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In 1982 we were approached by the US. Army to design and direct the "Ultimate Warrior Training Program", AKA "Jedi Warrior", for the Green Berets. This six month-long, full-time program came about through the efforts of a number of concerned and high ranking officers who lived with the grief of knowing how much unnecessary suffering took place during and following the war in South East Asia. They understood that because their people were unprepared to stop the war inside themselves, under pressure the seeds of violence within them manifested as the outer violence that destroyed many innocent people, including their families and themselves. They told us that more than twice as many people committed suicide after returning home than died in combat, and that they lived with the grief of that knowledge on a daily basis. These men approached us, not knowing what to do, but with a hope and confidence that we would be able to help.

The stakes were very high. We were asked to work with two highly strategic elite teams, whose mission had the potential to either trigger or avert World War III, under the old Cold War scenario. Our mission was to design and deliver a full time intensive and holistic program to equip these two A Teams of Special Forces Troops with the personal, team, and mission capabilities necessary to recognize and reduce the conflict/war within themselves so they could perform at peak levels in the midst of extreme danger and distress, such as working behind enemy lines for prolonged periods of time. Prior to submitting our proposal, we went through considerable soul searching. We consulted many of our mentors and advisors, and contemplated the potential implications, both positive, and negative of participating in this program. During this same period, Trident submarine was coming into Puget Sound for the first time. As we pondered this RFP from the Army we realized that if we had six months to train the crew of a nuclear submarine that we would feel that the world was a safer place. It became clear that the benefits to the men and to the globe were potentially extreme. We assembled our team, created and submitted our proposal for a six month full time training program. We received an almost immediate reply from the West Point logisticians who evaluated our proposal who stated that our proposal represented "the most exquisite orchestration of human technology they had ever seen."

In preparation for the program (which red tape delayed for nearly two years), we engaged many of our mentors and colleagues in an inquiry. We asked them: "If you had the opportunity to work intensively for six months with men who were in a position to start or stop World War III, what would you do?" Our advisors andcollaborators ranged from Vietnam veterans and respected military leaders, to leading martial artists, respected researchers like Elmer Green from the Menninger Foundation, to Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. By the time the program began, we had woven the best of our own experience with the insights of many others to deliver what Michael Murphy founder of the Esalen Institute and Esquire editor George Leonard once called, "the most intensive human development program to be offered in modern times."

For this pioneering project we designed a lab with about $150,000 of biocybernautic equipment that we used for extensive personal mastery training. Here the men developed the skill and confidence necessary to sense and control many previously unconscious physiological functions: they learned to recognize and control muscle tension, to control circulation in order to keep their hands warm in cold environments, manage the intensity and physiology of their responses to stress. For many visiting dignitaries to the base, the Jedi Lab became a first stop on the tour of the base, where they learned that it was actually possible to recognize and control the level of their blood pressure. The lab included the world's first multiple-synchrony brainwave feedback system which we helped to design, in order to teach up to sixteen people at a time to "synchronize" their brain waves in order to move toward a state of "team flow" and deep attunement to each other. Our goal with all this technology was to build the soldiers' skills and confidence that they could indeed recognize, understand, and influence/control their internal mental, emotional and physiological experience, and that they could strengthen the mindful clarity they'd need to choose a wiser path of action even under conditions of extreme stress.

For men who were outwardly fearless and willing to give their lives for their country, the most terrifying part of our training was a month long "encampment" a time of intensive contemplative and martial arts training where they learned skills for looking deeply into their own minds and bodies in order to recognize, befriend and make peace with their "inner enemies" and to resolve inner conflicts and tap inner strengths that could influence their outer effectiveness. They deepened their insight of how these internal enemies that could ultimately cost them their lives if they were sent out on their mission. They discovered and learned to tap reservoirs of inner strength they never dreamed existed. Following this month of intensive training the men were parachuted into an intense four day ordeal called "the gut check", and were the first teams in history to muster both the individual and team strengths necessary to successfully complete this extremely arduous mission simulation.

Ours was also the first program in their history to openly address issues around death, dying and grieving. We worked with improving the quality of their communications, their diet, we introduced high sophisticated methods of physical and team training that were a step beyond the somewhat barbaric practices that were the norm in their training. They learned skills to deeply relax, to find an inner state of calm intensity in which they could focus their minds for self healing or to remain calm and alert for long periods of time. They trained intensively with Aikido, a martial art form that emphasizes cultivating a greater sensitivity to energy flow and force while creatively transforming the energy of inner and outer conflict. We applied these learnings to enhancing the mission skills and technical capabilities essential to their success, such as working with code, emergency medical work, and other vital skills necessary for their work. We also worked closely with the soldiers' families and significant others to help integrate these insights and learnings into their home life and relationships.

In addition to the outcomes summarized below, some of the most notable impacts of our work were evident in an enhanced quality of communication and relationship with their families. Many wives and children of the men thanked us because Daddy came home and talked to them and openly shared his feelings and fears. Some commented that their husband or father seemed more in control of his emotions and was able to talk through difficulties without getting physically abusive. One team was selected as the most outstanding team in the NATO Games that year. Many of these men went on to train others in these inner arts while others were recruited by Delta Force and other special units in the Service. Others taught at the West Point's War College or were decorated for their special roles in operations in Somolia, the Gulf War, and Eastern Europe.

Over the years we have heard from many of the men that what they learned has saved their lives, their missions, their teams, and their families from many difficult situations. Reports over time indicate that the program had a profound effect on the lives of those who participated and that is opened a vast horizon of new possibilities for personal and professional development. The benefits of this investment in these peoples' lives continue to this day.

Corporate Warrior Training

When our corporate clients hear about the Army project they often respond by saying,

"We need an ultimate warrior program to survive in our business! We live on a corporate battlefield. Bombs are dropped on us every day. You never know when something's going to explode and people will be hurt. Its difficult to know who we can trust in our present environment. Many of us have just shut down because we don't know how to stay open or feel safe in such a hostile and unsafe environment. We need a highly specialized and adaptable set of skills and training to be effective in this challenging and changeable environment. Can you help us find a way to end the war or at least to work in a war zone in a healthier, more productive and less harmful way?"

In response to these requests we have designed and delivered a variety of programs for over 100 corporate clients. These programs address such issues as:

  • The warrior's wisdom at work
  • Stopping the war at work
  • Commitment and the power share mission, vision and values at work
  • Operating effectively in hostile territory
  • The warrior spirit at work
  • Personal mastery at work
  • Control follows awareness
  • The power of mindfulness at work
  • Courage and the heart of leadership
  • Creativity and conflict resolution
  • Strategies for expanding our field of influence and operations
  • Improving efficiency under pressure
  • Aikido and martial arts principles at work
  • Leadership and the principles of the modern day corporate warrior
  • Developing high performance team work
Results of InnerWork's "Ultimate Warrior Training Program" for the US Army Green Berets

The "Jedi Warrior Program" was designed and delivered to the U.S. Army Green Berets in 1985 and 1986 after four years of intensive research and design. It was described by West Point logisticians as, "the most exquisite orchestration of human technology we have ever seen!" , and by George Leonard and Michael Murphy, leaders in the field of human development as, "the most extensive human development program to be offered in modern times!" Listed below are the enhancements achieved over the course of training on the Army's targeted outcomes for physical, mental, team and mission performance of the participating individuals and teams. Please note: The greatest gains are in the areas that they had the least prior training. Baseline (i.e. skill level before training) is equal to zero. The enhancements listed below are percentage increases from that initial level.

  Percent Increase From Baseline
(Baseline i.e. "before program" = 0)
Mental Enhancements  
Mental development (summary) 88%
Ability to manage stress 92
Ability to work with visualization/mental rehearsal 84
Clarity with regards to personal values 83
Familiarity and use of holistic methods 98
Access to extraordinary states of awareness 82
Access to extraordinary perceptual abilities 201
Confidence in ability to control mindbody 25
Ability to learn and integrate new ideas 109
Physical Enhancements  
Physical enhancements (summary) 109
Ability to manage energy 86
Understanding of the effects of diet/nutrition on performance 174
Ability to control pain 47
Ability to fine-tune physical performance 127
Team Enhancements
(These were very strong to begin with.)
Team Cohesion 40
Sense of confidence/bonding with team 30
Ability to blend effectively with team 43
Mission Enhancements  
Mission Effectiveness 49
Ability to remain alert and motionless 70
Ability to extend sensory awareness 72
Ability to quickly relax and rest 120
Control of circulation and temperature 87
Personal Energy Management 120
Ability to optimize physical abilities 92
Confidence in using holistic methods 50
Acceptance of other cultures 45
Reduction of effects of shock/trauma 30
Confidence in own leadership abilities 50
Note: To us the most significant "data" was the comments of the wives and children of the soldiers as they spoke with us about how the quality of life and relationship with the men was changed through their participation in this program.

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