John Doolittle: Empowering People to Achieve Their Performance, Recovery, and Rehabilitation Goals Anywhere, Anytime

Top 10 Most Inspiring People in Health & Wellness

John Doolittle is a retired Navy SEAL Captain and an American competitive swimmer, master swimmer, and channel swimmer. In the 1990s, he graduated from the United States Air Force Academy. He spent 25 years in the US Navy, where he was a member of the SEAL Teams as an officer. He’s a Navy SEAL, that’s correct. He’s gone to Kosovo, Bosnia Herzegovina, Iraq, and Afghanistan. After his last deployment, he retired as a Navy captain and went on to become a licensed KAATSU master instructor. After his last position as Director of the Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF) Task Force at USSOCOM headquarters, where he supported 73,000 Navy SEALs, SWCCs, Army Rangers, Green Berets, Night Stalkers, Air Force and Marine Special Operators, he retired as a Navy Captain.

John is a KAATSU Master Instructor and a NAUI Dive Instructor with a Master of Science in Defense Analysis, Irregular Warfare, and Special Operations from the Naval Postgraduate School. He resides in St. Petersburg, Florida with his wife and three children.


KAATSU is a non-intuitive, unconventional, and innovative solution for improving human performance, rehabilitation, and recovery. KAATSU is different from what most physicians, therapists, coaches, and trainers in America are taught. In the “traditional” sense, KAATSU should not be so successful or provide such extraordinary achievements and outcomes. “But it does.”

Professor Sato came up with the idea for KAATSU while sitting on the floor in the traditional Japanese posture known as “seiza” in 1966. He envisioned a training strategy that centered on blood flow regulation after realizing that his blood circulation in his lower legs could be modified during a wide variety of multi-joint movements. Professor Sato began experimenting on himself using bicycle tubes, ropes, judo belts, and bands at various pressures all over his body, keeping meticulous records on which bands and pressures were the safest and most successful. Thousands of customers were treated with KAATSU over the following two decades, and he learned what worked best for people of different ages and backgrounds suffering from various ailments.

According to John, the mechanism by which KAATSU works within the body makes perfect sense. He says, “With current technology, we can now look at health and human anatomy in a completely different way. We have to consider how ubiquitous our capillary system is and how invaluable the elasticity of the vascular tissue is for human health and performance.”  

Sales increased from practically zero to seven figures once John was able to discuss and explain these natural physiological principles in human bodies to military decision-makers and influencers in sports groups.

Staying Motivated is the Key to Success

John has discovered that in a small cohesive unit, everyone may act as a “force multiplier.” After 25 years in the SEAL Teams, he found that inspiring individuals around you through positive encouragement and mild reminders of their capabilities accomplishes this. Effective leaders, he believes, should constantly empower each person to see their actual potential and how their abilities and potential, integrate into and strengthen the overall organization. This will create a positive working environment, and when people are happy, self-confident, and driven, success will follow. And it will manifest itself in more ways than you could have dreamed or hoped for. He mentions, “Tell them ‘what’ needs to be done, not ‘how’ to do it; they will always surprise you.”

While serving as a Navy SEAL, John discovered this in situations where he had to rely on his teammates and brothers. That kind of commitment, he claims, got him through the US Air Force Academy and many tours of duty as a Navy SEAL all around the world. He shares, “Living and working in Europe, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere has also enabled my family to greatly and profoundly appreciate our life as Americans.”

From a Struggling Freshman to a Veteran

John shares that he can pinpoint the beginning of his professional career to his entrance to the U.S. Air Force Academy as a freshman from northern California.  He struggled to get through the academy. He says, “It was very difficult for me, as I struggled with all aspects of the Academy.”  John was often on probation for academics and various infractions.  When speaking about initial SEAL training, he says “going through Hell Week and Basic Underwater Demolition School (BUD/s) really puts a perspective on what we can all achieve mentally as well as physically.”  To stay up 6 straight days, being cold, wet, and tired, being pushed, and being coerced into doing things that would be normally unthinkable, is not natural. But, as a class (BUD/s class 213), John was able to convince himself, and others, how they could make it through. He asserts, “It was not easy, and it required us to dig deeper than we ever thought possible, but we got through it. I learned that we all have a reservoir of untapped strength that can be useful in times of extreme stress, and during our most difficult challenges.”  

Ultimately, he retired as a 25-year veteran and captain in the Navy SEALs, where he had made so many unforgettable friendships and experiences. He mentions, “Mentoring and leading younger teammates in times of extreme stress called upon me to understand how best to keep everyone motivated and focused on the mission, while trying to get everyone home to their families. The bonds that we mutually forged are among the most profound relationships that any group of humans can enjoy and experience.”  John finds relationships are everything, professionally as well as personally.

Broadening the Reach 

John and his colleagues plan to considerably extend KAATSU’s medical and military uses, as well as introduce Bluetooth-enabled devices that may be utilized creatively for worker’s compensation difficulties.

John’s personal ambitions are on the verge of becoming a reality. Primarily, KAATSU equipment is becoming increasingly popular among injured war veterans and those who suffer from chronic pain and musculoskeletal ailments, which are all too common among veterans.

“Be Passionate and Persistent”

John’s message to aspiring business leaders is to always be passionate and persistent in your business. He adds, “Fertilize the seeds of ALL your relationships. You will experience very good and not-so-good days. Long-term success will come if you continue to foster these relationships built on TRUST. Be fair, and always speak the truth. There is never a need to exaggerate your capabilities or speak ill of your competitors (that is key). Listen to what your current customers say, as well as what potential customers say. Understand their needs and solve their needs with your products or services.”

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