April 27, 2017

Conquering Kokoro: The Courage to Start

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I thought long and hard about my next impossible challenge since whatever I do next has to be at least as hard as what I have done before. In looking for my next challenge, I thought about the following:

  • Over 24 hours

  • Supportive team environment

  • Takes me out of my training and competition comfort zone

  • Explores my mental toughness

What I came up with was SEALFIT’s Kokoro Camp. What lead me to Kokoro Camp was my friend Troy who is heavily into SEALFIT and the Quantified Self.

Kokoro Camp is a 48+ hour team endurance event that is designed to “Meet Yourself for the First Time”. It’s run by a coaching staff of SEALs with over 125 cumulative years of Special Warfare experience along with a wide variety of coaches from cross-fit and professional athletics.

Kokoro is meant to push you past your limits so that you can truly know what you are capable of. It follows Coach Divine’s philosophy that you can achieve 20x more that you think you can.

The Way of the SEAL

What really cemented that Kokoro Camp was my next big challenge was not only my friend Troy (and later my friend Jon doing it as well) but reading Coach Divine’s The Way of the SEAL.

The Way of the SEAL is an excellent book on how to become a better person and a better leader. His words about building your stand, defining your values, discovering your passion and uncovering your purpose really hit home. It’s from these building blocks that I started to win in my mind and map out a path to Kokoro.

One of the most important aspects of Kokoro Camp is to understand why you want to do it. Exploring my why took me to a whole different level of thinking. This exploration further cemented my resolve to train as hard as I can for Kokoro.

My Why

Initially, it was a challenge to formulate why I want to subject myself to 50+ hours of physical and mental stress. After much reflection, my why started to gel. Here is what I came up with:

I’m an entrepreneur and that requires a tremendous amount of resolve and patience. I want to be a better leader and entrepreneur by pushing myself to stay committed to a course of action. Often, I struggle to stay focused and finish the task at hand. I feel that finishing Kokoro will allow me to manage that process better.

How I’m Training

I have to change my training methods to prepare for Kokoro. Most of the changes will be in adding more body weight and Crossfit WOD type workouts. I’m seriously considering getting a coach because I’m going to need a lot of help with any kind of Crossfit WOD type workout.

Another aspect of my training will be mental. It’s going to be a challenge to stay up for 48+ hours and still have a positive attitude. Most of my mental training will be centered around breathing and mediation along with some exhaustion workouts thrown in.

Training Challenges

It’s no surprise that the hardest thing for me will be the pull-ups and the push-ups. If you recall my last Impossible Challenge, I combined the BUD/S and Selection minimums and went to work. From those numbers, it was clear that I had my work cut out for me.

Standards

The Kokoro standards are widely published and are as follows:

  • 50 push-ups in 2 minutes

  • 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes

  • 50 air squats in 2 minutes

  • 10 dead hang pull-ups. No time limit

  • 1 mile run in under 9:30 with boots and BDU’s

  • #20 Murph in 75 minutes

The biggest challenge for me has always been push-ups and pull-ups. Those two, along with Murph, will be the focus of my training. I’ll also ruck with weight and get some runs in when I can. Kokoro Camp is about overall fitness so you can’t really skimp on any one thing.

Embracing the Suck on Steroids

GRT’s always try and Embrace the Suck. It’s in the nature of doing a GORUCK Challenge that the suck will come and it will come hard. Kokoro looks like the suck on Steroids. It’s going to be challenging and every bit of physical and mental toughness will need to be applied to it. I’m excited for the challenge.


This post is the first in the series (there are 4 total) about my training and experiences at Kokoro 32 on June 20th – 22nd, 2014. Kokoro Camp is a 48+ hour team endurance event put on by SEALFIT. If you’re interested in taking on the challenge, then you can check it out here.