I’m So Proud Of Them All

You’ve probably heard that we are a Blackbelt School.

     This just means that it is my goal that every one of my students will train to Blackbelt and beyond, to experience all of the benefits of becoming a confident and competent Blackbelt Leader.

You have probably also heard that we are a Blackbelt Leadership Academy, that also happens to teach the most practical self defense. 

    This just means that we take the character and leadership development inherent in our program a seriously as the self defense- although our self defense training is second to none.

But, God willing, no student ever gets to use the physical self defense skills we teach.

  After all, we teach defense versus stick, knife and gun- and other truly dangerous situations.

   While I am grateful that we have the most practical self defense through our Krav Maga curriculum, and students are of course grateful for the peace that comes from having such skills, and knowing that they can defend themselves and others if the worst does come…

I also know that the rest of what we teach prepares students for success in so many other ways, and that they will use these every day.

We prepare students to survive and thrive in any situation, AND empower them to lead- where they are at and into their future.

   That latter bit of my mission statement just means that we create leaders.

One of the benefits is that we produce our leaders form within.

Today I’d like to celebrate a few of these, express my gratitude, and also ask you to extend congratulations when you see them next, or meet them.

I want to congratulate my son Sensei Winston Del Castillo, who grew up in the dojo and is now the Head Instructor at my Headquarters school, right where Lutz and Land O Lakes meet and where Land O’ Lakes Blvd (US41) and Dale Mabry Highway meet.

   I’d also like to congratulate Sensei Allie Peters, who also grew up in the academy, and is now the Program Director at that school. She’ll be the first one you meet when you get started on your training!


Unless of course you start in our new location in Port Richey, which is on US 19 between 52 and Ridge Road.

  I am proud and grateful for KMMA Blackbelt Sensei James Gates, who will be the Chief Instructor there.

                                He’s gonna crush it!


While he was already a young adult when he started, unlike Sensei Winston and Allie, he did kind of grow up in the dojo too.

   Then he went off to progressive leadership positions with Sig Sauer in Jacksonville, Columbia in NY, and BayCare in Tampa/St Pete…

When he came back to Florida, mostly to help take care of his parents, he got back to training first and then got back to work teaching part-time, while working another job too.

   It became evident to both of us quickly that this is the mission he is called to do. 

So I hired him full time and we started training him towards becoming the next branch manager.

But the Lord had plans for us and, as someone astutely once said (and then was repeated by many), “luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity”.

     Read my blog on Serendipitous Blessings. 

So I was presented with a great opportunity to start a second location and, since James was onboard and rocking already, we were ready.

   I am grateful in advance for all; the many students who will benefit from the training from him, Sensei Charlie and other Team KMMA professionals as we sow our mission there.

And I am grateful to the students and families that will be the newest additions to our KMMA Blackbelt Leadership tribe!

Speaking of rising stars (Blackbelt Leaders on Team KMMA), the great Sensei Ayden is running the summer camp at the HQ school tomorrow! 

   He is assisted by Senpai Flynn and Justin, and Sensei Winston and I and other Team KMMA leaders will be making guest appearances too. 🙂

But Sensei Ayden is running it; and I am proud and grateful of his emerging leadership too.

    I am proud of all my Blackbelt Leaders and all they do and of the many students and families growing with us too!

If you and your family aren’t with us yet, we can wait to greet you! 

Check out the Summer Specials we have and get started with KMMA today! 

Prepare To Live; Empower To Lead!

Grand Master Stephen J. Del Castillo
Founding Master Instructor, Krav Maga Martial Arts

The other day someone asked about how we our instructors are all so great. Well, today is the Instructor Bootcamp! One of the answers to the question. Another great question is about why great people choose to become great instructors and why, though some work through high-school and/or college and then move on to other callings, some stay on Team KMMA. I want to give three reasons one may choose to make a career as a martial arts professional at KMMA.Sensei at KMMA know…(Read more) 


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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