SGPT: Tell us about yourself?
Lucky Nghi: I’m 34 years of age living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. For most of my life I have focused on self development, where I later focused in areas of fitness as my front sight focus now expanding upon living a good life by means of philosophical living. As a fitness consultant I never really had an overweight story because I had nothing more than a beer belly and your typical poor health. My story was I am just a regular guy who started by wanting to make a change in my life. I am not special in anyways and I don’t think people need to be a superman, just the right amount of will power, a good team, for me that was mainly my wife, my mother and step father who were my greatest corner man, and then a certain mindset to hang in there.
I will also say before SEALFIT Kokoro I was quite a failure, quitting almost everything I started, right when around the corner was the finish line I would quit. Light weight body building 2nd place, competed again did worse and quit, Taekwondo, black stripe one belt away never returned to another class, ran a small cleaning business lost a couple good clients and sold the business, had a supplement store watched it died and bring me down emotionally and psychologically as well.
I had a bad streak of failures from quitting, Kokoro taught me a new way of living, and you Coach Mcleod actually put a new meaning to a tattoo on my arm that was long dead to me. I have a quote I found in a book, the SOGs training in Vietnam used this quote during training “You may kill me but I won’t quit.” I got it in 2005 and quit everything I did. The tattoo meant nothing to me. You pointed out my tattoo during the end of the course, and when I finished you gave it new life.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
Lucky Nghi: Just Taekwondo, I actually started early, I was put in it to prevent bullying. I loved it because I was a Bruce Lee fan. I grew up in a very low income family so we couldn’t afford for me to keep going. I returned to it where I left off in 2006 and got one belt away from a black belt.
SGPT: How did you train for the Kokoro event?
Lucky Nghi: I trained using Hiit methods of training, bodybuilding workouts, I also used a book Spec Ops Workout by Stewart Smith but neglected the swimming aspect which I regret skipping over. A big part of the training goal for me was exceeding the load requirements on Murphy.
SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where was it?
Lucky Nghi: The event took place in Encinitas California at the SealFit HQ, but where the actual site it took place on was unknown and wasn’t really a concern, I was concerned about focusing what was going to be the next task when people were already dropping in the first hour, trying to keep a good head on my shoulders was key.
SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?
Lucky Nghi: Not thinking about why I should be at home with my wife and kids in a warm bed, hot shower and air conditioned room. I found that although coming into Kokoro with thoughts that it is strictly a physical game, it is very much psychological as well. You really learn to use your mind to move the body through fire, or at least to stay awake even when standing while passing boulders down a line.
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for Kokoro?
Lucky Nghi: I wish I would have left a bit more recovery time between my last workout and the event day. Instructions where given before but I failed to follow them, you learn very quickly that failure to follow instructions leads to greater difficulties.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do Kokoro?
Lucky Nghi: I would suggest they plan for Kokoro way ahead but don’t delay the sign up. Last minute you will feel like you’re not ready. Signing up makes it happen, it will also boost your training by means of psychological effectiveness and grit in training. Follow instructions and ease off for recovery before going to the event.
SGPT: What kind of boots did you use for the event?
Lucky Nghi: I used the 5.11 Taclite Boot
for field work, the drain holes are perfect since going in and out of the water is a constant and 5.11 recon trainer for the Grinder which are extremely light and provide great traction for runs.
SGPT: Did you use double socks/compression socks or body glide on your feet to prevent blisters?
Lucky Nghi: To be honest I just used wool socks, I have done long ruck marches in the past and that’s all I used, so by experience I just used those exact socks. They were issued socks, extremely warm and thick, probably double the size of standard sock. There wasn’t really a brand on it but we used to call them woolys, that all I know about them.
SGPT: What kind of ruck did you use for training and the event?
Lucky Nghi: I used the 5.11 Tactical 1 Day Rush Backpack for short distances, for long distances I used the CF82 pattern Rucksack. Oddly enough I actually prefer the larger CF82 pattern based on how it can be adjusted and fitted and a greater load can be added during training.
SGPT: What book are you reading now?
Lucky Nghi: I have been drawn in to greater philosophy of life, something a couple years ago I would have thought to be new age mumbo jumbo. Digging into deeper thought as opposed to the superficial surface layers of thinking has got me reading about ancient philosophy and warrior cultures where most of them were very spiritual and philosophical.
A guide to the good life by William B. Irvine on Stoic philosophy
The Upside of stress by Kelly McGonigal Talking about the positive side of stress and stress inoculation
The Search by Osho who primarily discusses the topic in the area of Zen
Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield Discusses the conduct and code that warrior classes lived by
Philosophy has not as we see it, as a series of quotes and ideas but it is seeded with a perspective that greatly improves the mindset. This is what Kokoro has opened my mind to and I am now front sight focused on this in terms of my reading. I will take any suggestions if you got a book list.
SGPT: Many thanks for the interview
Lucky Nghi: This was an absolute honor to do this interview; you played a major role in the transformation of my thinking. I believe the world needs this kind of change and you as a player in it is a big deal. You and the rest of the coaching staff are doing amazing work and I hope to see it spread further into the hearts and minds of others.
Thank you for this opportunity.