Its been over 40 hours since the start of Kokoro 18. There are 8 of us remaining, and we started with 16. Weve been in and out of the ocean since midnight. My body is cold, the “shivering at the bone cold”, and we are now walking along the cliffs back to headquarters with 40 lb rucksacks attached to our backs.
Like a broken record, the words “DFQ” repeat over and over, Dont fucking quit”. Then suddenly the sun peeked over the horizon, and morning arrived. We are huddled together.
Looking at the light of day, I thought “Joey, never forget what youre seeing right now in the light when you are in the dark”.
Excerpt from the my book: “Willing Warrior”
Fast forward, April 21st, 2018.
Its 6 a.m., Vail Lake, California.
As I pulled up into the staging area for the 20XL event, I’m flooded with the memories of my Kokoro experience, and its hard to hold back my tears.
I can see my friends, Jesse Ibanez, Stephen Smith, Drew Zarnoch, and 11 other men huddled around.
They look beaten down, tired, cold. As I walk forward towards them, I see huge smiles appear. I feel this deep sense of love and respect. They just completed 20 hours of non-stop Sealfit work. I know what they endured, I know what they were feeling now, and I wanted to experience that moment with them.
Looking into each of their eyes without words They were saying “I did it, I didnt fucking quit”. Jesse Ibanez and Stephen Smith, are two of my best friends and men I mentor and coach in business.
Steve Polini was a 2015 CrossFit champion at age 60, who mentored me in my quest to the 2018 CrossFit Games. Drew Zarnoch is a new friend who is now my personal trainer. Drew is doing Kokoro in July.
It’s difficult to describe in words, because my feelings flood my thoughts. What these men endured was mentally and physically the hardest thing they have ever done.
Although my Kokoro was twice the amount of time, I had one year to train. I lived at the Seal Center a month before the 50-hour experience, and trained ten hours per day. Kokoro was the last 3 days, so my preparation made my experience far different.
These guys are all super successful businessmen, husbands and community leaders. They trained while they were living full lives, then put their lives on hold for a weekend and tested their hearts.
It is my belief that what they did was equally difficult as my Kokoro experience, maybe more. After their briefing, we drove back to the house we rented for the weekend for a hero’s welcome.
Aaron Drussel, Eric Etzel and Jeff Robbins, all amazing men and dear friends, successfully completed the first portion called 20X.
They pushed themselves to their limits and discovered a new level of strength and willpower. Having men in your life that are willing to test themselves, to push themselves to their edges is an honor.
To all the men who participated in April 2018 20X and 20XL, HOOYA!
Thank you for doing your work to look deep into your gut and discover your “Willing Warrior”.