Blog Martial Arts

The Power of the After-Action Review (AAR)

Of all the great leadership techniques and tools that I learned while in the Army, one of the greatest is the After Action Review (AAR).

The After Action Review is conducted after every operation to review the plan, what really happened, what went well and what didn’t.

The AAR allows us to put structure and execution to our leadership principle of Constant and Never Ending Improvement (CANI).

Contrary to the popular misnomers on this subject, neither practice nor experience is sufficient for true improvement- only evaluated experience is.


When combined with the other leadership principles and techniques of our Blackbelt Leadership program and process, the AAR allows us to ascertain what we did well, what needs improvement and, perhaps most importantly, where we failed and what lessons learned we can take-away to ensure that never happens again.


The process, well applied, is always useful, sometimes painful, but always educational.

It is useful for an individual, and for every organization.


I was going to share with you some of my lessons learned and take-aways from one of my recent events, but have decided not to; I’ll reserve that for the Team.

But I will tell you this.

We practice all that we teach, and this tool is no exception.


We had an amazing event celebrating our 21st Birthday of the dojo (our martial arts and leadership development academy) and many great leaders praised the Team and I, the dojo, our process, growth and development, how much we have improved in the 21 years and how many lives we have positively affected, the consistency in our teaching style and system, and more.


I was moved, grateful and inspired by their amazing speeches.

And most of all, as is my nature, I was reflective.

I was reflective about all of the victories and defeats, lessons learned and deliberate improvement that had paved the way for them to observe and say such things.

I thought about the many AARs that have helped us build upon our greatest moments, and from our biggest mistakes.

Shortly after the event, I began my own AAR of the event itself, and I will finish that with my Team later today.


In closing, I’ll say this. In whatever you are doing that’s worth doing better, apply the AAR.

Take time in reflection, alone or better yet with others who share in the mission, to scrutinize the good, the bad and the ugly in everything you do.

This is how CANI happens for KMMA, and it’s how it can for you too.

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

Some Pics From Our 21 Year Celebration This Past Weekend! 


Come Train with Grand Master Jeff Smith, 10th Degree Blackbelt, 7x World Kickboxing Champion & My Mentor

      Friday November 12 & Saturday Nov 13th

Details to follow, but get it on your schedule!

This too is another KMMA Blackbelt Leadership event at NO COST for my students!


 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