The “HARDSHIP” Concept





I thought it fitting to shed some light on my concept for CFL’s newest major event. Some light. Don’t go hoping that you will get a play-by-play reading this.

There are other challenges out there. You’ve probably done some of them if you are crazy enough to sign up for something like this. Only thing is, there’s never been anything “Like this”. Just like with “The COLD WAR” and “Gladiator” (Coming this May), when I design something it’s because it is something that’s missing from the CrossFit community. 5 WODs in 2 days that I’ve done before at my gym with a cumulative scoring process. Boring. Other half-day challenges out there…Sub-standard.


HARDSHIP Mission Statement:

HARDSHIP is a mental and physical test with each candidate working both individually and as a member of a team. Modeled after many aspects of US Army Special Forces Selection (SFAS) and US Army Ranger School, we have also implemented CrossFit into this training concept for an unmatched experience. It is expected that some candidates will not successfully negotiate the entire course. This course is a right-of-passage, a “Gut-check”, a “Coming-to-Jesus” between you and your mind to see if you, no matter what happens, can continue to put one foot in front of the other. Many individuals have passed before you on this, for lack of a better word, Quest. We honor these brave men and women of the US military’s Special Operations Forces by enduring 14-15 hours of just a few of their training requirements/phases.

The Cadre of HARDSHIP will operate in a “Quiet Professional” manner while guiding you through the course. What this means is that each candidate will be required to perform pre-planned and vetted tasks. Cadre will clearly define each task and it’s standards of performance. Should you fail to complete a given task you will be offered a chance to re-negotiate said task after re-training (As necessary). If you are seen by Cadre to not be performing at 100% along with the other candidates in ANY phase of your training it will be made clear to the class that you are failing to uphold your responsibility to the group. You MUST pull your own weight here. A weak mind will quickly become apparent to the group. Water and sustenance will be provided for you during your attempt at completion.

The Cadre of HARDSHIP will not force you, through ridicule or abuse, to give up. We will leave that task to your mind. It is completely your choice to continue. Should you feel incapable of moving forward, we will require you to verbalize, “I quit” to a Cadre and ring-out on the HARDSHIP bell, failing to complete the course. Not everyone will make it.

Each phase of the HARDSHIP training evolution builds on the previous event culminating with a Final Mission only the strongest of the remaining candidates will get to plan for and execute.


The Training:

While each event in the evolution will not be divulged until the start time, your CrossFit (And/or military) training has properly prepared you for all tasks that will be given to you and/or your team. There will be nothing “Impossible” that only a select fraction of the elite population can complete. All tasks if done separately are fully within your capability. When done back-to-back? Well, maybe that’s a different story. To be clear, this IS NOT a traditional CrossFit competition with back-to-back WODs and planned rest time. You are being tested continually to the breaking point. Mental endurance and stamina.

Physical and mental evaluations come first. Movement drills over land come second. Team building and problem solving come third. Your training is then put to the test on the execution of the final mission.


What you need to do to succeed:

1. Keep your head low and don’t get noticed.

2. Remove the word, “Quit” from your vocabulary.

3. Continue to put one foot in front of the other.


It’s REALLY THAT SIMPLE. That is all I needed to use when I completed SFAS. I wasn’t the fastest or the strongest, I just kept going. But it’s when you let the fear creep in that everything will go to shit. Once you do that, everything that could be a deterrent to your success becomes monumental.


Here is a play-by-play that some of you will go through in your head. I have seen it to know it to be true:

Damn, this is harder than I expected.

I’m not sure I was prepared for something like this.

The Cadre should have more clearly defined what would be expected before I signed on for this.

This is over-doing it, I might get hurt. Maybe I should quit. No, I’d be the first one to ring that f-ing bell and I couldn’t live with myself!

I don’t need this, this is bullshit.

My feet are blistered and water-rotted.

There’s no reason I should be having to do this crap.

I can’t grip anything anymore.

This is stupid to keep doing this, I’m too cool for this. I’m gonna go ring the bell in defiance because I think I am better than this course even though thousands before me have had to endure MUCH, MUCH worse…oh, and I refuse to say, “I quit”. I’m just gonna walk out that door pissed off at the world because I’m better than this.

My back hurts too much to go on.

They aren’t giving us enough food. What the hell was that? They call that “Food”?

If I keep going I might not be able to go to work on Monday so I probably should quit.

They put WAY TOO MUCH weight in this ruck.

If I keep going I might not be able to CrossFit for a week! Maybe I should quit.

Then you will start justifying why your reasons to quit are far more logical than continuing the course…even though you are already finished with most of it.


You would not believe some of the justifications I heard people make for giving up in selection! Most everybody’s feet were more blister than skin, I was taking a 3-day supply of Motrin every day for body pain and the sleep deprivation bordered on insanity. But all we had to endure was another week or so and I saw all these guys QUIT with straight-up BITCH excuses!

I’m definitely not the baddest MOFO on the block. Maybe it was because, In my mind, finishing wasn’t an option but something I had no choice in. I was stuck in this place, those guys were in charge. They say, I do…until they say I don’t have to do anymore. How much more basic can you get than that? Whatever they told us to do you just had to do, and that’s it. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. As slow as I may have gone, as delirious as I may have been, that concept was pretty clear to me.

For my athletes (CFL), HARDSHIP is now a pre-requisite should an athlete desire to represent Liberation in the same year’s “The COLD WAR”. This first HARDSHIP class (Class 001) is primarily being offered only to CFL members. I have offered a couple slots to local CF community friends as well. The ultimate goal will be to offer HARDSHIP as a quarterly or even monthly challenge to the entire NOVA community. Any attendees that complete the course will receive “The HARDSHIP Crest” and a 25% off voucher for a team ticket to the same year’s “The COLD WAR”.


A major requirement for participation in future HARDSHIP classes can come in one of two forms (Ideally both):

1. Athlete must be an active member of a CrossFit affiliate for a minimum of 6 months AND get the HARDSHIP training approval letter signed by their Head Coach.

2. Athlete must be a military service veteran of a combat MOS AND get the HARDSHIP training approval letter signed by their command.

Should the second option be the qualifying option for an individual it is highly recommended that the service member become a member of CFL for a 1-month pre-training package.


Additional requirements:

1. All candidates should be regularly performing most of the “NAMED WODs” and their affiliate’s WODs as RX.

2. All candidates will be given orders throughout this training evolution and will be expected to follow them.

3. The packing list will be followed exactly by each candidate.


That is all.


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