Level Up

Yesterday I took my grandson to his first swimming lesson at Watermelon Swim.

I took his uncles years ago when they were little and it was called Seal Swim school, in the same location.

As I watched his teacher, Ms. Vanessa, working with him, I noticed firstly that she was a great teacher; and also how similar the teaching method was to the way we teach martial arts at my academy.

Vanessa was:

  1. positive and gave lots of positive reinforcement, and
  2. challenged Triton and the other kids appropriately as they were ready.
  3.  With the perfect balance of these two things she was empowering and,
  4. because of this Triton covered more area in half an hour than he had in all his time with me…

You see, I am a GREAT teacher, but not a great swimmer, and we can only share that which we truly know.

So, while Triton had made some progress swimming with me, the truth is, had I continued coaching him he would have never become great at it.

My team and I can coach him to be a great martial artist and a Confident and competent leader, and we are, but not to swim.


This is the power of having the right coaches in each area you want to become better at in life.


But the other observation that I made, and wanted to share with you this morning, is on leveling up.

Leveling up if of course an important part of the martial arts- our students progress through the kyu ranks (the belts on the way to black) and then through the Blackbelt levels, from probationary to Blaclkbelt Leader and then on the path to Mastery and beyond if they wish.

Each level represents new skills, attributes and abilities as well as new levels of maturity and understanding.

I noticed yesterday how excited the kids would be when they leveled up in their swim classes too, and how the teachers would publicly celebrate those successes- another similarity to our system by the way…

And then it dawned on me that the same should be true in whatever we do.


Indeed, I have been leveling up in several areas of my business and life over the last few decades.

At each training evolution, I have identified what’s important next and enlisted the training and help so that we can learn what we need to learn to do what we need to do to move on to the next level.

I hope that you are doing something similar too.

I believe that leveling up is one of the innate desires God put deep within us, and that we feel more satisfied when we are setting and getting worthy goals.

We are happier when we learn and grow.

Some of you reading this are part of my tribe and are learning and growing with us.

If so, congratulations and thank you!

Some are growing in some other key area of your life right now and I commend you.


If you’re not part of our tribe and would like to get some help, for yourself and/or your kids, then call 813-948-4844 and talk to Alex.

He’s my green and growing Program Director and he’ll get you scheduled to come try a free two week trial and orientation!

Cool thing about our system is that, not only will my amazing team of Sensei help you become an amazing martial artist, but they’ll help you and your family develop the leadership skills to excel in every area in which you want to level up.


We won’t teach you to swim though.

For that you’ll have to go see my friends at Watermelon Swim.


Prepare To Live & Empower To Lead!

Grand Master Stephen J. Del Castillo

Author, MBA & 7th Degree Blackbelt

Founder & Chief Master Instructor,

Krav Maga Martial Arts

Official KMMA Facebook Page

EmPOWERing Fathers




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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