The Big 3 Secrets of Success

I was borne on a little pig farm to a father with a 6th grade education.

We were poor, really poor. Not like 3rd world poor but like seasons without electricity poor, and definitely being made fun of for the way we dressed poor.

Once a year we would slaughter pigs for the holidays. My father would sell some and we would have some for the noche buena feast.

Around that time of year, when we were eating so well, my sister and I (when we were very young of course) would look at each other and say “we’re rich again”… and a few months later when we were eating rice and fried egg (which incidentally would be a comfort food to me today if it were not for the carb count- but that’s another story 🙂 we would look at each other and say “we’re poor again”.

It was cute in retrospect.

And I am proud and grateful that we were still raised by two loving parents that were doing their best.

I am especially grateful to my mother who not only always found a way for us, but even found a way to get me into karate at 13, when I really needed it for various reasons that are yet another story…

and to this day I’m not sure how she found a way to afford it (especially without my father knowing- another story too).


Higher education was not only not “in the cards” but once I spoke about going to college and was asked “who do you think you are?”  by my father.

We got back to shoveling from the piles of dirt that would get dropped on our little farm by his friends who were digging pools. They got a place to dump it for free and he thought that raising the land by doing so would add to its value.


Anyways, I share all this just to illustrate the simple fact that we came from humble beginnings.

And, while I am certainly not saying I have somehow “arrived”, I am saying that I have not only experienced some personal success but, a fact that I am even more proud of, have been able to sow into thousands of lives over the last 23 years and producing many confident and competent Blackbelt Leaders.


I would even argue that many of the challenges I faced in youth and subsequently for others reasons that are yet another story have contributed not only to my personal quest but to the design of my Blackbelt Leadership Program and curriculum at Krav Maga Martial Arts.

But, for the purposes of this blog, I just want to share what I believe are the 3 “secrets” that have helped me the most, to become the leader that I needed to to help others become the leaders they want to (and that their parents do).


1. I fell in love with reading early, and became what we call in my leadership program a “life-long learner”. In. transparency, reading was an escape for me as a child- it took me away from what was the what could be. I loved especially great stories about the hero’s journey and the characters lifting themselves out of obscurity and into greatness! Later, I fell in love with personal and professional development, which has been my passion for over 30 years now, and a big part of my Blackbelt Leadership Program.

2. To this day I have a huge advantage over competitors and others (secret #2 and don’t tell anyone). I apply what I learn as soon as I learn it and forward until I learn something better. As Aristotle said, “knowledge without action is useless”. (my undergraduate degree is on Philosophy- funny how this “irelevant degree” has served me so well in my career as Chief Master Instructor of a Blackbelt Leadership Academy, but this too is another story…)  It always amazes me how some of the people also in course where I learn things don’t get to applying the things- at least not with the quickness and sense of urgency that I learned while a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. I am so grateful for that chapter in my life too… but that’s another story.

3. The third secret is really a combination of 6- the 6 “Blackbelt Superpowers”that I wrote about in my first book. You can learn more about that and other things related to me and my author journey at but, for now, allow me to share that the foundational Blackbelt Superpowers are Focus, Respect, Discipline, Confidence, Gratitude and Vision.

I chose these as the foundations because I believe they have helped propel me, and because I believe they are foundational to anyone’s success at anything they are called to do. Incidentally, chapter 7 is about discovering your own superpower– that which you are gifted with for the purpose of fulfilling your own unique calling in the world. The introduction and early development of the 6 foundational Blackbelt Superpowers are also the “secret” to my Basic Training students qualifying for and starting the Blackbelt Leadership program by the way.


So there it is, my big 3 secrets of success. Now you know exactly how my team and I strive to develop Blackbelt Leadership Excellence in all our our students at KMMA. 

Of course we don’t always succeed- some never start and some never finish.


But here’s what I know, and can guarantee- those that do are prepared and empowered.

Prepared to survive and thrive in any situation, and empowered to lead, where they’re at and into their future.


That’s my 7th Superpower by the way, developing confident and competent Blackbelt leaders.


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Begin your Blackbelt Leadership journey, for you or your kids, or both! 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.

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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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