In this interview we’ve got Cadre Mickey dropping knowledge about the changes being made to the GORUCK Constellation events. It was great to have the opportunity to chat with him and hopefully you enjoy the stories in addition to the information in the episode.
Cadre Mickey has been part of the GORUCK Expeditions event team and was a key player in the Constellation series in 2017. For 2018 Mickey is the go-to Cadre for everything related to Constellation… which is one of the reasons we are so excited to have this interview.
- GORUCK & Rucking Glossary
- GORUCK Ruck Clubs
- GORUCK Constellation
- GORUCK Constellation AARs
- GORUCK Constellation 2018 Event Announcement
- GORUCK Constellation Training
- All Day Ruckoff GORUCK Constellation
- GORUCK Constellation 24 AAR (Podcast Episode)
- GORUCK Light Events
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Brian: Today I’m talking with Cadre Mickey who was instrumental in revamping the GORUCK Constellation events from 2017 into 2018. There has been just a ton of work done it seems moving those events over, lots of new modules. I know both Jason and Blain have commented on it a couple of times. So I’m really excited that Mickey has taken the time out of his day to chat with me and to just talk about what to expect in 2018 with GORUCK Constellation.
Cadre Mickey, how are you doing today?
Mickey: Not too bad, man. Thanks for having me on here. I hope to get out some good information for you guys.
Brian: Absolutely. So for those who don’t know or have never done an event with you before, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself?
Mickey: Yeah. I’m a former Reconnaissance Marine. I was in from 2003 to 2008. During that time, all the work was over in Iraq, so that’s why I went to work over in Iraq.
Brian: Got you. How long have you been a cadre for GORUCK?
Mickey: I don’t have it down to the day. Before 4-1/2 to 5 years. I’ve been around for a while.
Brian: That’s exciting. You’ve seen GORUCK evolve from just a couple of styles of events to what they’ve got now.
Mickey: Yeah, totally. I remember when we first started running Lights and nobody really knew what they were. We just hammered people for six hours and cut our mileage in half. That was what a Light was I remember it first. But yeah, things have definitely evolved quite a bit.
Brian: Yeah. I think my first Light was 8 hours long and I think we had double digits in miles.
Mickey: Yeah. A couple of my first ones were basically a tough mileage. I just moved to them a lot faster.
Brian: That’s awesome. Yeah, back then, Lights — If you’re listening and you haven’t done a GORUCK Light, they’ve definitely changed a lot from what they’re like when they first came out. Don’t let this scare you from signing up for your first GORUCK Light.
Mickey: We just scared everybody.
Brian: They were definitely a different beast at the beginning.
Mickey: Yeah, they’re awesome now. I think — I like them before, but I think they’ve gone to a really good place and they’re definitely a great event for people that are a little unsure about the whole GORUCK experience. I think it’s a great first exposure. There are a lot — They’re super fun to run as a cadre.
Brian: Yeah, they seem like they are great intro to GORUCK now.
Brian: Before they were a great intro to what a GORUCK Tough would be if you just had four more hours, but now it’s a good intro to the overall GORUCK experience.
Mickey: Yeah, definitely.
Brian: You’ve been a cadre for GORUCK between 4-1/2 to 5 years. So that takes it back when GORUCK was still a fairly young company. How did you learn about or hear about GORUCK back then?
Mickey: Honestly, it was a birthday present. I got a TAC hat in the birthday present. I’m just checking on the tag, because it was a nice hat and everything, and went on the website and out of the country at the time and then I hit on my buddies. They were still in the States and decided, “Hey, let’s do one of these challenges when we get back to the states.” That was how it all kicked off. I didn’t really — Well, come to find out I didn’t know somebody in the company, but at that point I had no idea other than that they made nice gear and their events looked cool.
Brian: Yeah, back then the website isn’t what it is today. I think right now there’s a picture of every cadre out there with a nice description, and I know back then it was a little more sparse than that.
Mickey: Yeah, it was a little bit more secretive. You had no idea who your cadre was going to be until they showed up at the start point. Even then, the only information we had on them was what they spoke about at that time. Yeah, it was very different.
Brian: Yeah, absolutely. You signed up for your first GORUCK event. Back then, it was just the challenge. There wasn’t the Light. I don’t think there was even a Heavy. I think it was just a challenge, right?
Mickey: There was a challenge, and then I think the extradition events were maybe they had run couple of them and I think there was selection. Selection was the grand one at that point.
Brian: I think the first Ascent was back in 2012. So I think we were at the challenge, Ascent and Selection.
Brian: And not that much information about anything at the time. So you signed up for your first event with some friends. What did you think about it?
Mickey: Yeah. Well, so I signed up for the challenge in Sta. Barbara, California and as time got closer, my friends that were supposedly going to do it with me, they one-by-one kind of fell off. On the actual night of the event, I was the only one left to go standing there. But it was awesome. My cadre was Bo, who, funny story about Bo, Bo and I deployed together and I had no idea that he was going to be my cadre or anything like that. I didn’t even really recognized him at first. It took the majority of the night until the sun came up the next day before we realized that we knew each other. It was a good time. It was definitely more than not what I was expecting. Again, there was no information about anything really at that point. It was a ruck event, so I kind of assumed it was going to be a ruck run. So that’s what I trained for.
Then Bo took us down to the beach and ran a pretty nice welcome party down at the beach and I hadn’t gone through anything, I guess, since I’ve been back in. It sucked, but it was a lot of fun at the same time. It brought back a lot of memory.
Brian: That’s awesome. I had a similar experience for my first event. Signed up with a bunch of friends, and then come the day of the event, you’re the only one standing there.
Mickey: Yeah. Happened to a lot I feel like.
Brian: It does, but it’s kind of fun going into an event and knowing no one there, because you’re forced to make friends with everyone else who’s on your team. You don’t have a smaller team or clique to fall back on or anything.
Mickey: Yeah, totally. That’s very true. I think I can think of two guys off from the top of my head that I did that event with that I still talk to today. It’s a little bit different now, because they’re usually one of the participants in my events. But it’s cool, the bond that’s going through that type of stuff creates, which is honestly one of my favorite parts about this whole GORUCK thing.
Brian: Absolutely. The events are really fun in their own sense, but the community that’s created from them is definitely something special.
Brian: You took part in your first and sometime between that first event and now, you decided that you wanted to be a cadre for GORUCK. How did you make that decision and what was the first event that you ran?
Mickey: That decision actually came after my event. Bo and I, we then grabbed some lunch and a few beers after the event and he was telling about the cool GORUCK thing and the cadre position and offered the position for me or at least opportunity to become a cadre, and it sounded awesome. It obviously it,I’ve been doing it for almost 5 years. But that’s when I chose to become a cadre.
I did my train up down in Sta. Monica, but my first solo event was actually — It was a Light. It was a custom Light. I don’t know — Madison, Wisconsin. It was a custom Light. Again, I had no idea what a Light was. They told me, “Hey, just cut your miles in half and cut your time in half.”
This custom Light — This core office, there was three guys in the office that kind of had my idea what was going on and they were pumped about it. I think they were the ones that kind of volunteered everybody else to do it. But the rest of the people in the office had no idea and were not prepared, whatsoever, and so it was a pretty brutal beat down for them. But yeah, that was my first solo event. Yeah, that was — Yeah, it was pretty —. I had one lady started crying, like, “Holy crap!” But it was a good time. That was my first event.
Brian: That’s wild, and I’m guessing you’re spot on there. There’s probably one or two people at that office that I had done an event before and got everyone else signed up.
Mickey: Yeah, exactly. Like, “I got a great idea.” That was cool. After the event, everybody is pretty pumped as always.
Brian: Yeah, I don’t know how you felt after your first event, but after my first event at least, I didn’t think I was ever going to do another GORUCK event. That was back in August of 2011 and it took like two days or maybe a day and a half before I was like, “All right. I could probably do another event,” and then three days after that I was feverishly looking on the website for when they were going to be back in Seattle next year.
Mickey: Man, I hear that so much as a cadre. That everybody is like — And that’s what everybody — Like all the GRTs are always telling the new guys, like, “Yo! You don’t think you’re going to want to do another one, but just wait. Give it about a week.” That’s definitely true.
I think that just stems from the sense of accomplishment too. Now, there’s tons of videos and people I feel like increasing kind of knowing what to expect, but back in the day, I used to tell my classes this too, like if I — Whatever the start time was, 1 a.m., if at 1 a.m. I told you what I was going to give you and how long it’s going to take and how far you were going to move, the majority of you would have said, “There’s no way I can do this,” and probably walked away. But now that you’re on the end of it and you’re looking back at what you’ve done, you realize that you are capable of doing so much more than you give yourself credit for, and that’s an extremely important mental tool, I think, going through life. Not just — I mean, honestly for us, coming from different combat jobs, but no matter what you do in this world, if you have that mentality that you can push farther than you give yourself credit for, that’s going to make you successful in whatever you do. I think that’s why people keep coming back, is that sense of accomplishment and realization and it feels good.
Brian: It does, and the pain from the event subsides after a couple of days, but that the sense of accomplishment, it’s just about that 4, 5 day mark where all the shadows have started uploading all the pictures and you’ve got —
Brian: You’ve got no more pain and you’ve got all of the accomplishments. You’ve got everything going for you to sign up for another event.
Brian: A couple of more questions before we get into Constellation. Some cadre love running Light events. I know others just love Heavies. That’s their game. Are there any events that you tend to gravitate towards?
Mickey: Events where I can teach. I was on the expedition team. We were doing the Navigators and the Ascents. Now, I’m in charge with Constellation. Any events where people can come in and I can actually teach them skills that I learned — Or I mean you’re always learning these skills, but I can give them some of my knowledge and pass them on so they can go and do whatever they want to do. That’s awesome. I love doing that. Those are my favorite types of events.
On the flipside, I still like a good Heavy too. You know what I mean? I don’t mind going out and running, just crushing Heavy and really once in a while to keep my reputation intact, I guess.
Brian: That’s awesome, and it’s probably a different sense of pride you get from running each event. In one you’re teaching people skills, and it’s cool. Seeing people grasp them and use them, but in a Heavy, seeing people just come through those grueling events and come out in the other side, it’s truly something to see and experience.
Mickey: Yeah, definitely. I guess they’re similar in the way that like there’s always a realization as people are going to the event. Yeah, they’re two completely different realizations and come in very different levels on the pain chart, I guess.
Brian: Absolutely. Probably as polar opposite as you can get, nearly.
Brian: I reached out to BD and he’s the senior director of events and asked him who I should talk to about the changes made to GORUCK Constellation in 2018. He threw your name out there, which is why you’re here on the podcast. Thanks again for being on here. What has been your role in shaping the 2018 Constellation events?
Mickey: Pretty significant. I’ve designed and written the majority of the modules, designed the timeline, been working with HQ on getting all the stuff approved, getting the timeline. Sending them up and having them look at it, taking their suggestions and doing the modification that I had to. That’s not to say that I did it all by myself. During the 2017 Constellation, we developed liked a pretty solid crew of consulates and cadre. At the end of 2017 — Or not the end of it, but when I began working on the new curriculum for 2018, I reached out to those guys and asked for their input on this stuff as well. Not all of these new ideas were mine. I just take everybody’s input and put it in a nice little package and then got it approved on HQ.
Brian: That’s awesome. So did you have any involvement in the forming or the execution of those 2017 Constellation events?
Mickey: Yes, I did. When Constellation first came about, it was actually myself and a couple of other cadres from the expedition’s crew. They were kind of tasked with taking the survival stuff we would teach you to navigate it and applying it to an urban setting. I was involved in that in the very beginning, and then everything shook out, I ended up being put in charge of the Constellation event, 2017, and then as we moved through 2017, I don’t know if you’ve heard about the Beta or if you were there at one of the Betas, but if you looked at the event that we ran during the Beta to what we ran in New Orleans the last event in 2017, it was completely different. There’s a lot of work. I read through a lot of AARs, I talked to a lot of the cadre that were teaching classes and we did a lot of work to make sure that we were at the good spot for 2017.
Brian: That’s great, and I didn’t hear too much about that event, so I have to dig into it a little bit. When Constellation 2017 was announced for the cadre to be a part of, was that something you’re excited about? Was that an opportunity that you’re like, “Yes! Constellation is something I definitely want to be doing.”
Mickey: Yes and no. I was a little worried about urban settings. I’m an outdoors guy. So I love the Navigators, I love them, and I was worried that we weren’t going to be able to do the same kind of stuff in an urban setting. That fear was completely unfounded. There’s so much stuff we can do in an urban setting that’s so much fun. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the outdoors, but I can have just as much fun in an urban setting as well. Yeah. To answer your question, I was just pumped to be part of something new and have that challenge of creating something that the GRTs like and that I can put a lot of work into.
Brian: Yeah, absolutely, and it definitely seems like it was an overall positive experience in 2017. I mean just a number of people who showed up for Constellation events was insane. I think the Seattle Constellation event had more participants than any other event in Seattle for 2017.
Mickey: Yes. Seattle, I think we had over a hundred for that one, and it’s kind of crazy looking back on 2017. We had 25 different cities, and I think at least half of those cities have close to a hundred participants. There’s definitely — That was a learning thing for us as cadre too, like how many normal legacy events do you go to, whether it’s a hundred+ participants. But that was kind of — We’re not only dealing with the 100 something people. We’re also having to teach them and effectively teach them some stuff. That was one of the things we learned and figured out too during 2017.
Brian: That’s got to be tough too, right? I don’t think — I’ve only been to one GORUCK event that I can recall that had over 100 people, and that was the first ABSOC in San Diego. It was kind of a special event, which makes sense by so many people had turned out. Usually, just 15 to 30, maybe 40 people and trying to teach a couple of dozen people is way different than trying to teach 140.
Mickey: Yeah. We figured it down. I think we do it in a very effective way, and really what it boils down to is the knowledge and the professionalism of the other cadre on the Constellation crew. Being able to split a crew up and have three different classes going on at the same time and making sure that every group is having the same information on the same timeline is not an easy task. It’s a little stressful at times, but it’s something that we realized that we need to do make sure that the participants were having the best possible time they could and all my Constellation team stepped up and made it happen. I’m really happy with how it all went out.
Brian: Awesome. So at one point during 2017 did you decide that Constellation 2018 was something that you definitely wanted to be a big part of?
Mickey: It seems Constellation picked up steam. I had a solid crew. It was definitely something that I knew I wanted to continue on with. I don’t know if I have an exact event or exact State, but fairly soon to it. When it really started — We hit our stride and we were getting awesome AARs and people are coming to us and telling us how much they learned, and especially with the a lot of new participants, new people at GORUCK like completely coming out and saying they’re having a great time. That’s when I really knew that this is an event that is fun for us to run as cadre and then we were doing a lot of good work on these cities. At that point I was like, “At 2018, we got to keep creating.”
Brian: That was one of the interesting things I noticed with Constellation in 2017 is that it seemed like the majority of the people who came out to those events weren’t GRT. They were people who had somehow heard about it and signed up for it, but it wasn’t like a GRT reunion, which is kind of what I expected it to be.
Mickey: No, that’s completely true. There was a ton of new people. I haven’t seen — In the beginning of the event you ask, “Who here this is your first GORUCK event?” blah-blah-blah. I hadn’t seen that many hands come up when I ask that question for a very long time. That was awesome. You definitely still had that GRT reunion group as well, because for a lot of the old school GRTs that were like, “I’m retired from the Heavies.” The Constellation is something they could come out and hang out and not have to worry about carrying a log for however many miles. Do you know what I mean?
It’s cool, and I think a lot of that stem to we advertised it for — There’s always been a little bit of advertising when it comes to GORUCK events, but that was something that HQ decided they were going to do. They put together a cool video and all that other stuff, and I think that was a way for us to kind of reach out and grab the attention of folks that aren’t on the tough page or the normal means of communication, which was cool.
Brian: Absolutely. It was really well put together. You guys did a great job advertising that. So 2018 welcomes a brand new Constellation event called Constellation 6. What prompted the creation of that event and what can people expect from a Constellation 6?
Mickey: Constellation 6 was something that we toyed with the idea last year, 2017, but we decided to shelve it until 2018. Much as the 12-hour allowed us to take the 24-hour to the next level last year. So the 6-hour is going to feel along the same skill level-wise as 12-hour was last year. We were able to adjust the timeline and tweak our modules to where someone that’s never done one can come in the 6-hour and walk away with the confidence of that, “Hey, I have the basic skills I need to keep myself or my loved ones safe.”
The people that did the 12 last year, they might see a little bit of overlap as far as information goes, but the way that we’re going to develop it, the way we’re going to test people on it, press them out on it, that is all going to be changed. So it’s going to be a good time. Also, it’s going to be during the day. It starts at 9 a.m. in the morning on a Saturday. So maybe some of the folks that weren’t excited about staying up all night to learn this stuff can attend. Now, they can come out to the 6 hour which is a more convenient time. I’m really excited for the 6 hour. I think it’s going to really fun.
Brian: Yeah, absolutely. I think you hit the nail on the head right there with at least what I see. Having it during the day will definitely open it up to a new group of people who aren’t too keen on being out all night or unable to be out all night. So that should definitely be pretty interesting.
So would it be worthwhile for people who have already completed a Constellation event in 2017 to register for our Constellation 6 event?
Mickey: Yeah, I think so. I mean anybody that’s gone to the Constellation in 2017 know that it’s a great skill set. Having the mindset, having that peace of mind, the calmness of the mind to where you do find yourself in extremely stressful situation. You don’t freeze. The disaster mindset as we call it. It’s huge.
So it’s just like training to be a boxes, training muay-thai or something like that. You sit there and you keep watching those videos and you can go do one class and do all that stuff, but you’re never really going to feel secure in your skillset if you don’t get into a ring and get punched in the face. Do you know what I mean? If you don’t experience that stress, then how do you know you’re going to be able to perform what you’ve practiced and watched and studied in a stressful environment? Yeah, definitely. Coming off the 6 to kind of refresh those skills as well as put yourself under different stressors is huge to really mastering these skillsets.
Brian: Absolutely. I can relate to that. I’ve trained muay-thai for years and there was nothing like that first time that you get into a ring even for sparing and you take a nice combo to the face. It like just opens up a whole new world of, “Oh!”
Mickey: Yeah, exactly. They’re like, “Now what do I do?”
Mickey: You know what I mean?
Brian: Absolutely. I know exactly what you mean. It’s perfect. In 2017, there was Constellation and Constellation 24. We’ve struck out the 2018 Constellation calendar and it seems like Constellation morphed into Constellation 12. A lot of the modules looks like have changed up quite a bit. How much overlap would you say there is between the 2017 Constellation event and the 2018 Constellation 12 event?
Mickey: Almost none. We will do a very quick refreshes on those, we call the basic survival skills refresher, and that’s one of the first modules that we’ll go over in the 12 hour. Then after that, it is completely new material. We’re introducing a lot of new stuff, stuff that just based off the feedback I got from 2017 stuff — I’m excited about it. It’s going to be fun to teach. It’s going to make the event more exciting, more fun, and we’re starting — Like I said before, because we’re covering that basic stuff in the 6, we can get in the little bit more in-depth stuff during the 12. Maybe not as in-depth as we will in the 24, but definitely more in-depth in what we were doing last year.
Brian: That’s awesome. I’m excited. I’ve seen some of the modules on the website and some of them just like awesome. So speaking of Constellation 6 and Constellation 12, I noticed that the events are stacked in a way that you could do Constellation 6, you could maybe grab a quick nap and a bite to eat and then you could do Constellation 12. Is that something that you would recommend people who are interested doing, kind of like a Tough to a Light, the TL, or is that something that you wouldn’t recommend?
Mickey: Yeah, I totally recommend it, and I kind of — We switched the whole 12 and 6 hour border for that very reason. Maybe I have someone that has never done any of these stuff before. They can come do the 6 and then if it’s something they’re really interested in, they can do the 6. They can get a really, really good grasp on those basic survival skills, then do a little refresher for the 12 and then keep rolling on and gaining that knowledge and those skillsets throughout the night with the 12.
Yeah, I hope people come on, do the 6 and 12. I think it’s really cool to hang out with everybody for a whole day, but we’ll see. We’ll see what people want to do.
Brian: It’s a great idea. Speaking of which, GORUCK should bring back the MLCH, the Meathead and Light, Tough, Heavy. Try and rope some people into a Light and roll them into the Tough.
Mickey: Yeah. We’ve talked about. There’s whispers of it in the hallways, I guess.
Brian: Yeah. I don’t know how many total of those they ran. I know they ran one in Washington State.
Mickey: Yeah. That was Cadre Ed, correct? I think he was kind of the —
Brian: Yup. Yeah, he ran point on that. From what I hear, it was definitely interesting starting with a Light and ending with the Heavy.
Mickey: Yeah. That’s a different kind of mindset.
Brian: I think we’ve talked about this already, but there’s just a ton of new skills being taught in 2018. So people who — If you’re listening and you did take part in Constellation in 2017, by signing up for 2018, you’re not going to get just a repeat of what you had. I hope we’ve made that point clear that it’s going to be a ton of new skills, very little overlap besides that refresher at the beginning. I’m excited and I hope a lot of people are listening to this that gets them excited about 2018 Constellation as well.
So I believe personally that the skills you learn in courses like Constellation are lost when they’re not used. We talked about those boxing, muay-thai, those types of skills. I think your thoughts are the same with mine, that signing up for courses like this yearly to keep those skills sharp is a solid idea.
Mickey: Yeah, I completely agree. Everybody is like, “Oh! You just want us to keep out to your event.” Yeah, obviously, because I came out to you guys. But it’s also — And you say to yourself, like these skills are perishable and it’s different. One of the AARs I read was like, “I can go sit at home and watch YouTube videos on all these stuff.” I’m like, “Yeah, you definitely can, but how are you going to test yourself on how well you actually absorb those skills?” because you can ask anybody that come out to these events, they tell you firsthand like, “You know, I’ve seen videos, I’ve read how to do this, but actually doing it, it seemed, what it actually entailed is a whole new thing.” You have that going for you.
Then we add in stressors. That’s — For a cadre, that’s more stuff we’re really good at it, so it’s not a thing. Not only are you acquiring all these skills on a hands-on method, but you’re also having to perform those skills that you just learned in a stressful environment. That boosts the confidence of your skills. Heaven forbid you ever do find yourself in a survival situation, you’ll have that confident and you’ll have that peace of mind and that kind of clarity, your calmness that you need to actually perform to be able to do these skills.
Coming back and doing this stuff over and over again and re-stressing yourself out, I think it’s critical to really mastering these skills. Like you said, just like with muay-thai, you don’t go spar once and you say, “All right, that’s good. I’m ready to go,” but you spar over and over and over again and constantly improve and become more fluid. You become more calm and just improve overall. So I think that applies to this as well.
Brian: I think another piece on it too is that in a situation where you’ll need the majority of the GORUCK Constellation skills, there’s a solid chance that YouTube is going to be down or you’re not going to have access to a phone or a laptop, and if you do, like do you really want to be spending what little battery you have left YouTube-ing videos on how to do whatever?
Mickey: Yeah. No, that’s exactly — I forgot who I was talking to one time. He made the joke, he’s like, “I like hunting, but usually where the deer are, I don’t have service, so I don’t know how to clean the deer after I shoot it, because I can’t watch the YouTube videos,” or something like that. At that point I was laughing.
Brian: Yeah, that’s funny. Yeah, that’s just — It goes back to just practice, practice, practice and getting those real stressors in there, because I guarantee that the stressors that the cadre put on will be nothing like — Or maybe not nothing like, but they won’t be at the intensity level as a real-world stressors where you would need the skills you learn in Constellation. So it’s good to have that little bit there to ramp up, so if you do need it, you’ve got at least a base.
We’ve talked about a ton — There’s a ton of changes in GORUCK Constellation coming in 2018, which is very exciting. What have been some of the changes that you’ve been most excited about, or that you are really interested in teaching?
Mickey: There’s been a couple of. Now that we don’t have to teach how to start a fire, how to clean water. I won’t go over it, but we don’t have to spend as much time on it. We can get into kind of the foraging and using what you foraged to build really useful tools, right? Having the ability to see at night in little light situations is huge. We can get into the stuff like that. We can get into a little of the defensive stuff. We’re not going to get into hand-in-hand or hand-to-hand combat yet, but we can definitely get into some stuff that you can build from very simple materials that protect yourself, give yourself that little extra second and then escape in a bait situation.
On the flipside of that, we’re also going to get into some really cool medical stuff. I finished reading a book while I was designing the module, but where there is no doctor, it’s about — Or these places down in like South America where they don’t have a lot of Western medicine or access to it. How they cope with it? I learned a lot of really cool stuff. So being able to go in and teach that is going to be a lot of fun, I think.
Then we’re going to get into more health stuff as far as when you’re foraging for food or you’re catching food, how to correctly prepare that to make sure it doesn’t make you sick. The way that we’re going to teach that and the way we’re going to test that is going to be really fun. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good time.
Brian: That’s awesome. I’m excited for all of that. I think the conflict stuff will be interesting too.
Mickey: Yeah, definitely.
Brian: I don’t know if you hold the same feeling, but generally in — Maybe not like these types of situations, but in most situations, evading and escaping is preferable to fighting.
Brian: If there’s one thing that doing muay-thai and boxing, that kind of stuff has taught me, it’s that people who don’t expect to be that strong or that skilled can be very strong and very skilled.
Mickey: Yeah. There’s always that freaking, the ringer if you will. You don’t see it coming. Just beats the crap out of you. Yeah, in a survival situation — Yeah, I completely agree with what you’re saying. It’s definitely — You’re better off just getting out of there so the short guy that’s just sitting quietly in the corner doesn’t kick the crap out of you. In a survival situation, who knows? You might not have the antibiotics or the way to prevent an infection from even just bust the knuckles. You punched somebody, you bust your knuckles up and they get infected. In a survival situation, that can be huge.
Brian: Absolutely. I remember the first time, a 280, 290 pound person head-kicked me and I’m 6”2’, 6”3’, it was like, “Whoa! Not everything is at it seems.”
Mickey: Yeah, exactly.
Brian: That’s great advice. Yeah, I mean, you bust up your knuckles, they’re bleeding, they get infected. What do you do? Now you have to raid a hospital or something, which will probably bring up more conflict. It’s just so much safer to play it smart, I guess.
Mickey: You know, and you’re not always going to be by yourself. You might be, and I think it’s a lot easier situation, but if you’re not, if you’re moving with your family and children or maybe someone that’s not physically or as physically capable like you are, maybe you could handle getting into a fistfight, but are they going to be able? So that’s going to change the dynamics of that conflict if you can. Just worry about yourself. You have to worry about those that you’re trying to protect as well. Just to kind of circumvent all of that, why not just get out of there?
Mickey: That’s the best protection for those that you’re trying to protect.
Brian: Yeah. I do love my 7-month-old daughter, but I cannot trust her to have my back.
Mickey: Yeah! Someday she’ll be your sidekick.
Brian: Have there been any challenges or any roadblocks that you’ve run into getting the series set up for 2018? It sounds like there’s been a number of changes. Have any of those post a problem?
Mickey: Not really. I mean, time. It takes a little bit of time to come and prepare, but honestly nothing huge. Actually, I think a lot of the large issues that we are encountering were kind of worked out in 2017, which made 2018 more awesome, because now it was like, “Well, I already know how to handle this, so now I can — I know my left and right limits so I can maximize everything I have in the middle.”
Rolling out, I think one of the biggest hiccups we had is the schedule dropped a little bit later than we would have liked. So people haven’t been exposed to it as much as I — Or maybe they just don’t like the event. Yeah, that was kind of a hiccup. Other than that it was pretty good. I had a lot of good input and a lot of great help on it, so it went really smooth.
Brian: Good to hear, and that’s definitely an interesting way to put it. I really thought of it that way. 2017 was the first year for GORUCK Constellation events, and the way GORUCK structured, they kind of put the entire years’ worth of events out there. So you’ve got your orders in front of you of what has to get accomplished in 2017 and you’re probably learning a lot going event to event. So 2018 has been the first year where, I guess, you’ve been able to gather all that knowledge and then figure out how that’s going to impact the events going forward.
Mickey: Yeah, totally. Definitely. The timeline was something we put with a lot during 2017 and it took a few events to where we are really happy with them.
Brian: That’s great. GORUCK obviously is known for Tough events. I think the GORUCK selection live feed, Jason or Blain mentioned that it got like a quarter of a million total views. A lot of people who know about GORUCK know about the Tougher side. For people who are listening to this episode, a lot of people who listen who haven’t done a Tough or a Light yet and they’re not really sure where they’re staying with their physical abilities. When it comes to GORUCK events, what level of physical fitness is needed for either a Constellation 6 or a Constellation 12?
Mickey: Both. It’s very light. We’re not — This isn’t a PT event. We throw around the term gentleman’s course. It’s just a normal course. You show up. Yeah, you’re going to have to walk and you’re going to have to carry your ruck, but there’s no weight in your ruck other than what you brought as far as your team you go at your own pace. There’s no ruck marches or anything like that. We get to the areas of operation that you’re going to be working in and we put you out on your mission. How fast you go and how far you go, that’s completely up to you.
There are groups that have had to run, but that’s because they weren’t paying attention to time and they have to get back on time, or maybe got lost and how far away they were, like that. That’s very rare. I’ve never had — I’ll put it this way. I’ve never been close to dropping anyone for medical reasons or because they weren’t physically fit.
Brian: That’s good to hear. You didn’t have anyone crying at your events, like that Light?
Mickey: No. Not from the physical aspect of it. Maybe from some of the practical application, but that was pepper spray which makes you tear up, so that made sense.
Brian: That it does. I like that one of the items that I saw on Constellation 24’s packing list was the pepper spray mask you made in Constellation 12. I still have mine around. I think that’s one of the items on the Constellation 12 events too, the packing list. So I’ll definitely be bringing that back.
Mickey: Yeah. Those are fun. Everybody loves that the most, because it makes the event very exciting when you know you’re going to have to use it, but actually it isn’t sometimes as the most pleasant experience, but everybody gets through it.
Brian: Yeah. When people are asking for advice, the Constellation event, I didn’t really want to spoil that you are going to get peppered sprayed in the face. So I would just tell people, I say, “When you have downtime, just work on your mark, because the cadre really grade you on it.
Mickey: That’s a very good way to put it.
Brian: They want to drop a secret, but at the same, like if you have downtime, work on that mask and make sure that seals good, because it’s a practical event, a lot of practical applications.
Mickey: Yeah, definitely.
Brian: I think I mentioned earlier, we had someone on the podcast back in episode 25 and they gave in AAR for the Constellation 24 event. Will Constellation 24 be making a comeback this year?
Mickey: Yes. Yes it will.
Mickey: I’ll get into — later if we have time, it’s going to kind of coincide with some of the other survival events that we’re going to be running this year. Poseidon is coming back this year. The Maritime Environment Survival Course will have a 6 and 12 with that as well, and then we have wilderness survival course. All these should be — Bear with us. Those will be dropped in here pretty soon. But the 24 events really start to coincide — It’s coming back. I’ll put it like that.
Brian: Good way to put it. For those who are listening and have listened to previous episodes, we had Corey Modrowski, and he gave an AAR for the, I think at the time was called Beached Beta Tough and Beached Beta Light out in Traverse City, and I think that’s what it will be turning into a modified version of that or something similar into Poseidon for this year. Very exciting stuff.
We’re starting off the New Year, people are making their resolutions. Some of those resolutions are for GORUCK events. I know I’ve gotten a number of emails so far people saying that 2018 is the year where they sign up for their first Light or 2018 is where they’ll finally do a Tough. What advice do you have for people who are considering signing up or have just signed up for their very first GORUCK event?
Mickey: Be stoked. Be happy. You’re going to have a blast. Don’t show up completely unprepared, but you’re about to do something awesome.
Brian: That’s great advice. I think one of the issues with people getting overly nervous for the events, maybe that’s not the case, but it’s almost like there’s packing list and information overload on what you should bring to events, and so people get nervous if they don’t have all the stuff. They’re not going to do well.
Back when I did my first event, and I’m assuming you’re back in 2013, really even then there wasn’t much information out. You just had that GORUCK packing list and you showed up with your bricks and hope for the best.
Mickey: Up with their headlamps on blinding each other. Yeah, I think you’re right there. I think people kind of get a little overwhelmed and it makes them a little bit more nervous than they need to be, but look at the percentages that come on these events. You’re going to make it and you’re going to have fun and you’re going to be glad you did. Be stoked that you’ve made that stuff.
Brian: Absolutely. What advice do you have for people who are taking the next step this year? They might have done a couple of Lights and are signing up for a Tough, or they might have done some Lights and a Tough and are signed up for a Heavy in 2018. Any advice for them?
Mickey: Don’t just train to meet the standards. You should be training to crush the standard. No matter what the cadre throws at you, carry on, and keep that same enthusiasm and keep that same thing, stoked feeling you had for your very first event. Let that carry on to the next They’ll crush it. Everybody here does.
Brian: That’s awesome. Completely agree. You should be able to beat the standard on a bad day is what I usually recommend training to.
Mickey: There’s the easiest thing you’re going to do as you think about it. That should not be your goal. Crushing those should be your goal.
Brian: Yeah, they should — Really, they should be an afterthought, because it’s what you know what’s going to happen and you should be able to do them and, and that’s that. Assuming that you’re signing up for an event that has standard, like the Heavy or GORUCK Selection, I didn’t really want to drop that one, but —
Mickey: Even with the Tough, everybody’s question, “How different is the Light versus the Tough?” and stuff like that is the question I get asked very often. I tell them, “The exercises themselves are going to be the same as the Light. The repetitions you’re going to have to do are going to be a lot higher and you’re going to be doing it in the middle of the night.
Just having that kind of image that you can try to train with that in mind while you’re doing it and still crush the exercises that you’re trying to do, that’s huge for the Tough.
Brian: Absolutely. Is there anything else that you want to talk about before we wrap up?
Mickey: Foremost, you need to keep working and keep Bomber shirtless for as long as possible. I know it’s cold in Florida right now, but come on. GORUCK’s Poseidon and wilderness events, they’re going to awesome. They’re going to be two really, really cool events. Dig the survival stuff and you dig the kind of GORUCK style of teaching. Definitely come check those out, stay tuned.
Brian: That’s awesome. I can’t wait for all of the new events for 2018. Poseidon should be great, should be awesome, especially now that they’re doing it in lakes. It’s not just the beaches, because I know so many people in the middle of the United States who don’t have access to a beach. We’re worried about that. So having it on lakes will be nice, and then —
Mickey: Where we’re going to run them and stuff like that, that has opened up so many more possibilities. As I was going through and researching all these lakes across the country, there’s a lot of really cool, fun looking lakes. So I’m kind of excited about that.
Brian: That’s going to be quite the job for you. So you got to look at all these awesome pictures of lakes, figure out where you want to have a GORUCK vacation to next.
Mickey: Yeah, I mean, not always necessarily paid vacation, but it’s cool. There’s so many like — These countries that are always work, there’s always permits and regulations and stuff like that that we kind of have to work with, especially for events like ours, because they’re not your normal — Working inside certain parameters could be a little bit of a challenge sometimes, but we got an awesome schedule that’s going to launch here pretty soon. I’m looking forward to it.
Brian: Very cool. I can’t wait to see where they end up. Mickey, thank you so much for taking just all the time. We’ve talked for already over an hour now and just taken all these time on a Tuesday to chat with me about GORUCK Constellation, Constellation 6, Constellation 12, what people can expect on those events. I’m really excited about them. I know they had a great run in 2017 and I hope 2018 is just as good or better. Thank you again for taking the time to chat with me.
Mickey: No problem, man. Thank you for having me on, for helping me spread the word about the Constellation, and I’m right there with you man. I hope they crush 2017!