TBT- Whatever it takes

 

Most of my throwback Thursday blogs will be happy stories about the many great Blackbelt Leaders that we have raised as children, and that are now amazing adults making fantastic contributions through leadership.

I’ll be writing about Sensei Ben and Sensei Mac, Taylor the naval aviator, Matt the Army Major, Julie the ministry leader in Cherokee, Kyle the Electrical Engineer, Ceya and Amanda who are now lawyers, Madison who’s on a full ride at LSU and soon to graduate as a Veterinarian, and many other KMMA success stories of the young whitebelts who grew into Blackbelt leaders and are making their mark upon the world today.

 

But this morning it struck me that, like all great success stories, the stories behind the story aren’t all happy.

Winning takes sacrifice.

And just as each and all of the Blackbelt Leaders sacrificed time, and their families money, and they worked hard, focused and commited to their goal- and sometimes even made the decision to continue working towards their goal even while their friends were off playing or taking it easy, or even quit-

it took me over 20 years to become an overnight success.

 

that’s Shihan Harley in this pic of my grand opening in 2000. Tyler Emerick, Liann Linsmier and Heather Johnson also went on to become Blackbelts.

 

Krav Maga Martial Arts is a successful martial arts academy doing amazing work in our community, and it has been for some time.

But, as all great things do, it started as just an idea- the Vision and Mission in my mind after I exited military service at the turn of this century. 😉

Today’s TBT isn’t even about the Vision or Mission though, but about the hardship.

 

To fully explain this one story, one of many if I were taking the time to talk about the hard times, I have to go back to my service In Germany in the early ’90’s.

I was commissioned as a 2nd Lt in the US Army in 1992.

I spent a few months in Tacoma Washington before deploying overseas, but my first real leadership position was with the 3rd Infantry Division in Kitzingen Germany.

 

The relevant part of this story is that I bought my first Harley Davidson motorcycle, an aqua pearl and silver Fatboy whom I name Shula, and rode her all over Europe.

Shula and I made memories in Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Amsterdam and more.

Riding was my recreation and recharge activity when I wasn’t on mission- still is today.

 

Needless to say, I LOVED Shula.

In October of 2000 I opened my first martial arts academy (dojo) in a little 1,000 square foot room that had been a computer store before me.

There are of course many other stories I could tell about this era of time, including our successes, and including when we learned.

But then our country as a whole, and my business in particular, went through a hard time. I’m not even going to go into which of the many disasters of the last 20 years it was.

Just suffice it to say that we were having a very hard time.

This was just a few years into living my passion and purpose through the KMMA mission.

We were way behind on the rent and struggling.

 

I could have done what people do when they’re that far down and out.

I could quit.

 

Somehow, though, I knew that what we were doing was too important. In retrospect, I give the glory to God.

He’s been directing my steps since long before I knew that.

But somehow I knew that I was doing what I was called to do, and that one day KMMA was going to be a great success.

I knew we could make a meaningful impact on families in our community and that we would produce Blackbelts that would be happy, focused, respectful, disciplined and confident leaders that would make a positive impact too!

I knew I had a mission and I knew I couldn’t quit.

 

So I sold the only valuable thing that I had to buy the time to make it.

I sold Shula.

I was able to catch up the rent and dig into my foxhole and work longer and harder with more focus than ever before.

After all, as is always the case for all of us, I knew “if it’s to be, it’s up to me”.

 

I am exceedingly grateful that God did bless that sacrifice and, many years later Krav Maga Martial Arts is thriving, had produced so many great leaders, and continues to grow and improve every day.

While it was a sad decision to sell Shula, it wasn’t a hard one.

I knew what I had to do.

Sacrifice is like that when you have a big why.

 

Sensei Winston circa 2011 or so

 

I don’t know if I should tell you about that Veteran’s Day, when I sat in my tub reflecting (and kind of sulking if truth be told); but I guess I just did.

So I’m not saying it was easy.

I’m just saying it was worth it.

 

Today I lead a great leadership development academy that also happens to teach the most practical self defense in the world.

I am training up our next generation of leaders to grow our mission even farther.

And I continue to grow too.

In fact I am off to Annapolis today to train leadership with some friends- some martial arts leaders and some US Naval Academy instructors and senior officers, including CPT Cao who is not only a decorated Naval Officer and leader, but also grew up in Grand Master Smith’s academy.

We’re a family of leaders growing leaders.

 

But back to my sad story about Shula.

A few years ago, after I’d long since recovered from the challenge of that time and had another Harley,

my friend Bud contacted me to tell me he was going to sell Shula.

You see, Bud was the father of another one of my Blackbelts, William Dail.

He and his wife, Micki, had bought her (Shula) in large part because they too believed in my mission and believed in me.

And I was able to buy her back.

Shula is the beauty sitting in front of the other beauty (my dojo) in the picture at the top of this story.

 

Today I’m grateful for Shula, for my dojo and Team, for all of you and for all the great KMMA Blackbelt Leaders, past, present and future, who help make our Vision and Mission a reality today!

 

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
TampaKravMaga.com
ShihanSteve.com
p.s. I worked hard to try and find the album that would have pics of Shula and I riding in Europe but to no avail- and none of those are digitized yet. When I do, i’ll get someone to scan them and share them with you!
  Shihan Diego circa 2014 krav camp. Shihan Harley and Shihan Carolyn in the background too!

Fall 2021 Blackbelt Leadership Retreat & Krav Camp September 24-26

Fall Krav Camp (this is krav camp 26!) make sure you’re in the TBT of this one in a few years!

FALL 2021 BLACKBELT EXRAVAGANZA

 

 

 

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TampaKravMaga.com 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.

Also, check us out on Fun4TampaKids & on Go2Karate.com

 

 

Winner Wednesday Honors Sheriff David Clarke

I usually write about someone specifically in our community, but this man’s words are so spot on in this quote, that I had to share them and Winner Wednesday seemed as good a time as any.

The Blackbelt Leader Foundational Superpowers that I teach in my school and explain in my book are: FOCUS, RESPECT, DISCIPLINE, CONFIDENCE, GRATITUDE AND VISION.

While Sheriff Clarke really illuminates the deficiency of Respect today, I feel that his words speak to the rarity of all of them.

It’s one of the reasons I coined these essential attributes “superpowers”- not everyone has them, but those that do and wield them properly accomplish superhuman things, for themselves and for humanity.

 

     “It’s not the police who need to be retrained, it’s the public. We have grown into a mouthy, mobile phone wielding, vulgar, uncivil society with no personal responsibility and the attitude of ‘it’s the other person’s fault, you owe me’. A society where children grow up with no boundaries or knowledge or concern for civil society and personal responsibility.
     When an officer says “Put your hands up,” then put your hands up! Don’t reach for something in your pocket, your lap, your seat. There’s plenty of reason for a police officer to feel threatened, there have been multiple assaults and ambushes on police officers lately. Comply with requests from the officer, have your day in court. Don’t mouth off, or fight, or refuse to comply… that escalates the situation.
Police officers are our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters. They’re black, white, brown, all colors, all ethnicities, all faiths, male and female, they are us. They see the worst side of humanity… the raped children, the bloody mangled bodies of traffic victims, the bruised and battered victims of domestic violence, homicide victims, body parts… day after day.
They work holidays while we have festive meals with our families. They miss school events with their kids, birthdays, anniversaries, all those special occasions that we take for granted. They work in all types of weather, under dangerous conditions, for relatively low pay.
They have extensive training, but they are human. When there are numerous attacks on them, they become hyper vigilant for a reason, they have become targets. When a police officer encounters any person… any person, whether at a traffic stop, a street confrontation, an arrest, whatever… that situation has the potential to become life threatening. You, Mr & Mrs/Miss Civilian, also have the responsibility of keeping the situation from getting out of control.
     Many law enforcement officers are Veterans. They’ve been in service to this nation most of their lives, whether on the battlefield or protecting us here at home. They are the only thing that stands between us and anarchy in the streets.
If you want to protect your child, teach them respect.”

 

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TampaKravMaga.com 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.

Also, check us out on Fun4TampaKids & on Go2Karate.com

 

KMMA adult karate

Team Tuesday: The Rise of Sensei Sarah

Today’s Team Tuesday is about our beloved Head Instructor, Sensei Sarah.

Every student loves Sensei Sarah.

She’s confident and competent, sweet and compassionate, and fun to be around.

Sensei Sarah, like all success stories has, well, a story.

She wasn’t always the happy, confident Blackbelt Leader you see before you today.

Sarah started with KMMA in September of 2013. She was 13.

 

In Sensei Sarah’s own words:

“At age 13 my self esteem was at an all time low but over the years as I took classes, tested for ranks, and got stronger, I could see the result of the hard work both physically and mentally. As a little kid I had always wanted to be a ninja and I was finally fulfilling that dream.”

 

Sensei Sarah began teaching with Team KMMA as a Certified Blackbelt in 2018, the same year she graduated High School as the Valedictorian of her class!

She continues to excel in her personal training in the Blackbelt classes and on her Path To Mastery!

She earned her 2nd Degree Blackbelt Leader in September 2020 and will be testing for her 3rd Degree, Senior Blackbelt, in September 2022, a year early for all the extra hours she puts in both training and teaching!

 

Sensei Sarah loves teaching! In fact, when she’s not helping us train up the next generation of Blackbelt Leaders at KMMA, she teaches guitar, piano, ukulele, creative writing, storytelling and PE for elementary kids!

Sensei Sarah is also an award winning poet and working on publishing her first book.

 

I am super proud of and grateful for Sensei Sarah on Team KMMA.

I’m proud of how far she’s come and excited for her as she continues to grow.

She is an inspiration for all, but especially all the little girls who look up to her knowing that they too can be a great Blackbelt Leader like her one day!

 

Sensei Sarah, the once awkward teen with low self esteem has transformed into a superhero.

” Both my mental health and physical health have been greatly affected by my time here. My body is stronger; I can defend myself if need be, I run races and enjoy other methods of physical conditioning.

My mind is stronger and this gives me the strength to do the things I felt incapable of doing before.”

 

She’s Prepared To Live and Empowered To Lead!

 

Way to lead Sensei!

Proud of you!

 

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

TampaKravMaga.com

ShihanSteve.com

 

 

———————————————————————————————————————-

TampaKravMaga.com 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.

Also, check us out on Fun4TampaKids & on Go2Karate.com

 

Turning Limitations into Motivation

Early into my 200 mile moving meditation yesterday, I had this one, which became the topic of this morning’s writing.

I know it is a very useful one to me in my own leadership development; and I believe it will be the same to you.

The meditation is this: Every limitation that we face has in it the seed of accomplishment. It is our job to turn the limitation into motivation, and even inspiration.

 

A perfect example, which was really the catalyst of this thought pattern, was when I found myself with a limitation of team members well trained to perform certain tasks recently.

To be clear, since I run a Blackbelt Leadership Academy that raises up leaders and teachers, neither was the deficiency, but there were certain other mission essential tasks that were being left unmanned.

 

My first instinct was to start stepping in and doing many of the things myself.

Then I remembered, with the help of my mentors, that this action would be the very thing that would limit me from doing everything that I need to do as the leader of the organization to ensure that we continue to prosper and grow.

So I decided instead to hire, train and develop more dream team, and to make that task the #1 priority amongst my daily leadership priorities.

 

Immediately that good choice begets more seemingly serendipitous developments and our systems and team building is stronger even than it was before.

 

On the ride yesterday, I realized that all of this began because I decided to turn my limitation into motivation, which then led to inspiration.

I then realized that we, you and I, can apply this same process to ALL of our limitations!

It’s an exciting development that changes everything, really, assuming that you are willing to accept the possibility- that YOU can use this simple paradigm shift to improve your world;

and that you know how to do it.

 

The prior caveat is to you to decide, but the latter is simple and I’ll teach you right here and now.

Simply ask better questions.

 

Instead of I’m the only one that can do that (and then “why do I always end up in this situation”, “why does this always happen to me” or some other weak questions), ask:

Who can I train to do this, to standard, and how fast?

 

Instead of “I can’t afford that”, ask “how can I afford that?”

Instead of “I can’t do that, ask “how can I do that?”

Instead of “I’m not like that (in the case of a desirable trait that doesn’t come to you naturally), ask “what do I have to learn, what must I believe and what could I do to become like that?”

Instead of “I don’t know how to do that”, ask “who could teach me to do that?”

 

There is always a question that you can ask for any situation that you find yourself in.

Admittedly, as I have earlier alluded, you can ask the wrong questions. “Why me” type of questions are always useless and do more damage than good.

But when you learn to ask empowering questions, you set your subconscious mind in motion to give you the answers.

And then, the powers that be come together to bless you, making your subsequent action fruitful and even creating serendipity to aid your way in both answering your new and better questions and turning the answers into realities.

 

What limitations are keeping you from realizing your dreams and goals?

What questions do you need to ask to change that?

How can we help?

This last question is an optional, but not rhetorical one. Remember that my team and I are here to help empower you towards the accomplishment of your greatest goals. It’s what we do.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

     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
TampaKravMaga.com
ShihanSteve.com


 

Did You See My 9/11 Presentation?

  Here It Is If Not.


 

It’s Level Up Time At KMMA!

  Sept 13-18 is Stripe Test Week!

  • Yellow Belts and above must have 5 Character Leadership Stripes and 3 Performance Stripes To Test for Belt Next Week.
  • White Belts may test with 3 and 2.
  • You will also initial off on your test form for next week this week.
  • All students should make at least 2 classes.

 Sept 20-23 is Belt Testing for Under Blackbelts.

  • All eligible students may test for promotion in their second class this week.
  • All students testing must attend two days.
  • All students who pass will receive their report card plus new belt and certificate at The Blackbelt Extravaganza Sept 26.

 

Sept 24-26 is The Blackbelt Retreat! 

  note: There will be no classes this weekend, but you can join the excitement Saturday by registering for Krav Camp!  All levels, including first time beginners, are welcome!

Sept 26 is The Blackbelt Extravaganza, Where We Celebrate Our Success And Cast Our Vision!

 

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TampaKravMaga.com 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.

Also, check us out on Fun4TampaKids & on Go2Karate.com