Charlie Bravo Kokoro Grad Interview

SGPT: Tell us about yourself?

CB: I’m 24, I love working out and being in nature. I enjoy reading and writing as well as learning about new subjects that fascinate me. Currently I work construction and live in Portland.

SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?

CB: I guess you could say so. I played six years of soccer until I got Osgood Schlatters in sixth grade. I discovered weightlifting my freshman year in high school and played football my sophomore and junior years. My senior year I went out for the pole vault in track. Also I played a ton of pickup basketball just because I enjoy the game. I am not great at any particular sport but I consider myself athletic and adaptable. You could teach me almost any sport and I could be decent at it.

SGPT: How did you train for Kokoro?

CB: Wow that is quite a loaded question. My introduction to SEALFIT was through the Unbeatable Mind Academy (UMA) so I took a multifaceted approach in training for Kokoro so bear with me.

My training began with the mind. I spent a year in the UMA before I entertained the idea of going to Kokoro. In the UMA I learned a new way of looking at life and challenges. Coach Divine quotes Sun Tzu saying “ Victorious warriors win first in the mind before entering the arena” and that was my mindset going into the Three Week Academy and Kokoro. I spent a fair amount of time in visualization and I cannot overstate the importance that had on my experience. I would see myself dominating the event and also at the graduation ceremony. That alone paid huge dividends.

My journey to the Three Week Academy and Kokoro also had a huge community component. I decided to fundraise for the event. I spent six months campaigning for money through support letters and the like. I had a Facebook page to update my supporters. When things got really dark in Kokoro I would think about the people who gave me money because they believed in me. That alone helped rid the thoughts of doubt and pain. I didn’t have the option to quit because I could not bear the thought of telling people I had failed them.

Reading was another ally. I have been researching the SEALs extensively for the last few years and have read nearly thirty books about the Teams. These books gave me amazing insight into some of the trials and adversity that others have suffered. In light of my knowledge gained through reading Kokoro seemed very doable.

Physically I followed a couple of programs. The SEALFIT SOF Candidate WODs made up the majority of my training. I believe in doing a Cindy, Chelsea or Murph several times a month because Kokoro involves a hefty amount of push-ups, pull-ups and squats. Another program I threw into the mix was Cross Cycle fitness. The interval training found in Cross Cycle in phenomenal. I highly reccomend your readers check them out here

SGPT: Tell us a little about the event?

CB: Kokoro is like nothing you have ever experienced. The amount of energy and dread is hard to compare to anything. The days are hot and the nights are cold. I have never enjoyed cuddling up to another man like I did at Kokoro. The physical workload is like doing back to back workouts for two days straight. We were allowed some rest and chow times but it was still pretty brutal. On first full day we had to carry all of the gear from the grinder up to the lookout and back. At one point I noticed my body was in pain but I was separate from the pain. My body was on autopilot and the only thing I cared about was putting out maximum effort for my team. The whole event is awesome and I couldn’t really put it to words.

SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?

CB: The hardest part of the event was waiting for it to start. I was very nervous and amped up before things kicked off. Also since I was in the Academy it was hard to start such a monumental event with 22 new faces showing up on the grinder. The second hardest part for me was being a boat crew leader. When my boat crew came down the mountain we were in dead last. The instructors made sure we did not forget that fact. Being in a leadership role I felt very culpable for my teams failure and well being. I tried to force my boat crew to run but one of my guys kept slipping and hurting himself. Balancing the desire to win with my teams safety was very challenging.

SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for Kokoro?

CB: I wish I would have visualized more and worried less. Seriously I worried about every aspect of my training yet when I showed up to SEALFIT I did alright. All that worry just wasted energy.

SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do Kokoro?

CB: Before I left for Kokoro I did two Goruck Challenges. The Goruck is a great gut check to see where you stand for several reasons. The Challenge keeps you on your feet with 35-40 pounds of your back for at least 10 hours. The cadre really make things uncomfortable. If you want to do Kokoro try a Goruck Challenge or Heavy first. If you feel ok after a Challenge or The Heavy you will be much more prepared for Kokoro. Also check out UMA and read more. If you aren’t able to do a weighted Murph in under 60 minutes work on that. If you can’t run a half marathon fix that too.

SGPT: So you now have a contract and shipping out to Navy SEAL BUDS training?

CB: Yes sir! I leave on Jan 15 and I am very excited and nervous. I know, however, that I have some world class training under my belt and the only way out is through.

SGPT: Many thanks for the interview.

CB: Hooyah Coach McLeod!

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