A Message from my Son


Hey KMMA Family!


This is Shihan Harley Del Castillo, my dad (Grandmaster Del Castillo) asked me to write today’s blog on what I have learned and become throughout my journey in the Martial Arts, so here are a few of the biggest lessons I have taken from my experience:


One of the first and most impactful things that jumps to mind for me is confidence. Anyone who’s known me for a few years knows that I am naturally an introvert and used to be way quieter and less confident than I am now. Now of days it is frequently told in jest that my first Krav Camp nickname was “Chit-Chat” due to my lack of talking, and here I am now leading classes on the mat multiple times a week. Two of the most impactful things that made me realize the growth in confidence I’ve had since I was younger is my 4th degree blackbelt speech, and my public speaking class in college. For my 4th degree test I had to deliver my speech on stage in front of a few hundred people, something that would have made me shut down and have nothing to say years prior, but due to my experience in leading classes and having a lot more public speaking practice I delivered it with little to no fear. A year or two after that, I had to take a public speaking class in college, another thing that years before would have made me extremely nervous and dreadful for. But I got through every speech in the class confidently and it felt like an easy A, which I owe to the experience I have gained from the leadership development at the dojo.


Another one of the important lessons I have learned is goal setting. I have learned to turn my dreams and aspirations into goals by putting them down on paper, then break down those goals into achievable steps and follow through to the end. This is a very important skill I utilize every day. In managing my time for homework, work, working out, martial arts, friends, etc. and still being able to achieve what I want to achieve is very useful.


Along with goal setting goes perseverance and persistence. As knowledge without action is useless, you can be a great goal setter and planner, but none of it matters without being a goal achiever as well. This comes from discipline, perseverance, and persistence. A lot of people, myself included, are guilty of becoming very motivated about an idea, setting an arbitrary goal, and then never following through. Either because it gets hard and they quit, the motivation simply just fades, or some other reason, but if you want it bad enough you must discipline yourself to persevere through whatever challenges that may come. Motivation won’t last forever, which is why you need to develop discipline for when your motivation is lacking.


Lastly, there are two quotes that have been said around the dojo a lot for years that have stuck with me. The first comes from Charles R. Swindoll and says, “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” This quote resonates with me anytime something not so good happens and I remind myself to not let my immediate reaction get the best of me, to calm down and react logically rather than emotionally.


The second comes from Jim Rohn who said that we are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I didn’t understand what this meant when I was younger, but as I have grown older and came across some situations with friends who were not good for me for various reasons, this rings as one of the truest lessons I have learned; both in a positive way and a negative way. Sometimes there are friends and/or acquaintances that you realize are doing nothing but dragging you down into negativity with them and won’t allow themselves to move up in a positive direction with you, whom which you may have to decide to cut off. On the other hand, when you invest your time spent around other positive people, you all bring each other up and it benefits not only you but everyone around you.


These are some of the most important lessons that I have learned from the Martial Arts that personally have affected me the most. Now I set my sights on the next goal, testing for my 5th degree and then continue my journey on from there!


Shihan Harley Del Castillo, 4th Degree Blackbelt


A note from dad: I am so proud of Harley. He’s an amazing son, brother, student, teacher and man. He’s got his whole life ahead of him. He will be uber succesful at anything and everything he decides to do. Most immediatly, he is in his final year of College, studying Cyber Security at USF.

  1. I am so proud of him on all his accomplishments, grateful for this eason we get to work together at our KMMA mission, and excited for him for his future.
  2. Shihan Harley is a walking, talking example of what Blackbelt Leadership looks like. The years he has invested in his leadership and character training at Krav Maga Martial Arts has perpared him for all that comes next.

To begin the Blackbelt Leadership journey for your child or family, start here.

If you are already training with us, congratulations!


By the way, ALL KMMA students are invited to join the Leadership Team for my special seminar on the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership tomorrow!

You don’t want to miss it!

6:30-7:30pm Friday, live at the academy, live on the virtual dojo, and we’ll be recording too!

But nothing beats live in person with the tribe!

We hope to see you!


Shihan Harley and I at the grand opening of our academy, 22 years ago.


About Grandmaster Stephen J. Del Castillo: Grandmaster Del Castillo is the founding Master Instructor of Krav Maga Martial Arts and has been empowering lives in Pasco and Hillsborough Counties since October of 2000. He is a 7th degree Blackbelt, MBA, author, mentor and success coach, a US Army Veteran and a proud father and grandfather. He is married to Ms. Barbara Del Castillo who helps him run the school. Grand Master Del Castillo began his training in the early 80’s and has high level blackbelts in Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Premier Martial Arts and Krav Maga Martial Arts as well as experience in kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do and Jiujitsu. He has high level instructor certifications from BBSI, IKMF, and KMG and has been featured in numerous Martial Arts publications and also Success magazine. He was a competitive sport karate and American Kickboxing instructor until he enlisted in the US Army where he served in the 82nd Airborne Division, where he won an Army Green to Gold scholarship and proceeded to ROTC and the University of Tampa. He was commisioned in 1992 and went on to serve in Germany with the 3rd Infantry Division and then in several other posts in the US until he left military service to pursue his dream of creating KMMA in 2000.

The Krav MagaMartial Arts Headquarters is in Lutz, FL at 1900 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., 33549. Krav Maga Martial Arts serves Lutz, Land O’ Lakes, Wesley Chapel, and surrounding areas.

See for more information and to order my book, Developing Your Superpower, Meditations on Mastery, Volume 1.

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