Grateful Memorial Day

This, and every, Memorial Day, I am grateful.

Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor those courageous men and women of our Armed Forces who made the highest sacrifice in defense of our land and her freedoms.

Gratitude is the 5th of our KMMA Blackbelt Superpowers, and a rare and important one indeed.

In this blog, I want to share my thoughts on what we are truly being grateful for when we remember our heroes- and what we can do to truly act as if we are grateful.

This meditation, in transparency, comes in response to the onslaught of social media posts i have seen on the subject over the last couple of days- many reminding us the difference between Veterans and Memorial Day, or that it’s not about BBQs and/or a 3 day weekend…

and one that said. well, better yet, here it is:


I’m not going to lie.

That one rubbed me wrong.

But, in a way, so do the others.


For one thing, it’s a shame if anyone actually needs to be reminded what Memorial Day is. 

And, for the other, I actually understand the sentiment expressed in the sarcastic meme above and, to some extent, even agree.

And, to be honest, I believe that both of these just distract from what Memorial Day is and what we should be doing.

As in the case of too many things these days, and especially on social media, these things are an attempt to control how someone else thinks, believes and/or behaves.

Memorial Day is a time for quiet introspection, remembrance, Gratitude, and also celebration.


To be clear, I take Memorial Day extremely seriously; and I do believe it is a time for reflection about our heroes and all we have to be grateful for- as well as the fact that the sacrifice of these heroes is part of what gives us the freedoms we enjoy.

And more importantly, I act on that belief. 

Our actions are always the most important thing, and reflect what we believe more than do the things we say.


So, not to try and impose my ideas or will on you in any way, nor thus contradict what I just said, but because I am grateful for you- the members of my tribe who are reading this because you value what I teach- I’d like to share my philosophy about Gratitude for our heroes on Memorial Day, and also how we best express it.

1. Gratitude is a special kind of Focus. We get more of what we Focus on and, when we Focus on what we are grateful for, we get more to be grateful for.

It is not that our American heroes had to die in battle for which we are grateful, of course; if it were, we’d attract more of that and I for one would be OK if we never lost another.

So what is it then that we truly celebrate? 

I believe it is that level of purpose and conviction. We celebrate the conviction of the American Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine, each of whom’s conviction was so great towards Freedom, and the American ideals they were fighting for, that they were willing to die for it, and did. 

And wile our Gratitude is not for the fact that they died, nor do we hope for more of that; it is for the fact that we had men and women with that level of conviction, and with the hope that we always will.

2. So, then, obviously the first way we honor them is to remember that, and remember them, with Gratitude.

But second, I believe, is to live as passionately and purposefully at whatever we do. 

For me it’s my mission of empowering lives through Krav Maga Martial Arts.

I am as passionately committed to it as I was to my duty when I was a soldier.

And I am absolutely certain that I am fulfilling the calling I was charged with. I believe that by giving my very best to each and every student I serve, and the teams and families that support me, that I honor the brave men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice so that I and others could live life in the greatest country doing our very best at that which we are called to do for those we were called to serve!

And, yes, I believe that we should celebrate too. 

In Gratitude and remembrance, honor the heroes by celebrating with your family and friends- for this is part of what they died for too. 


Forever Grateful,

Grandmaster Stephen Del Castillo, KMMA


P.S. KMMA is closed today in observance of Memorial Day and in tribute to the heroes for which this day stands. Have a blessed one.


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.

Also, check us out on Fun4TampaKids & on