Meditations on Mastery

Character Matters

     Character Matters

We have to consider 2020 a test of our character.

   More than developing character, adversity reveals it.

It’s not that trials and tribulations, adversity and challenging situations don’t also have the potential to develop resolve, perseverance and other desirable character traits- they do.


But even more than that, and even more obvious by some people’s reaction behavior right now,

trying times more than anything reveal the quality and depth of character that we have developed to that point.

   It’s kind of like our stress test in Krav Maga, or how one reacts when confronted with violence; it’s too late to prepare when the test is on, but the test is a useful indicator of how well we have trained.

The same is true of our character traits. 

   We see how well a leader has prepared by the attitude, actions, resolve and command he or she exhibits under fire.

We see how well a person’s been groomed by their poise, courtesy, modesty and respect.

Character matters, and it matters a lot.  In stressful situations, character is revealed and is the chief indicator of rather one will survive and lead those under his or her charge to victory.

   This is true for the leader of a unit, a family, a business or a team of any sort, and true for combat, but also for negotiating any of the physical, mental, financial or social stressors that can be caused by a situation like the Corona pandemic, and our reactions to it including the shutdown.

Look, I’m not going to lie. I was afraid for our business of 20 years when we had to close our doors. I was afraid for my team and the many students that rely on our program for so many things in their life, including character development.

   And I was aware that all of these people, many afraid and all confused or at least concerned, all needed leadership and consistency more than ever before.

So we stood up our Emergency Operations Center (EOC), made a plan and executed swiftly and decisively. We created a state of the art studio, first shooting and canning lessons and then setting up a live virtual classroom environment so that students could get the essential interaction with their Sensei that they could not get just by watching the video online.

Virtual Dojo Filming


We still got hurt by what happened, but we survived.

    That was never a question because failure was never an option.

The proper mindset and character when the situation seems impossible is HOW will we get through this, not will we. The prior creates action while the latter causes paralysis.

Our students today have even more training options than ever before: they can train live and safely at our beautiful facility again; they can train live virtually and our virtual dojo technology and delivery ROCKS! 

   And while we discovered that on-demand is not the best way to serve students, because they miss out on the important personal interaction and all the advice and positive reinforcement and coaching of the Sensei, we also developed all kinds of great remote learning tools that are an amazing supplement to both the physical and virtual dojo live training experience.

We are excited to share our new Google classroom that my son Shihan Harley has been working on next week as an amazing supplement that will help students even more!


   It’s a great time to get started or get back if you’re not currently actively training at Krav Maga Martial Arts! 

Call 813-948-4844 and I’ll have Sensei Kyle or Sensei Sarah get with you to get you oriented and on a plan to start or get back on track-

                      along with the kick-off of our new and improved Simulcast schedule that kids off next week!

   And if you’ve been training all along, thank you and congratulations! 

It says a lot about your character that you didn’t let the craziness derail your focus on your goals. I’m proud of you.

     Character Matters,

     Grand Master Stephen Del Castillo, KMMA


Curbside Belt Testing Pickup and Krav Maga Martial Arts have been empowering lives through the martial arts in the Tampa Bay area for 20 years!

Founded in 2000 by Grandmaster Stephen J. Del Castillo, a 7th degree Black Belt and Sr. Master Instructor, Krav Maga Martial Arts and Karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need – specialized for their age group – for school excellence and later success in life.

Krav Maga Martial Arts Adult Krav Maga training is a complete adult self defense, fitness, and conditioning program for adults who want to learn real world self defense, lose weight, and/or get (and stay in shape).

If you have any questions about our program, or would like to go ahead redeem your 2 weeks FREE, you can call us anytime at 813-547-6368 or visit our Krav Maga Martial Arts website.

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.

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