Going over some inspirational Bruce Lee quotes can help to develop the right mentality for martial arts and change your life. Bruce Lee is widely regarded as the most influential martial artist to ever live and one of the greatest pop culture icons of the 20th century. Born in Chinatown, San Francisco in 1940, Lee’s martial arts philosophy was ahead of his time, and many credits him for the emergence of sports like mixed martial arts because of how vocal he was about martial artists not restricting themselves to learning only one style.
14 Bruce Lee Quotes That Will Make You a Better Martial Artist
Martial artists around the world look to Bruce Lee as a source of inspiration and guidance. From his incredible physique to his tremendous work ethic and deep wisdom, there are many reasons why martial artists use his philosophies as a guide to living life.
If you’re looking for advice that will help your progression as a martial artist and change your life, going over some of Bruce Lee’s quotes is an excellent place to start. Let’s go over some of his more memorable ones:
1) Be happy, but never satisfied.
Being satisfied is tantamount to giving up. It is admitting that you’re alright with just being good, but not great. Yes, we should accept the things that we cannot change, but we should also be striving to improve every day. By being satisfied, we are making an excuse for not working hard to improve.
2) Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.
This is perhaps one of Bruce Lee’s most famous quotes. Water has many attributes. It is fluid and it flows anywhere, changing direction and shape as required. To be like water is to be adaptable to our surroundings. We cannot be too steadfast in our ways because it may hinder us from acquiring new knowledge and experiences.
This is the mindset that ultimately led to Lee train in different martial arts styles. Thinking one style is better than all others is a dangerous way for martial artists to think. There are no perfect styles, every one of them has its pros and cons. Don’t get complacent when you’ve mastered one fighting style. Instead, think deeply about its weaknesses and train another style that addresses them.
For example, if you’ve earned a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you shouldn’t think you know everything you need to know about fighting because chances are you don’t. BJJ doesn’t teach any strikes, so a better approach would be to start training in Boxing, Muay Thai, or Dutch Kickboxing.
3) Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.
We are all human, and we are all bound to make mistakes at some point in our lives. No matter how big the mistake is, there is always a chance to make it right. We should not be afraid to confess when we have done something wrong and accept the consequences of our actions. We should have the courage to own up to our mistakes and focus our energy on learning from them.
4) When you’re talking about fighting, as it is, with no rules, well then, baby you’d better train every part of your body!
This quote applies specifically to people who are training primarily for self-defense. Real fights are nasty with no rules so you want to be as well-rounded as possible and train for infinite possibilities. For example, an extremely technically skilled martial artist who’s out of shape won’t be able to defend themselves as well as one who is equally skilled and in excellent shape. Likewise, a skilled martial artist who has limited sparring experience might not perform well in a self-defense situation.
To prepare yourself for real combat, you can’t afford to neglect any part of your training. You must sharpen your technique, strengthen your body, and prepare for dirty techniques or weapons you might encounter in the real world.
5) The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.
This quote couldn’t be more true despite the popular misconception that great fighters are born not made. The truth is you don’t have to be an impressive physical specimen to become an excellent martial artist. Anyone can become a great martial artist by simply being dedicated to their training.
Bruce Lee himself wasn’t born with any impressive physical abilities. At 172cm and only 64kg, most people would describe him as a small man if they walked past him on a street. However, Lee transformed himself into one of the most physically impressive martial artists by being committed to his martial arts training, and strength and conditioning routine. His physique was just as impressive as his martial arts prowess. He even came back from a nagging back injury that could have left him stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Always keep this in mind if you decide to train martial arts, many of the best martial artists are regular people who decided to dedicate their lives to training like ONE Flyweight World Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. You don’t have to be the biggest, strongest, or fastest to excel.
6) I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
Here’s another one of the more popular Bruce Lee quotes. Martial artists shouldn’t prioritise learning as many techniques as possible since they are unlikely to master any. Instead, they should focus on mastering all the techniques they know before moving on to new ones.
Knowing a bunch of techniques won’t help you much in a fight if you can’t even use them correctly. That man who practiced one kick 10,000 times has most likely perfected it to the point it only takes him throwing it once during a fight to win.
Watch high-level martial artists competing against each other, and you’ll quickly notice they have a handful of techniques they mostly use. These are their best techniques that they know will work on anyone regardless of their skill level due to how often they practice them.
Practice and patience are everything, especially if you want to become successful in martial arts. To become an expert at anything requires steadfast commitment, laser sharp focus, and countless repetition. Dedicate yourself to becoming the very best at what you do.
7) To take responsibility for one’s own actions, good and bad, is something else.
This quote applies to all aspects of life, not just martial arts. Being accountable for your actions is one of the most essential things for growth in any aspect of life. Martial artists can’t afford to make excuses for themselves since it restricts their growth.
For example, losing at a tournament and blaming external factors for your loss doesn’t do you any favours. Instead, you should evaluate things you might have done wrong that hindered your performance, like not training seriously leading up to it. Acknowledging these things is what allows you to continually grow.
8) I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.
As human beings, we often strive to please others. We want validation and acceptance from our peers because our ego tells us that this is what we need. Stop listening to your ego and focus on getting validation from the person that matters the most – yourself. Set your own expectations and remember what an amazing human being you are! Not only will this give you an incredible confidence boost, but it will also make you realize that you can do whatever you want in life.
9) Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
In a time when everyone’s lives are plastered on social media for the world to see, it can be difficult to stay true to yourself and not become a victim of a popularity contest. Thanks to social media, it is just that much easier to emulate celebrities, bloggers, or even people in our social circle. Unfortunately, we end up losing ourselves in the process. Being your true self is so much easier – you won’t have to work so hard trying to be someone that you’re not.
10) The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.
We often decide not to take risks because we are afraid of the outcome. But what if we decided to ignore that little voice inside our head telling us “no” and embraced a leap of faith instead? By doing so, we are living life to the fullest. We are savoring every moment while making life truly memorable. Go on, enjoy!
11) To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.
Sometimes, we get too caught up with waiting for the perfect moment to start something. The time will NEVER be perfect. Instead of waiting, why not take a chance and make things happen yourself? Even if it is easier to sit around and be reactive, why not be more proactive? Don’t ever be afraid to take chances!
12) If you don’t want to slip up tomorrow, speak the truth today.
Ever since we were young, our parents have always told us that honesty is the best policy. This is one of the single greatest pieces of advice you will ever receive. Being honest with yourself and others is always the best option. Honesty builds trust, and trust is the foundation of every meaningful relationship.
13) A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.
Nothing good ever happens when tempers flare. When you lose your temper, you become irrational. You are more likely to act out of impulse. At this point, you probably aren’t even thinking straight, and how you react may turn into something that you will eventually regret. Instead of losing your temper, why not count to three (yes, that actually works) and reflect on the situation before you react.
14) If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.
Martial artists should never place limitations on themselves regarding their training and all other aspects of their lives. Some people never even make it to the dojo despite having a strong desire to train simply because they have convinced themselves they won’t be able to keep up with training.
You can’t think like that as a martial artist. Some techniques might seem too difficult when your instructor breaks them down for the first time, but there’s always a way to master them if you’re willing to put in the work. This applies to your approach toward strength and conditioning as well.
For example, if you routinely find yourself getting physically overpowered while training, allocate more time for strength and conditioning so you can keep up with your training partners instead of simply accepting the fact that they’re stronger than you are.
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