Straight Out of the Pig Farm…What I Learned About Selling

My name is Stephen Del Castillo and I am a veteran, an MBA, an author and the Founder and Chief Master Instructor of a successful leadership and martial arts academy. You may or may not have known that, but you probably don’t know this…


I was born on a pig farm.  My father was known as the pig man of Carrollwood- and we were poor. I mean, we were born in America and had a roof over our head and food to eat, so we were blessed too, but by the standards of most everyone I know today, we were poor.


Except around the holidays. As a Cuban American pig farm, our big market season was Noche Buena. For those of you who don’t know, that’s Christmas Eve and it’s pretty much the biggest holiday of the year for us.

My best memories from childhood were from this day…


The part relevant to this story is that things were different for us around Christmas. I mean, we were still poor. I have always been grateful to the Salvation Army, because some of my best Christmas gifts as a child were from them.

But to my sister and I, we were rich just then.


I mean, to be fair, the story I am about to share was when we were really young.

We didn’t really understand what was going on but knew that things were different.


So, around Noche Buena, we would slaughter the pigs. That meant two things for us.

  1. We had meat.
  2. Dad had some extra money from the pigs he would sell.


Those two things created the Noche Buena feasts. We’d have lechon asado (Cuban Roast pork), black beans and rice, tostones, queso fresco and dulce guayaba…


I really need to stop that, as I am fasting at this moment and, to my fellow latinos, I am sorry if I just made you hungry too.


Back to the story, my little sister and I would look at each other big eyed and say, “we’re rich again!”


Then, a month or two later over rice and fried eggs (which incidentally would be one of my favorite comfort foods if I weren’t into a low carb lifestyle- isn’t it funny how memories work?)


Anyway, my sister would look at me and say, “we’re poor again.”


I shared this whole story to say this, I am so grateful for how far I have come and also that I get to make my living helping others.


Also, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with selling.

I suppose one conclusion could be that when my dad sold the pigs we would live better than when he didn’t, and that is true.


But what I really was referring to when I wrote the title are two things I learned in a magnetic marketing writing course I recently took that inspired me to share this story with you:


  1. That it’s important to share where you came from and how you got where you’re at from there.
  2. That it’s important to share why you do what you do.


As pertains to the first, well, now you know.

I came from poor, and from a father with a 6th grade education who was doing his best for us.


What you may or may not know, depending on where you started out, are the myriads of challenges that come with that.


I was a victim of terrible bullying, had low self esteem and also developed some negative defense mechanisms early in life that took me decades to overcome…


All of these stories are for another day.


What I want to talk about today are the things that lifted me from there, out of poverty, insecurity and ignorance.


The things that turned my life around are, more than any other thing besides the hand of God, were personal and professional development, positive mentors and developmental experiences, leadership training and grit.


So it’s not accidental that these are exactly the building blocks that we use to also develop what we call “Blackbelt Leadership Excellence” in my students at KMMA. 


I’d be lying if I said that I really knew what was happening when I first wrote our Mission statement 23 years ago…

But I do today!


I spent my young adult life, from like 17 to 31, preparing to open my dojo (martial arts academy). 

Again, I didn’t even know that was necessarily what was happening- i thought I would be a “lifer”, making a career in the Army.

But my military experiences, to include my time as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, winning an Army Green to Gold scholarship wherein they sent me to college at the University of Tampa, my progressive leadership experiences as an Officer, and under the tutelage of great military and martial arts masters…


These and other things I didn’t yet understand all prepared me for the next training evolution.


Then, I did open the academy in October of 2000.

But, to be honest, it definitely wasn’t the school that it is today.


Just like my father was doing the best he could with the knowledge, skills, experience and resources that he had, I was doing the best with mine.


And something amazing happened…

Something that has only recently appeared to me.

I grew with my school.


As I was training up my kids, my students, my staff, and negotiating the inevitable challenges of entrepreneurship, I also developed my philosophy, character, leadership and teaching skills and, from this journey, developed the Blackbelt Leadership Program that makes my academy so special today.

We don’t just teach martial art, though we do teach the most practical self defense system in the world, but we develop grit, character and leadership skills.


We help our students, youth, teens and adults as well, to become the best and highest version of themselves, to overcome adversity and to be leaders. As our Mission statement suggests, we prepare them to survive and thrive, and empower them to lead.


Every time we promote another confident and competent Blackbelt Leader that poor little boy from the pig farm cries in pride and gratitude.


I know we are making a difference in people’s lives, and helping others to feel proud and grateful too.


And now you also know why I do what we do.  


Prepare To Live; Empower To Lead!

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

p.s. I’d love to get to know you. If you’d like to come in to meet, and take a 2 week free trial and orientation of my program, please call 813-948-4844 or just reply to this email. Or of course you can visit the websites in my signature block above for more info and to register too.

I can’t wait to meet you! 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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