Avoid Overwhelm

I’m up in Golden Colden Colorado training, and it’s going great by the way!

I am always excited to learn even more that I can apply to being the best for you and my team at KMMA.

But, today, I want to talk about overwhelm. In the past two days that I’ve been here, I’ve spoken to two people professedly in overwhelm; one was another school owner up here, and another a cohort back there.

I was able to help both of them, and was inspired to talk to you about the same thing.

After all, if a leader in Denver and a leader in Tampa both were feeling overwhelm, perhaps some of the rest of my tribe are too.


Overwhelm is a natural, but not necessary thing.

The greater your responsibilities and levels of leadership, the greater the potential to experience overwhelm and, ironically, also the greatest potential not to.

I’ll explain a little more on what I mean about that later; but, for now, I’d like to use an analogy from the Krav Maga Martial Arts “stress drill” that explains the dichotomy of overwhelm when confronted by multiple simultaneous “problems”.

In our krav maga stress drill, the Blackbelt student is confronted by a myriad of threats and attacks, all at the same time, and also a control that he is meant to get back to.

For example, he or she may have the challenge of completing their kickboxing sets 1-7 on the focus pads but, simultaneously, are being onslaught with knife threats and attacks, bearhugs, chokes and other grabs and holds standing, plus stick attacks and gun threats and perhaps someone takes them to the ground….

if you are watching one of my Blackbelts, you would be amazed at the calm and poise by which they negotiate the drill; the Confidence and Competence in which they deal with each problem, and then get back to their kickboxing sets.

It’s a thing to behold- almost superhuman.

and there is no choreography nor stuntmen; just really well prepared Blackbelts, doing what they trained to do.


Now, for my analogy, imagine that I made a basic or intermediate student do the same stress test.

I think you have already figured out where I’m going here- he or she would experience overwhelm.


That’s why we raise up students with progressively more challenging drills for skills as they develop the technique, awareness, confidence and competence to handle new ones. In this way, we accomplish several things:

  1. The students get better and better.
  2. Because they are only challenged to do what they are ready to do, they don’t get so overwhelmed that they think they can’t do it and quit.
  3. While they improve at the things they are conscious of, i.e. learn more self-defense techniques and get better at them, as well as their combatives, movement and other tangible and obvious proficiency, they also are getting better at better at things they aren’t even conscious of- they’re ability to remain calm during stress, to negotiate multiple problems, prioritize them and deal with them confidently, and the mental, spiritual and physical perseverance to survive it all! I could go on and on about this; it excites me. But, for the purposed of this blog, we will stop there for now.


Now consider the stories in which we stared and let’s draw the parallels:

  1. The more that we train and develop to negotiate with progressively greater levels of challenge, the better prepared we are to do so.
  2. It is our responsibility to give the student only what they can handle; it is the responsibility of every leader to do the same for the people that they lead.
  3. The skills and attributes that the Krav Maga Martial Arts student develops on the way to the one that can negotiate the that Blackbelt test are the same that you, and I, that we need to develop- to manage our own tasks, challenges and problems and to help our teams to do the same.

Of course, training in the leadership needed to do each of these., self-management and people management, in the realm of the challenge often called time, task and/or project management, is also helpful.

I am super proud and grateful that we are preparing our Blackbelt Leadership students for these leadership challenges as well as to be the confident and competent Blackbelts that can survive the myriad challenges of the Blackbelt test.

But, let me give you a couple, or three, things you can do to manage your overwhelm immediately, of you experience it.

  1. Take a true inventory of what you have to do and prioritize what to do first; sometimes it will be the most dangerous problem, and the one you should deal with first; others it’s the most important thing to be done, and a lot of the other urgent are just distractions from what matters most. SO the challenge is to identify the order of work and then set about dealing with one problem at a time- and then the next and the next. It’s what the Blackbelt does in the stress drill.
  2. Control your emotions. Our emotions are driven by our thoughts and beliefs. Many times, they are triggered by erroneous beliefs and negative thinking. Learning to reframe these, for yourself and your others, will help you deal with overwhelm.
  3. FOCUS on What’s Important Next (WIN).
  4. Remember I talked about the dichotomy of the leader having both the most potential for overwhelm, but also the most potential to control it? Well, this far into this blog, you probably realize that a good deal of that comes from training and preparation. But this is also true because the leader has the ability to delegate some of that workflow.

Well, my mentors and cohorts for today’s training are all arriving now, so I’m gonna have to wrap up.

But I look forward to helping you with all of this and talking more about it in our Blackbelt Leadership program next week!


If you’re not a member of our tribe yet, and are ready to start training your ability to survive the stress drills of life better, click here to begin your 2 week free trial and orientation! 


Grand Master Stephen J. Del Castillo

Author, MBA & 7th Degree Blackbelt

Founder & Chief Master Instructor,

Krav Maga Martial Arts







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 commissioned 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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