It took me a while to figure out the secrets to starting my XR 400 also, But once you learn the secret, its no big deal.
My starting proceedure when its cold:
choke full on
idle screw turned up 2 full turns
push kill switch in and kick start at full throttle 5 times
release kill switch..release throttle find top dead center
next kick it WILL start
I know its crazy, but it works. When its warm, no more than 2 kicks will start it.