In his new book, The Intuitive Warrior: Lessons from a Navy Seal on Unleashing Your Hidden Potential, author and retired Navy SEAL Michael Jaco describes how he channeled the challenges he faced in military training and combat toward aligning his body and mind. With the two working in unison, Jaco remained calm and positive in extremely stressful situations. When he retired, Jaco then used these techniques as a civilian to enrich his everyday life.
Through personal accounts of real experiences, Jaco explains how the challenging situations he endured as a member of one of the most elite Special Forces units in the United States taught him to control his emotions and tap into his intuition. Using these capabilities, he enhanced both his mental and physical strength. In The Intuitive Warrior, Jaco says that anybody can develop the perception and awareness skills that he learned and employ them to achieve a more fulfilling life, whether seeking to improve job performance, personal relationships or physical shape.
Michael Jaco answers a few questions for Martial Development readers in this exclusive interview…
With more than two decades of service in the elite Navy SEALs, you have earned the right to describe yourself as a warrior. How do you prefer to define the term? (Do you think it should be reserved for those in the military, for example?)
A warrior is an archetype or ideal example of what all of humanity must go through at some point. So I feel the term warrior is not exclusive to those that actually serve in the military; it can and will apply to everyone at some point. I feel there are different levels or stages of a warrior. In the beginning stage, we fight either for real as in combat, or figuratively against our inner egoic self, for what we feel we must protect. The higher levels or stages that a warrior goes through are less about self and more about serving others. I feel that the most advanced warrior is one that has an inner calm even when faced with the most stressful of challenges and has learned to tap their inner knowing or intuition at will.
The history of martial arts is seasoned with reports of extraordinary intuitive or psychic skills. They are often dismissed as exaggerations, if not outright frauds, by members of the martial arts and scientific communities today. How have your friends, acquaintances and co-workers reacted to the personal stories you recount in the book?
Do SEALS have a different perspective on this topic than the general public, which is apparently biased towards doubt and ridicule?
Science is actually proving intuitive and psychic skills today through Quantum Physics, and as a martial artist progresses to the higher levels of being a warrior they will experience these abilities. Actually, my friends and colleagues were the ones that had me come forward and start sharing my intuitive skills more openly. I was quietly working these skills for a while, keeping everyone out of danger at just the right times, and my colleagues took notice and asked me to openly relate my intuitions. “If you know attacks are coming, we want to know!” they would tell me. So I have a reputation in my community as a security contractor now, and people are very open to my intuitions, and in turn others are opening to theirs as well.
A former lawyer I worked with, a very analytical person, was least willing to accept my intuition. I had predicted two attacks in a row, each one week in advance. I had told everyone the day, time and place very accurately, even describing the vehicle that the attackers would be in, and the description of the attackers themselves. Then I predicted another: a suicide bomber would attack the residence we were in. This very analytical person was the first to move out, hours before the attack came, and said: I don’t believe what you’re doing is real, but I’m going to listen. I can work with this kind of attitude, and after a few months this person was actually picking up on attacks himself. His new-found intuitive abilities also began to transform his work and he was far more successful and happy in his job as a result.
“By fine-tuning my intuition as a Navy SEAL, I was able to predict and avoid attacks to protect myself and my fellow soldiers.”
The SEAL teams and special operations forces in general are, by nature, pushing the boundaries of possibilities. The intense training and desire to accomplish missions opens the door to intuitive abilities. There is an unspoken knowing of intuitive abilities in some guys, but many special forces warriors have spontaneous awakenings to these skills at certain times throughout their careers. Since the release of The Intuitive Warrior I have been approached by many who have excitedly told me of their own experiences (that they have unfortunately never shared with anyone before).
After retiring from the Special Forces, you developed a “Hell Week” training course for civilians, to help them simultaneously develop physical endurance and awaken their intuitive abilities. What were your students required to perform on day one?
The course was held in a very remote area of the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. We had several streams that burst right out of mountainsides on the 15,000 acre property. The setting was idyllic, and perfect for meditating and conducting the type of training that I had dreamed of doing, when I was a SEAL Chief in charge of conducting Hell Week evolutions at Basic SEAL training.
We began the day prior to Hell Week, which would start late at night with classes on brainwave states and meditations designed to build a point within the student that they could go to under stress. This afternoon of training would help them transcend the rigors of their upcoming training. This intuitive training was a very great key to the overwhelming success of the Hell Week as compared to a regular SEAL training class.
Around 9 PM, myself and the instructor staff (that I had personally trained and worked with for several months) began the training by waking the students from their tents with bullhorns, shouts, confusion and shock. They were given physically demanding calisthenics and sprinting evolutions in mud for several hours. They were then taken to one of the mountain streams for cold conditioning. The mountain streams were around 39 degrees which is anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees colder than what an average SEAL Hell Week would experience. This is where I would ingrain the brainwave state that would allow them do impossible things throughout the week. They spent over an hour in and out of the water. The times in the freezing mountain stream were extended progressively longer and would be longer throughout the week. After this evolution I took them on a long walk through the dark forests and mountainsides. They were required to carry a heavy thick long rope that they had to work together to move. At certain intervals throughout the rest of the night and into the following morning, I would stop them and do races with large stones, and have them run and swim in a small lake on the property. These were timed evolutions and the losers would get extra calisthenics.
The whole next day was filled with evolutions that would make them think under stress. For example, I had a Sayoc Kali knife fighting master instructor that taught them 9 count knife templates that had to be learned under different kinds of stress, such as performing the template on a log over a stream; the group had to do strenuous calisthenics and runs if they performed it incorrectly. The rate that they learned these templates was amazing. Towards early evening, a Native American friend of mine came in, and we ran a three hour long warrior sweat lodge under extreme heat. After this, we were back out into the cool mountain air for another hour of cold water conditioning. This was followed by more walks into the dark forested mountains, with the group’s giant hawser line strung out from man to man.
So this was their first day, and I was quite frankly very impressed with their performance. We would go on to do steadily far more intensive nights and days for the rest of the week. I attribute the ability of all the students to perform at levels far above what a normal SEAL training class would go through to the fact that we had taught them how to tap their intuitive abilities under stress and then we all worked them to the point where they had to continually tap it on a deeper and deeper level to continue with training.
Did those students who successfully completed the course, report or demonstrate enhanced intuitive abilities? Such progress is usually attributed to years, or even decades; but under ideal circumstances, can it really be measured in weeks and months?
It was actually measured in hours as they were performing at exceptional levels right at the beginning. The instructors that were helping me run this training were very gifted at creatively pushing people beyond their limits. When I was a SEAL instructor I was renowned for being able to conduct very demanding training evolutions. All of us knew the advanced abilities that students will exhibit if they are working in an intuitive state so we constantly kept up the pressure to keep them there. All the students completed the course–which is rare in any Hell Week civilian course. Even the one at SEAL training has only had one or two classes with no quitters in its entire history.
You theorize that humans need to first reach a certain level of maturity, before they can access their intuitive skills. Is this an individual, or a collective maturity? Do you think we are any closer now than we were 400 years ago, when Galileo was imprisoned for making statements “false and contrary to Scripture”?
Intuition is already prevalent in small children. It is the societal, educational, governmental and religious pressures that take this natural born gift away from us. We can open ourselves to intuition and all of the expanded abilities that it will ignite within us, if we are simply open to the idea that it is already inherent within us. I strongly feel that humanity as a whole is having a spontaneous awakening to intuition. The Mayans have spoken of this in their cyclic time calendar, which points to our time for a quantum leap in the evolution of the human race.
Your time as a SEAL trainer included periods of intensive hand-to-hand combat study, upwards of 300 hours per month. Do you have any favorite drills, techniques, lessons or principles to share with other martial artists?
One of my favorite drills was the multi-fight drill, where we had up to 20 attackers coming at you at one time. You would disable the fighters, and as you moved on the disabled attackers would revive and get back in the mix. Over the three minute period we would conduct this drill you had to remain in an intuitive state, or you would be quickly overwhelmed.
I also enjoyed grappling that taught me how to internally use my skeletal structure and relax out of some of the anaconda grips that some of my physically gifted colleagues could apply. I believe that all martial arts have something to offer everyone if they are open. I have studied many different styles and can say that they all taught me something useful either about fighting styles, or more importantly about myself as an evolving warrior. My favorite style to this day is Sayoc Kali which I feel deeply develops the intuitive side of a warrior in conjunction with the physical.
Any advice for those who are interested, but unable to suspend their disbelief in the power of intuition?
If you can at least have an open skepticism like the analytical lawyer I described above then you will benefit peripherally from intuition. Intuition is trying to come through to us throughout our lives, but we often discount it to our detriment. Ever have those moments that tell yourself that you should have listened to your inner thoughts but didn’t, and caused yourself a lot of anguish because you didn’t? That’s intuition trying to come through.
The next time you are thinking about your loved one or a close friend and the phone rings and it’s them, know that you just had an intuitive moment. That can be how it begins for you, but only if you are open. Once you are open, then the information and abilities start coming through.