full of energy and patient as a coach. My first session, Jeff was on his way out, but said "we want to push you to the edge but not quite over." After that first hour, I thought for sure I was going to vomit. My arms shook for a couple of hours and I couldn't get my hands to shampoo my hair. I knew then, that what Jeff had said was true. Since then I've gotten stronger but I still get pushed almost to my breaking point. Besides knowing I could fend for myself if I needed to, boxing has also been a good way to release stress and frustration from work. My footwork has a long way to go and I could stand to get quicker, but I'm learning one week at a time.

My brother and I have worked some sessions together and also a few have been with my dad, which has been fun. I've had the opportunity to work with both Ben and Jeff. I learn something new every time. It's a good dynamic working with both of them; I get different insight and feedback from each, which makes me better. Jeff throws out different combos than I'm used to or gets me thinking in different ways. Ben always gives me something new or knows when I'm at my limit and then gives me just a bit more.

It's a great workout, a great challenge and it's actually fun. I'll continue to box even though the ring isn't my end goal.

Brooke Payton

Boxing PortlandJanuary 2012-2016 , after many years of trying to work out and improve my body, I had hit rock bottom.  I was resigned to have a life of blob, low muscle tone, and general fits of unhealthy for the rest of my life. In January I weighed in at 272 lbs and stood six foot one inches. Jeff Marlow, of Portland City Boxing, told me to come on down and try a boxing class. Even though I am a lawyer, and I had never thrown a punch in my entire life, I figured why not.
We started with the "speed bag" which I couldn't hit more than 3 times in a row. After a minute my arms were so sore I couldn't hold them up. We next went to the "heavy" bag, which was heavy and hurt my hands every time I hit it. We then tried to jump rope, which ended up being an exercise in how many times can I start over in a span of a minute. We then went on to do "boxing exercises," like sit-ups, push-ups, squats, triceps, shoulders, none of which I could do with any ease. After 30 minutes of doing boxing, I was done. I remember he asked me to hold the pads for him so he could "get in a few punches." As each blow cracked against the pads with absurd force, I thought… wow he sure knows boxing.
Exhausted, I could barely drive home. I remember as I drove home, how frustrating and embarrassing it was to know that I could lightly punch a bag for less than a minute.  So I woke up the next day and I decided that one session was not good enough. I told Jeff I wanted to become serious about boxing. I wanted to learn from the ground up. Jeff jumped right off the deep end with me. For me to get better it wasn't just about throwing a punch, it was about developing a fighter's attitude, heart, and will. I didn't think I had any of that in me, but I knew that I was a good listener. And so we started..
The gains weren't immediately noticeable, because Jeff was always pushing me. Right when I thought I had something figured out, he added another combination or work-out. Right when I was satisfied with my exertion, he yelled "come on push it." And as I did more and more work in the ring with Jeff, subtle things started to change. He had kick-started my active life. I started to run more, lift more, and work out more with an eye towards improving my boxing. Jeff never leaned on me to "work out more," but he was always talking about how improving your strength comes from hard work, not just "1 hour with me." I found myself trying to do  and more and more when I wasn't training with Jeff. I thought "I will show him," I will beat his workout.
Silly me. As I got better, Jeff kept pushing me more and more, not less and less.
After 11 months, I rip off sit-ups with an 18 lb. medicine ball without trouble, I do push-ups at levels I could have never imagined, and I can actually jump rope without stopping. I can hit the speed bag with accuracy and speed, hurt the heavy bag, punish the double bag, and even duck and weave from Jeff's punches. And better yet, I want more. As I got done with my workout today, I waited for him to tell me to stop jumping rope. He didn't say a word. I kept going and going and going. I could feel my legs starting to burn, and then I heard him "can't quit now it is only the 10th round." Indeed he was right, I battled on.
I can tell you that this 37 year old man will never be anything in the world of boxing. I can also tell you that I am indebted to Jeff for building a newfound spirit inside me to fight. This spirit isn't about throwing a punch the next time you find yourself in a spat, but rather it is the internal spirit to fight yourself to be better. Jeff's unique approach forces you to challenge yourself. He demands excellence and believes that there is excellence in every one.  I can attest, that if you would have told me that I would ever start to look, move, and hit like a boxer I would have laughed. But now much of this is a reality, thanks to Jeff.
And to me that is the point: Jeff is an unbelievable boxing trainer. He is able to transform my two left feet soft lawyer hands into a confident hitting machine. I leave every workout held high with the arms and legs dragging. I come back for more because Jeff always has the next challenge waiting for me. Indeed he is always counterpunching my best punch.

For some, the constant challenge is too much. For me, and for others that are always aiming to improve, Jeff is a mandatory addition. He can bring out the fighting spirit in anyone, he can awaken those that gave up long ago to strive to do better. He provides you with new inspiration on how much you have to give to get up for that bell. And he is ready to be with you every step of the way while you challenge yourself.
Take that challenge. You won't ever regret it.
Joe Mabe

Attorney - Brownstein | Rask

Boxing PortlandI've been meaning to write this testimonial/recommendation/letter of praise/endorsement for a while now. It's definitely the truth when someone says "the older you get, the less time you have."

So that's where I'll begin. I lie about my age constantly. Therefore I'm not going to state how old I am. I will state that my mother put my brother and I in Kenpo approximately 30 years ago. We moved a lot, so we kept switching martial arts schools/forms/arts. I still train presently. But as a full on grown up adult-time is limited. And that's what I love about Portland City Boxing's - Jeff and Ben. They take full advantage of the time available. And they both know how I train and my limitations. Jeff knows if my shoulder is done-it's time for kicks. He knows if I wave him off, that I must be ready to vomit/pass out/or I just have to use the restroom. I haven't trained one on one with Ben as much as I have with Jeff. But when I did, I had a blast. He can tell when I'm ready to pick it up. He could also tell if I was frustrated. When that would happen he'd step back, take a break, and explain why I was doing what I was doing. Then he'd make a joke and get me going again. When I would get it right, you could hear the excitement in his voice.

That brings us to my next compliment. The attitude at PCB is so refreshing. There is no attitude. No sizing up. No wannabe tough guys. Just people that want a great workout with professionals training them. And that's what Jeff and Ben are-professionals. Not just in martial arts, boxing, and kickboxing. I mean in the way they treat their clients. By being respectful, knowledgeable, straight forward, and just all around good people-they have my utmost respect.

Contrary to the majority of testimonials that I've read on this site, I do have a background in martial arts. A little bit of a lot of arts. But only a small percentage of what's out there. But I can say this-if through reading the testimonials on this site, you think this gym is just for beginners-you're wrong. Through talking to and watching Jeff and Ben in action-they're incredibly knowledgeable of the sport, and extremely vested in making everyone better. Yes I was somewhat new to boxing when I joined a couple of years ago. But I had been around it my whole life. There was about 4 boxers in my family.  All of the greats were on the tv all of the time. Hagler-Hearns-Leonard-Duran-Ali and so on. My favorites were the classics though-
Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis, and most of all - Jack Dempsey.

Good luck in everything you do

Dempsey MacAulay

Womens Boxing Downtown Portland, Oregon

I’m not a fan of gyms – never encountered an endorphin going that route. And then I tried boxing and absolutely loved it. My dad was a boxer in his youth and he always followed the sport, but I’m a fan of the workout. It’s total – upper and lower body, strength, coordination, energy – and breathing! I do yoga but it took boxing and Jeff to really make me focus. Jeff is a fantastic coach. He loves what he does and his enthusiasm is contagious. He takes you from where you are (a long way down in my case) and works at a pace that’s safe but challenging. Just when I think I’m getting the hang of it, Jeff moves the bar a bit higher. Who’d have thought I’d be working up a sweat on a regular basis – and loving it. Thanks Jeff!

Teresa Taylor

Portland State University

Portland Boxing Gym

To begin this testimonial I'll tell you a little bit about myself. I'm a chiropractor with a background as a certified strength and conditioningspecialist. Over the last two years, my family and practice have both doubled in size as did the amount of stress in my life. What did not increase was my enthusiasm when it came to my workouts. I was bored with the same old workouts.

Prior to working with Jeff I had no fight training, and it showed in our first couple of sessions. I have no problem being humbled, but Jeff makes it even easier as he is incrdibly gracious, patient, and very positive. I think what I've enjoyed most is the rapid improvement I've seen under his training; the guy knows how to coach. As far as the workouts go, I can't remember doing anything that produced as much gains in not only strength, but also in my heart and lungs. In regards to the stress in my life,
I have found hitting things to be a great release…imagine that.

Dr. Tim

City Chiropractic

Boxing Gym

I didn't know it, but I had been looking for Jeff and Portland City Boxing for a long, long time. I lead an active lifestyle, trying to workout, run, play basketball or do something physical everyday, but nothing compares to the fun and intensity of a Jeff Marlow boxing lesson. In my short 26 years I have not even come close to finding a more rewarding workout.

I had little to no experience with boxing before meeting Jeff, but after the first session I was hooked. I started going to Portland City Boxing twice a week and was soon in the best shape of my life. Jeffs workouts were more than just boxing lessons they were full body workouts - a complete package! As the weeks continued and with Jeffs expert advice and coaching I was amazed at how far I progressed. I was definitely getting the hang of boxing, my technique improved tremendously, my footwork went from embarrassing to what appeared to be coordinated, the force and power behind my punches increased substantially, but best of all my endurance improved to the point where I could actually make it through an entire lesson and still want more!

Besides being a great guy, Jeff is an amazing coach and personal trainer. He knows exactly how hard to push you, when to motivate you to keep going and when to let off the gas. He does an incredible job of reading you and staying in tune with how you're feeling physical, which is very comfortable when your trying something new like boxing.

I would recommend Jeff to absolutely anyone, whether you are a professional boxer or someone who has never hit a bag before you will benefit greatly from working with him. I couldn't be happier that I found him! Call him today, you definitely won't regret it!

Nick Wentz

Portland Boxing

My metabolism, strength, endurance—and pretty much everything else—plummeted when I turned 30. Or at least it felt that way. I'm sure spending a year living on a beach in Costa Rica had nothing to do with this. To be honest, I have a very sedentary career. I own my own business as a writer and editor. That means I spend (on a slow week) at least 60 hours per week sitting on my couch typing away. I teach yoga once a week. I trudge through running and a makeshift "lifting" routine at the gym.

Ten years ago, I dabbled in boxing. But if you're reading this—and you're a woman—you might know that finding a real boxing coach in Portland, for women, is trying at best. I'm not talking about those group classes at your big box gym. I don't want to share boxing space with women in full makeup and Lululemon pants, and the smell of chlorine from aqua aerobics. I'm talking about genuine boxing gyms that are also welcoming to women. This boxing gym has been a great release for me and completely help get me back into shape.



Boxing Workouts Downtown PortlandI started boxing lessons with Jeff Marlow in the beginning of the summer and was hooked immediately. He's so knowledgeable and excited about training! Such a fun, high energy workout! After 45 minutes I always feel like I get a great cardiovascular workout and I can see myself gaining stamina during the end burnout. After learning the basics of hitting the variety of bags, Jeff decided I was ready to learn some kicking and wow that has been great! I have an increased flexibility and confidence in my punches and kicks. As a woman, its great to have such a fun, lean workout while learning to defend myself at the same time! WIth 2 locations it makes it so easy to find time to workout with Jeff. I highly recommend training with him!

Alison Shisler

OHSU Dental Student

Custom Boxing Workouts

I have been training with Jeff Marlow for 8 months, and it has been a great experience. The boxing lessons are fun, engaging, and are an amazing workout! I started out with no boxing experience, but under the guidance and knowledge of Jeff, I have really learned a lot and developed an invaluable skill. I consider myself to be a pretty decent athlete, so when I came to Jeff’s gym, I was looking for a challenge. That is exactly what I got. The workouts with Jeff have really helped my agility, foot speed, and endurance. It has really helped me in my other athletic endeavors, whether I’m playing a pick up basketball game or out on the tennis court.  This is a great place to train for several reasons: Jeff Marlow provides a fun and high-energy workout, there are two locations so working out is convenient, and you learn an important skill that instills confidence. I highly recommend training at Portland City Boxing!

Steve Shisler

High School Spanish Teacher

Boxing Downotwn Portland

When I was looking for a place to work out near my office, I met Jeff Marlow at Portland City Boxing by chance. He suggested that I try his boxing workout for a couple of weeks to see if I liked it. I was skeptical, but game, and I loved it! It is such a good workout and the most fun I have ever had exercising. Jeff is a great boxing teacher and after only a short time my skills improved and I became more motivated to work out via boxing more frequently. Quite simply, I love Jeff's boxing training and would encourage anyone, including non-twenty-somethings like myself to give it a try.

Linda G

Forensic Psychologist


I have known Jeff Marlow for over 35 years. Jeff is one of those rare people that can actually wear many hats. So let me tell you a little about Jeff Marlow.

Jeff Marlow Business Man. During his 30 years in the industry Jeff has built, owned, and operated 9 successful full service athletic centers and 2 Martial Arts Academies. Jeff was introduced to the Fitness world as a young man in the early 70s' when he helped open and operate the first full service Athletic Club in southwest Florida. Jeff went on to open clubs in Colorado and Oregon and has remained on the cutting edge of fitness technology.

Jeff Marlow Personal Trainer. Jeff has spent over 30 years studying and learning how different training methods produce different results for different people. The man does not have a one program fits all approach to personal training. We are all different and the program Jeff set up for me when I was 30 is different than the regimen we do now at 63. Jeff's' understanding of the aging process and how it relates to fitness makes his 30 minute "Executive Boxing Program" one of the finest and rationally thought out exercise programs taught anywhere.

Jeff Marlow Fighter. Jeff cut his teeth in full contact fighting when the sport was still in its infancy and fights were held in unsanctioned venues ala "Fight Club" minus the Hollywood. Jeff has fought bar bullies, thugs and two light heavy weight champions. Jeff's' knowledge of grappling, boxing and Muay Thai, as well as having actual ring and real life street experience make this warrior a perfect fit for anyone wanting to learn, whether for competition, exercise or self defense. Learn from someone who has actually been there. And fighters, do not let his maturity and big grin fool you, he can still be a thousand pounds on your ass.

Brad Johnson Renaissance Ventures inc. (Ret.)

ALI-KAI Goju Shorei

I first met Jeff Marlow in college in 1974. We were both Air Force Vietnam Veterans and martial artists. At the time, I was a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Chang-Mu-Kwan Taekwondo and was teaching several students at the college. We were drawn to each other by our mutual Air Force and martial arts experiences. I was quickly impressed with Jeff's skills, tenacity and enthusiasm. Soon we teamed up and our martial arts school became very popular in Lee County, Florida, rive led only by Ali-Kai, which was owned and operated by Brad Johnson.

Jeff and I did many exhibitions in the Lee County Area to increase our membership. A very charismatic young man, Jeff attracted many students because of his magnetic personality and self-confidence. He exuded an essential quality necessary for any martial artist or physical fitness instructor to succeed - he was an example of what the "real deal" looked like in action and was a model of energetic tenacity. Jeff was the "real deal!" He was a skilled fighter, knowledgeable in physical fitness and martial arts with plenty of street experience. Energetic and tenacious he was! He would not quit, no matter what. For example, Jeff did excellent board and concrete block breaking demos during our exhibitions. During a demo at a local college, he was attempting to break 9 concrete patio blocks! That's over 18 inches of concrete! That was to be a personal record for him that we announced he would be attempting during that exhibition. The demo was performed on a slick wooden floor and as he brought his hammer fist down on the blocks, his foot slipped forward. That threw him out of alignment and he came down full force, not on the edge of his fist, but on the edge of his forearm! Only 3 or 4 blocks broke, so he proceeded to hit the blocks again and, on the third attempt, broke through the entire stack! At the time I thought to myself that it looked like he hit the blocks with his forearm, but when he proceeded to hit the blocks again and again, I thought I must have been mistaken. A bit further into the demo, Jeff was doing self defense techniques against multiple attackers. He was sweating profusely in the air conditioned auditorium - much more than the rest of us. His red gi was soaking wet! When he finished, he came up to me and said "Hey Lew, can we speed this up a bit, I have to get to the hospital. I broke my arm when I hit the blocks." We were almost done with the demo so I concluded it as quickly as possible and we rushed Jeff off to the hospital. Well, Jeff did break his forearm - he pulverized it in fact, but went on to complete the exhibition. That my friends is a degree of energy and "sticktoitveness" that Jeff brings to all his endeavors. He just keeps going and it draws you into the same mindset! He is truly a man who you'd want to cover your back or at your side in your martial arts or physical fitness training.

We went on to join forces with Brad Johnson. The two schools combined to become "The Ali-Kai Martial Arts Academy," the largest and most successful martial arts school in southwest Florida. Jeff became one of Ali-Kai's finest fighters and continued on to open and operate the first full service Athletic Club in southwest Florida. He moved to Colorado and opened clubs in Colorado and Oregon and has been at the forefront of fitness technology and personal training since. If you are really serious about your personal fitness and/or martial arts training, Jeff Marlow is the man to see!

Lew Phillips,
Renshi, Ali-Kai GOJU Shorei, Ret.
CIAR Advanced Physical Fitness Specialist
Southwest Florida Criminal Justice Academy's
Chief Defensive Tactics Instructor
and Physical Fitness Instructor, Ret.
City of Sanibel, Florida
Chief of Police, Ret.

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