Jenise Jacquin, Film Brat
When Movie Maven asked me if I wanted to participate in the SEAL Training day for the DVD release for ACT OF VALOR I thought it would be interesting. I had previously spoken with Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy, the directors of the film and really enjoyed what they had to say about the film.
Nothing prepared me for what I was about to experience! From the moment we arrived – putting on the camouflage pants after a few choice alterations by our trainer Lance, t-shirt and hat (if your not sure which one I am in the photographs, check for the red hair and black hat –yep- that would be me alright!) looking the part is not the same as embracing the part.
First, the hands on experience of Navy Seal training was handled by SEALFIT Program and Founder Mark Divine who also wrote the book “8 Weeks to SEALFIT,” is responsible for the KoKoro Camps and the online program “Unbeatable Mind”. The latter is a program designed to help with mental toughness while he offers participants a “roadmap to control stress under adversity and attain higher confidence, mental clarity and fitness.”
Coach Divine has 20+ years as a Navy SEAL and entrepreneur, 25 years in martial arts and another fifteen years as a practitioner and teacher. To learn more about what is offered at SEALFIT go to www.sealfit.com. There you will also find information about the KoKoro Camps that are held several times a year.
It was an honor to have a few moments of Mark’s time to ask him about his philosophy and hope for those who will take the SEALFIT challenge.
FB: We wanted to talk to you about what you go through with the others you come into contact with who go through this process.
How did you experience it?
FB: I loved it, I really did. I had fun and it was ten times less as intense as I thought it would be. You were very motivational and uplifting and I know I will take something away with me from this experience.
That is one of the big differences between SEALFIT and Navy SEAL Training. All my instructors and myself were Navy SEALs and we can do the Navy Seal thing very, very well. Here at SEALFIT we have a yin and yang approach. We can hit people really hard like when we started here and then we throttle back because you haven’t had formal training. What we want to do and seek to do is dissect what it means to be mentally tough and we teach that, with the SEALs you either have it or you don’t when you show up. Those who don’t quit or get flushed out and those who got it end up making it. What I’ve done over the past five years is what does it actually mean to be mentally tough and then how do you train that? What I’ve proven is that mental toughness is trainable, there is not question that it’s trainable. That’s why we train in breath control, concentration drills and meditation and hard, physical team training. Put all this together in very dynamic and complex workouts. So, what you experienced today is like a snapshot of BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition SEALs) Training. It’s also a snap shot of the first couple of hours of what we call our KoKoro Camp. It’s a montage of different drills and different things done in SEAL Training.
FB: So it was less intense than Seal Training?
I’ve had SEALs come back and tell me that KoKoro Camp was harder than Hell Week. I think that by the time they get to Hell Week they have a sense they’ve been there before so Hell Week becomes easier because of KoKoro Camp.
FB: I wanted to ask you about your teachings of the ocean?
SEALs are unique because one of the reasons they have to be in such good shape physically and mentally is because we spend so much time being in and under the water. The ocean is unforgiving and an extremely challenging environment – to move around in and to survive in, the cold and it can suck the life out of you very quickly. You have to learn how to embrace that, learn how to swim, breathe and relax in the ocean. You need to learn techniques as learning how to raise your body core temperature through breathing and visualization so that you can ward off hypothermia. There are a lot of advance techniques like that that we teach. Seals learn this on the job and it takes an enormous amount of time in and around the water and it can be miserable.
FB: First, the film, how did you like the film?
The Bandito Brothers I thought did a phenomenal job in capturing the realism of what it means to be a SEAL in combat. It is chaotic, it is dangerous, it is violent and its really confusing and I thought when I watched it ‘that’s exactly what its like when people are shooting at you.’ They did a great job of showing that with real bullets and real SEALs and there is nothing like that on film right now. The second thing is that SEALs are human. We have wives and families and birthdays and Christmas’ I know a lot of guys who miss the birth of their own children and its very, very hard on the families. They showed the sacrifice the families have to make to be part of that broader Navy SEAL community so I thought that was amazing.
FB: Thank you so much. You showed us teamwork and such an amazing insight to it all.
What happened to Ian Geppart and myself this day was an amazing experience. We were taken through “Surf Torture” where you lock arms in the surf with your teammates, and we became “Sand Cookies” rolling around in the sand to camouflage ourselves, we did sit ups and push up with huge logs, while getting wet and running. Another of our motivators was Coach Lance. I got the chance to ask him a few questions about his own personal philosophies as well.
FB: What else do you do to help people prepare for Seal Training?
There is a mental aspect you have to latch on to. I call it a carrot because its something that is in front of you that you have to identify for yourself. Its motivation and its something ahead of you that’s subjective that you really want; wife, kids or family etc., or it’s something behind you like ‘I’m from a little town of Georgia and I’m never going back there because there’s nothing there for me’ and you use that for a motivating factor. People who do that become successful. The people who think ‘I just want to see if I can do it and see what its like’ fall to the wayside. Your job as an instructor is to identify why they are there.
FB: What do you think about, what motivates you?
I have a personal carrot. I have a friend who has hepatitis and has to get up each morning and stretch for three hours just to keep his joints from hardening. He continues to be a marathon runner and people like that motivate me because I still have all my faculties and I have the ability to keep moving forward because guys like him are inspiring.
FB: I wanted to ask you about the ocean and how you relate and respect the ocean, can you explain that to our readers?
We look at the ocean as safety, everything about a SEAL is being wet and in the ocean and using that environment because that’s where we excel above all the other special-forces unit. We are the maritime component. We spend most of our time in the ocean and it becomes a part of us. When it becomes a part of you, you want to convey that to other people that you have to be so relaxed in the water so that nothing can phase you. That’s the mindset you have to have especially under water in a dive mission and things may go bad. You have to have the same cause and ease that you would have on land. If your relaxed, things happen and so the tensing up makes you afraid so you need to control the fear. Fear isn’t bad, you just need to learn to control it.
And today both Ian and myself learned a lot about what is expected not only of the team but of individuals and the mindset necessary to be successful not only as a U.S. Navy SEAL, but as a person as well. I hope I can continue to carry with me everything Coach Divine and the other trainers shared in the very short period of time we were together. Only a moment, definitely, something that can last a lifetime – absolutely!
Pick up your copy of ACT OF VALOR this Tuesday and enter to win your own prize pack that contains a rugged backpack, shirt, camouflage pants, water bottle, towel, hat and Mark Divine’s book “8 Weeks to SEALFIT.”
To win, email Jeri with your name, address and phone number.