The Twenty Best Martial Arts Quotes of All Time

Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Gandhi

Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.
~ Mohandas Gandhi

The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards.
~ William Francis Butler

He who is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.
~ Ben Jonson

The weakest of all weak things is a virtue that has not been tested in the fire.
~ Mark Twain

Courage first; power second; technique third.
~ Author unknown

Boxer Joe Louis
Joe Louis

Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.
~ Joe Louis

Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.
~ Matsu Basho

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe.
~ John Milton

That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Of old the expert in battle would first make himself invincible and then wait for his enemy to expose his vulnerability.
~ Sun Tzu

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.
~ Bruce Lee

Plato and Aristotle
Plato and Aristotle

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
~ Aristotle

A warrior may choose pacifism; others are condemned to it.
~ Author unknown

I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger.
~ Mencius

Don’t hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit softly.
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Should you desire the great tranquility, prepare to sweat.
~ Hakuin

Cry in the dojo. Laugh on the battlefield.
~ Author unknown

In times of peace, the warlike man attacks himself.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

There are two rules for being successful in martial arts. Rule 1: Never tell others everything you know.
~ Author unspecified

What are your favorite martial arts quotations?


  1. strike first strike hard and never stop.

    there is always a weakness just make sure you can find it when it appears.

    these are my 2 favorites i don’t know who they are from but

  2. “The heart of the study of boxing is to have natural instinct resemble the dragon.” Wang Xiang Zhai

    “Begin at the beginning,” the King said, gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
    Lewis Carroll

    “This present continuous practice is nothing other than just that, just committing oneself to continuous practice for no other reason than to practice continuously.” -Dogen in “Continuous Practice”
    (Translation by Francis Dojun Cook in the book “How To Raise an Ox”)

    “Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you.”


    Fish traps are for catching fish. When you’ve caught the fish, you can forget about the fish trap. Rabbit snares are for catching rabbits. When you’ve caught the rabbit, you can forget about the snare. Words are for catching ideas. When you’ve caught the idea, you can forget about the words.

    ZhuangZi Chapter 26
    “Philosophy practiced is the goal of learning.”

    Sorry, I couldn’t stop at just one.

  3. I’ve got a few:

    “The best part of falling is getting back up again.” -David Belle

    “Persistence is the twin sister of excellence.
    One is a matter of quality; the other a matter of time.”

    “Don’t ask for it; go win it on your own. Do that and you’ll succeed.”

    “There is no superiority or inferiority of style, only the distinctions between the practitioners.”

    “Every boxer fights to his own music, it provides him with the rhythm for his footwork.”

    “Control yourself, let others do what they will.
    This does not mean you are weak.
    Control your heart, obey the principles of life.
    This does not mean others are stronger.” -Southern Dragon Style Motto

    Me: “It’s just stir fry.”
    KDG: “Ah, Thomas’s approach to life.”
    Me: “Just toss in what you’ve got and hope for the best.”

  4. Thomas, do you practice Parkour?
    mm… I’m eating stir fry right now… bac choy, carrots, onions, apples, pears, blueberries, bell peppers, etc…

    Collecting quotes is sort of a hobby of mine. Not all are about Martial Arts but here are some that are:

    “The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.” -The Dhammapada

    “There is no avoiding war, it can only be postponed to the advantage of your enemy.” -Niccolo Machiavelli

    “The greatest enemy will always hide in the last place you would ever look.” -Julius Ceasar

    “When the opponent expands, I contract. When he contracts, I expand. And when there is an opportunity… I do not hit… [raises his fist] it hits all by itself.” -Bruce Lee

    “I shall give you a brief taste of death, so that you may recognize it when it comes again.” -unknown

    “Pain is not judgmental, people are.” -me

    “‘Stamp quickly and pass through a wall of iron…'” -Yamamoto Tsunetomo

    “There are few people who will make mistakes with fire after having once been burned.” -Yamamoto Tsunetomo

    “If you change the rules on what controls you… you will change the rules on what you can control.” -Guy Ritchie

    I tried to pick my favorites.

  5. sorry, one more:

    “You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.” -Charlie Parker

    I originally heard it as something like: “First master your instrument, than just play.”

    You get the idea.

  6. John Jr.,

    Yes, I practice a bit of parkour, although I don’t have the time to go out and practice as often as I’d like. If you’re looking to pick it up, I can try pointing you in the right direction.

  7. I already do Parkour, but thanks for the offer.

    Here’s another quote:

    “Embrace the pain, and you will win this game.” -Guy Ritchie

  8. “The Blind seem weak, until fought in the dark”-me
    “War does not determine who is right; it determines who is left”-Author unknown
    “Either war is obsolete or men are”- R. Buckminster Fuller
    “Philosophies of war are useless when under fire”-Unknown Author
    “When you accept pain, never forget to also give it out”-me

  9. “When you feel pain, you know that you are still alive.”-Bruce Lee

    “First you have to be hit to know how to defend.”-unknown

    “Pain is your friend. It shows you that you made a mistake.”-me

    “Patience is your great friend. It helps you to accomplish what you want.”-me

    “Train hard to fight soft.”-me

    “Using no way as way, having no limitations as limitation.”-Bruce Lee

    “Warn your opponent with look and then with fist.”-me

    “Difference between man who can see and hear and smell and man who is blind is that blind man sees, hears, smells and feels.”-me

    “Those who strive to learn quick will be those who will learn last.”-me

    “Honour is something that can be taken or lost and never regained”-me

    “When you take life to your opponent, you become a criminal. When you humiliate your opponent with winning over him, you gave such a blow that can not be compared to punch or kick.”-me

    “There is no great fighter.You build your own.”-me

    “Do not learn one thing.Learn many to know what to use in certain situations.”-me

    “Fearful will hide. Fearless will fight.”-me

    “When you are young, fight power with power. When you are old, fight power with energy.”-me

    “Training is your life.Lazines is your enemy.”-me

    “Faith and hope will drive you to rise up.”-me

  10. i was bored so made some up on the spot lol

    having a fight
    watching the fight
    starting the fight
    will not open doors
    wining is the key…me

    to follow
    to become
    to teach
    dont be your self
    be better…me

    if you dont fear me you are stupid…me

    the way of the fist is your way of life…me

    be it feel it but dont fear

    power and speed will go but my mind will stay internal

    i am i will i was i still i wish i would i might i FIGHT…me

    power and greed is not right but power and greed will be the only thing left…me

    im not strong im not fast im not a very good fighter
    but i have never loss a fight
    the stongest muscle is the heart…me

    i am the best
    i am the king
    i am god
    then i wake up
    and i am
    be better
    push your self
    become the best
    be the best
    and beat the
    by becomeing
    we can always be better
    this quto can be better
    better can be better …me

  11. hi

    here is a couple of my faves.

    ” pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living”- unknown

    ” Be more afraid of a army of sheep led by a wolf, then a army of wolves led by a sheep”

    “even though you hold a sword over my heart, i will not give up”.

    “everyone lies, even me”

    “when the student is ready, the master appears”- Buddhist proverb

    ” A good sword is left in its scabbard”

    “The use of a weapon Guarantees wear, tear and rust
    that’s a real waste”

    ” never give a sword to a man that can’t dance”

    ” Fighting is always last answer to problem” – Mr miyagi


  12. here is a quote i made up

    ” An injury in martial arts is much like wrecking on a bicycle as a child. You slowly build up the courage and ride better than before, or you never ride again.”

    ” The body does as the mind says”

    ” When your arms get sore from pushups, think of the arms as bones, bones dont become sore.”

    “What is power without the knowledge to use it.”

  13. One my sensei liked to use:

    “Pain is weakness leaving your body.”


  15. regarding post 13: tht doesn’t make sense because the muscles do the work, and they get sore. Thats like saying imagine water is money so when you need more just go turn on the faucet. The problem though is money isnt water so the incorrect premise led to an incoreect conclusion.

  16. “One becomes a beginner after 1000 days of training. One becomes a master after 10,000 days of practice.”

    -Master Mas Oyama-

  17. in every martial art
    there is always a bright day that
    full of happines, joy, and full of inspiration;
    on the contrary,
    some might feel lack of willingness to
    know what is right…

  18. “A Black Belt is a white belt that never gave up.”
    -Sa bam Nim Justin Taylor

  19. A teaher is like a big turkey he may have a lot of knowledge but if there is no knifes or forks whats the point of the turkey

  20. whats it to you to do 1,000 techniques once? now what would someone think of you for doing 1 technique 1,000 times.

  21. I asked Roy Goldburg “What do you think of a student that comes to martial arts classes everyday” He told me “There are 2 types of people that do that 1 is they justn want a belt 2 was they wanted t learn badly”

  22. If your in marial arts just for a black belt dont waste your money and time just go out and buy your self a black belt

  23. regarging post 17 saying about 13 that makes complete sense i dont know waht your thinking you dont know anything about Martial Arts at all!!!!!

  24. Ya! I dont know anything at all Naa naa nee boo boo! and there! LOL

  25. Regarding post 25 saying about 17 saying about 13. It would kind of make sense in the zen proverb sort of way except that bones do get sore.

    Also, it seems to me that many people are writing their own proverbs/poems and posting them here. I’m pretty sure this is about good quotes related to martial arts. A quote is a repetition of someone’s words. So, I suppose if you were to write a proverb and than rewrite it here it could technically be considered a quote but it shouldn’t be advertised as such. Especially if you just made it up.

    Example 1:
    “I am scary monster
    I have no fear.”

    I just made that up and it doesn’t really say anything worth caring about. It’s kind of boring actually.

    Example 2:
    “Moving heaven and earth without putting forth effort is simply a matter of concentration.” -Hagakure

    This example, on the other hand, was taken from a famous book about the Samurai. Since it is an idea which can be applied to the martial arts it is interesting to us. Not to mention the Samurai were heavily involved in martial arts training.

    So, no more boring quotes which are actually proverbs that you just made up. What am I saying? You can write whatever you want.

  26. to post 27 but i have never herd any one say my bones hurt and that guy even said he dont know what he is talking bout

  27. Re:28

    In younger people bone pain is often called growing pains.
    Causes of bone pain (from

    “Bone pain can occur with many injuries or conditions:

    * Cancer in the bones (primary malignancy)
    * Cancer that has spread to the bones (metastatic malignancy)
    * Disruption of blood supply (as in sickle cell anemia)
    * Infected bone (osteomyelitis)
    * Infection
    * Injury (trauma)
    * Leukemia
    * Loss of mineralization (osteoporosis)
    * Overuse
    * Toddler fracture (a type of stress fracture that occurs in toddlers)”

    Because of the strength of the muscle and tendon tissues it’s common for a bone to be stressed, or broken, before the muscle. Or if the muscle is being stressed it may also be stressing a bone which isn’t used to the force. Building muscles also builds bone density. These are just a couple examples of bone pain.

    The person named Thunderbird said he doesn’t know what he was talking about but the person who posted the quote about bone pain was someone named Randy.

  28. a martial art without pain is’nt a martial art – an old friend of mine

  29. post 30 thats ture and sign your making this to complicated were talking about martial arts its not health class

  30. I think it is a martial artist’s business to know all the ways a body can be injured, and protected. Martial arts is a health class.

  31. I found a new martial arts quote:

    “I think it is a martial artist’s business to know all the ways a body can be injured, and protected. Martial arts is a health class.” -Chris


    ‘Tis very true. Also, one more point on the bone thing; from my experience, bone pain (from overuse) is more like an ache.
    Health and martial arts do go hand in hand. I read something interesting about soldiers recently. Obviously they need to be fit and healthy to do what they do in battle but, their fitness is also very important for their survival in the event that they are captured. It’s not likely that a POW will receive treatment for infections or other illnesses when being held captive.
    This could be applied to anything and it could be called “preparedness”. The training of martial arts and maintenance of health are excellent preparedness practices.

    “In approaching for the attack he does not forget to wait for the right moment. In waiting for the right moment he never forgets to attack.” -Hagakure

  32. ^

    What I meant to put for my name was: *sigh* aka John Jr
    In other words… I’m no longer sighing. s)




  35. He who can best strike a blow in a boxing match or in any kind of fighting best able to ward off a blow.


  36. not so much a quote, as somthing bad ass to say lol

    “ever noticed, how you come across somebody once in a while, that you shouldn’t have fucked with?……..thats me” – Clint Eastwood

  37. Hey #35 NBC, unless you are calling Lao Tsu your friend, the quotes not original in that its in chapter 56 of the Tao Te Ching (about the 6th century BC).

    Here are my two favorite Bruce Lee quotes, sorry for the length:

    Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.

    Knowledge in martial arts actually means self-knowledge. A martial artist has to take responsibility for himself and accept the consequences of his own doing. The understanding of JKD is through personal feeling from movement to movement in the mirror of the relationship and not through a process of isolation. To be is to be related. To isolate is death. To me, ultimately, martial arts means honestly expressing yourself. Now, it is very difficult to do. It has always been very easy for me to put on a show and be cocky, and be flooded with a cocky feeling and feel pretty cool and all that. I can make all kinds of phoney things. Blinded by it. Or I can show some really fancy movement. But to experience oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly, now that is very hard to do.

    both from his “lost” Interview.

  38. never turn your back to a downd man he might ge up… me
    look beneffe the underneffe… kakashi hakata
    follow your own path in life becaues there is only second place for copycats… me
    dont hit to just hit your aponit hit to knock his ass out… me
    show fear and you well be broken… me
    have no emotions in a fight they only get in your way… me

  39. This should be changed from best “quotes” to best “sayings”. Or if the sayings are really good, best “aphorisms” or “gnomes” or maybe “mantras”. In the case of a self made aphorism I believe it is not necessary to add quotation marks. Then again I could be just making this all up.

    Here’s a QUOTE:
    “It is because he does not contend that no one in the empire is in a position to contend with him.” -Tao Te Ching

  40. To show your fighting stance is like showing an opponent your gun, these things are best kemp secret untill you plan to use it. – me

  41. To be countered is the greatest fear of a fighter, everything you throw at them comes back to hit you – me

  42. An empty barrel makes a loud noise.

    Bloody-mindedness will defeat skill on all occasions

  43. here are some of my favs: TAPOUT OR BLACKOUT,

  44. about post 45, i wouldn’t think that would be a good idea, a fight is like a game of chess, you must think before you strike, and the empty barrel makes the most noise, meaning yeah one might be louder than the other, but that’s probably all talk, just for show, the thing you should be worried is a fighter with composure, more composure means less room for mistakes, example, Kimbo Slice vs Seth Petruzelli or Brock Lesner vs. Frank Mir, in both cases, the bigger guy that was more eager to fight loss within the 1st minute

  45. The Empty barrel quote means that the people who boast the most are usually the ones that don’t have anything inside them to fight with.

    It’s hard to not get hurt when you have someone attacking you with the single idea of killing you on his mind.

  46. well yeah, thats what i said, but as for the fighting a person whose only idea is killing you, its not just about thinking it, its thinking HOW you are going to do it, not just attacking to kill

  47. “Those who beat their swords into plowshares will end up plowing for those who did not.” ~Anonymous

  48. “A black belt is just a dirty, over used white belt.” – unknown

  49. Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.


    Always two there are, no more, no less: a master and an apprentice.
    — Yoda

  50. he who fights with fear fights to lose, he who fights with courage fights to triumpth

  51. A true martial artist always has his/her head held high and looking anyone and everyone in their faces no matter who it is. Also, their body language says, “This is me.” And everyday, they strive to do better at whatever it is that they study. (Basicly my attitude)

  52. got a couple u guys mite like…

    ‘if you ever cross me youll get crossed out’
    (lyrics to a song that i cant remember)

    to fight is to breath for a fighter, to defend is a life time of work for a sensai…so who are you? -chrissy

    fight with words then fists -chrissy

  53. fighting not good daniel-son some body always get hurt
    -the karate kid

  54. The cat tought the tiger how to fight, but when the tiger turned on the cat, the cat climbed up a tree. That is the one secret the cat didn’t teach the tiger.

  55. “A friend should always underestimate your virtues and an enemy overestimate your faults”
    — Mario Puzo (The Godfather)

  56. One must disregard all incoming stimuli & be focused only on the iscolated problem in order to swiftly react in eliminating accordingly. (c)HK

  57. You learn nothing about someone by the way they win the fight, you learn everything about the way loose and keep coming back!

  58. power goes where energy flows, focus throughout your technique, strike with maximum efficiency but minimal effort, waste no energy, concentrate on the end product not what gets you there

  59. “In Bushido, if a warrior goes into battle with the knowledge that he will die…then he will not. If he is unsure…he will surely die” — Japanese proverb

  60. My favorite quote from a Krav Maga teacher in NYC Matan Gavish:
    It’s not about winning or losing – it’s about winning!

  61. Here’s one I saw at the beginning of Revolver
    “There is no avoiding war. War can only be postponed to the advantage of your opponent.”
    ~Niccolò Machiavelli

  62. Revolver is one of my favorite films and I actually already put that quote up there. Did you see the European version or the American version? Apparently a lot of people didn’t get it (or didn’t try) so they dumbed it down for us Americans; and ultimately ruined the entire story (in my humble opinion). I assume Guy Ritchie wrote the script so I attributed some other quotes to him as well.

    Machiavelli is certainly worth reading. He’s next on my list.

  63. Bertrand Russell is to be credited for the quote “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.”

  64. I noticed a couple of remarks about people putting their own sayings on here instead of quoting from some ancient teaching. At one point in history, someone wrote those quotes for the first time. Some of the most important quotes to me, never made sense to anyone else I knew. What was important was that they made sense to me. I believe it is the individual who hears, reads, feels, that does the learning. I’ve met street fighters who have never had a lick of martial arts lessons that were every bit as tough as black belts I have sparred. Granted, the teacher can make the path more visible, but ultimately, it’s the student who learns. Why would someone spend there time critisizing someone else (granted, like I’m doing now) than learning whatever they can, filtering out what doesn’t work for them. I’d rather see or hear a hundred retarded sayings just to not miss that one thing that may be life altering, than to discourage people from speaking at all. I have learned some of my most important sparring lessons from beginners. I have been struck by attacks that I would have never have thought possible. Until someone who didn’t know any better hit me. Not to say that anyone here doesn’t know what they are talking about. Just an illustration. I don’t claim to be a great martial artist by any means, I just know that some of my greatest accomplishments came from being open to everything, and doing things that others said couldn’t be done, or that it wasn’t the proper way to do it. When people tell me I’m doing it wrong, I tell them to prove it to me. If they can’t prove it in application, then they haven’t proven anything to me, and I’ll continue to do it wrong until it’s defeated, or I find even a better way.

  65. If only you knew he who your comment is directed at.
    I have discovered that simply being open and accepting of everything ultimately fatigues analytical thought. So, instead, I try more to develop an opinion and test it, as you have said, rather than simply go with it. It’s through testing that we find results. The problem with proof however, is that the ideal sense of the word is actually impossible. For, unless we know all of the events forward and backward in time we can never have proof. And we could not prove that we had such knowledge if it were possible; and so on. Instead proof is merely a widely accepted thought, or paradigm. So, in martial arts we should not rely on proof. Conflict is in constant transformation; what is orthodox now may be unorthodox tomorrow. The trick then is to master the mind and body and be prepared to mold to the situation. I think I have agreed with what you have said.

    The reason I commented on people making their own quotes is probably because I take enjoyment in philosophy and logic (which I honestly have little formal training in). Also, if we wanted a place to make our own quotes it would probably be titled something like “Make Your Own Quote about Martial Arts.” However, everything I say is irrelevant anyways, since I am just another visitor.

  66. Do not give three chances when it is you who may be out at strike one.

  67. “Using no way as way” ~Bruce Lee

    “All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.” ~Bruce Lee

  68. There is no single superior style of martial art, for a martial artist to say that their style is better than another style is ignorance. Jon T

  69. “of every 100 men you send me 90 shouldnt even be here, 9 are good combatants and they the fight make, ahh but the one… he is a true warrior and will bring the rest home safe”

    Oh and FYI ask any decent Hapkido student or instructor if bones can hurt..

    1. they will tell you that they can
    2. they will demonstrate how they can

    a good Nae Weh Jin Goki will set your bones on fire

    -Sa Dan Charlie

  70. “Don’t wish it was easier. Wish you were better.” – Unknown

    “I am the weapon. Everything else is accessories.” – Unknown

    “Pain creates a distraction and a distraction creates an opportunity.” – Unknown

    “De-fang the snake.” – Unknown

    “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” – Unknown

    If anyone knows who my listed quotes come from, I’d love to know.

    Some great quotes have been posted here, I appreciate that. I only wish that if you’re going to put up home grown words of wisdom, don’t just say “-me” or your first name as the reference. Nobody will be able to actually quote you then, and what you’ve said just becomes a little saying instead of a quote.

  71. To teach you first have to learn… learn you must listen…and to listen you must attend training.

  72. Here are some:

    “All to many Martial Art schools try to follow a path. Try to be like the wave instead: Expand in all directions, and if you ever hit a wall, there are still billions of other places you are going to the same time.” -me

    “Living for perfection may consume you, if you don’t watch out. Instead try to break the limitations, set for you. If you have, break the new limitations that arise. Perfection will come by itself.” -me

    “Seek Wisdom from many sources” -author unknown

    “If you are hit, do not let the force shatter you, make the force your own and turn!” -me (principle of TaiBeigomaWaza)

    “If you are not strong enough to break your oponent, augment your power first and then release it” – me (principle of BaneWaza)

    “If you are not strong enough to break your oponent, use his power instead” – me

    “The human body is the most powerful tool you will ever posess. Cherrish it, master it. If you use other tools, make them part of that body instead of seeing them as seperate parts.” -me (the Idea is from a Budo teacher I had a long conversation with though)

    That is all I remember sofar. Any number of the sentences I listed may or may not have been said by other people before, I do not claim anything: This is a vast world.


  73. “He who enters a fight to fight loses, He who lives the fight moves fourth” – Gokan Herati

    its not about physical strength but mental strength.

    “Win or Lose it makes no difference, everybody has their fight – derived from the movie Never back Down

    sometimes you have to fight, backing off is a cowardly act.

    “climbing The wall now is not important, its about the journey learning how steady it is” Gokan Herati

    Patience is a virtue. and knowing who we are is a very special experience.

  74. “Try Harder” – Unknown

    “He who enters a battle wishing only to survive will surely die; he who enters a battle seeking death will surely live” – Samurai proverb

  75. begin at the beginning., and never stop until the end is not the end

  76. “The man who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the man who is doing it.”

  77. ”When put to the floor one must ask himself 2 questions.

    1. How did I get here?
    2. If I get up, will I go down harder?” – My instructor

    ”A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

    ”I have not failed 700 times, I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work ”

  78. never fear with 10,000 moves(techniques). fear with that one move(technique) that has been practiced and practiced 10,000 times

  79. I recently finished watching all the Kung Fu TV show episodes (about a 5 yr project for me). I wrote down one quote.

    On overcoming fear:

    “When a fear becomes strong enough it is like another being within you who fights to stay alive. It is not you who will die, it is your fear.” -Kwai Chang Caine

  80. “It is better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.”

  81. As the owner of a Fishkill Karate school – Just For Kicks Martial Arts which specializes in teaching life skills along with our martial arts curriculum – I am throughly impressed with your selection of quotes. I especially like the Aristotle quote!
    Thank You!

  82. “There are old sailors, and there are bold sailors, but there are no old bold sailors.”

  83. For the guys at Sherdog, that wonder who originally said “Everyone has a plan, until they get hit…”

    Yes, Mirko Cro Cop, after Mike Tyson, after Joe Lewis. But the ultimate credit may belong to Field Marshal Helmuth Graf von Moltke, who said in the 19th century: “No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

  84. I have trained in many styles of martial arts for many years now and here are some quotes i try to live by. There is no real order to importance other than the first one which is my driving force.

    “Learn All, but master the Few”-my father

    “What works for one, may not work for all, what works for all, may not work for one.”-old master i trained with

    “Simple is always more reliable than the complex. complex has to many movements which in-turn has more chances to fail.”-current instructor.

    “There are no rules in a fight, only a survivor and the defeated.”-me

    “10 times to memorize, 100 times to learn, 1000 times to understand, and 10,000 times to master. Only way to do it”- my father

    “Only by learning to take a hit can one learn to give a hit.”-not sure

    “To learn, one must listen. To master, one must experience.”-current instructor.

  85. “In stillness like the mountain; in motion like the river”
    -Wang Zong Yue

  86. sweat, blood, tears, joy, hardship, heart…
    the closest family you’ll ever have…
    martial arts

  87. He who has the most wind, breathe for clarity of mind, specificity of action.

  88. At the end of the day, students of any martial arts train how they want to train, people do say that, students who are self trained – there master is a fool. But a student learns in their own time.

    One of my favourite quotes;

    – A master may open a door, but only the student can enter

    – A Black Belt is a state of mind and attitude, not just a belt that goes round your waist

    – A Black Belt is just a white belt that never gave up

    – Martial arts are not about hitting first, martial arts are a way of life for different peoples styles. At the minimum, martial arts should teach students, awareness, confidence, honestly, loyalty and perseverance … Me

  89. -The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.


  91. BJ (76), your first quote – “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better” is by Jim Rohn. :)) One of my fav’s.

  92. Are there any modern quotes gut from people such as Jet Li or Jackie Chan. It would be good to include some of the cheesy one-liners maybe? Or is that too crass

  93. “There can be only one.” -Jet Li in “The One”

    Reminds me of Mad Max: Thunderdome “Two man enter. One man leave.”

  94. A black belt only covers 2 inches of your ass you have to cover the rest-Royce Gracie

  95. When it comes to power and focus be calm as the center of a hurricane – ?

  96. Kata is like an act, you’re putting on a show. – My instructor

    Unless you have mind, unless you have heart, unless you have skill and technique…strength is nothing.

    A little guy with a lot of skill and technique will easily take down a big strong guy with nothing but cockiness.

  97. “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” — Robert Heinlein

  98. pjvs,

    That must be the best martial arts related quote I have ever heard. Hmm… what is the sound of one pig singing?

  99. Masakatsu Agatsu (the only victory is victory over the self, Morihei Ueshiba, founder of aikido)

  100. “Only the weak believe that what they do in battle is who they are as men” (from the film Ironclad)
    As with all quotes, take the meaning as you see it, for me it means: in a battle there are no rules to follow, let them do their black belt/boxing/wrestling moves, go for weak spots, groin, eyes, windpipe, joints; fight “dirty”. There is no fairness in any fight, so don’t try and be “fair”, it does not reflect badly on you as a person to win a battle however you go about it….

  101. I saw some posts about thinking… Nown I’ve only been kickboxing for a few months, but from what I’ve seen, thinking is an enemy in fights.. You havve to improvise, train until your movements are memorised within your muscles. Karate sensies train their students until they put the moves as habit. Best quotes would be, everone has a plan until they have been hit and one from me: it is not strenghtnor speed that matters.. It is your sensei/coach

  102. Those who talk little actually train a lot, those who talk a lot, actually train little.

    Meaning – It is the silent fellow that you should be wary of. The ones who talk a lot spend their time talking, BShitting and criticizing others’ training and effort instead of training themselves.

  103. That which does not kill us, must have missed us.”
    – Miowara Tomokata

  104. I read this in some book long ago and otherwise forgotten. For me it embodies all that I have learned in the martial arts. The master who asked the question in the form of a koan is about to attack another master who did not want to fight. The answer, which comes from the second master directly after the attack, speaks for itself:

    “… and what is the color of thunder?”


  105. First, you must fill your head with wisdom…THEN you may break bricks with it…
    Aikira…The Simpsons

  106. Knowing how to talk hard isn’t as useful as knowing when to run.

  107. I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger.Death Before Dishonour

  108. black belts are white belts that never quit…….

    get knocked down 9 times and get up 10……

    hit your enemy with the greatest weapon you posses, the universe….


  110. “A belt only covers two inches of your ass, and the rest you need to back up on your own.” – Royce Gracie

    “A strong wind may destroy a sturdy tree, but the willow bows and the wind passes through.” – Old Saying

    “When two tigers fight, one is certain to be maimed, and one to die.” – Gichin Funakoshi

    “For man with no forgiveness in heart, living even worse punishment than death.” – Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid

  111. “The have 100 victories in 100 battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill.” – Sun-Tsu

  112. practise as though u are the worst ,but perform as if u are the best, osu
    Keep ur head low, mouth shut and eyes high …..osu from a kyokushin fighter from the republic of south africa..

  113. “It should be easy to spot a black belt in a crowd, he should walk like a Marine on roller skates”

  114. We must study the art of peace in addition to the art of war. We achieve victory through the arts of war, victory is won through strategy and strategy is derived from the art of peace. However if evil threatens you or any good and innocent people it is your duty to defend with unethical force -Master Roshi-

  115. ” i fear not a man who has practiced 10,00 kicks once,
    but i fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,00 times.”
    – bruce lee

  116. E=MC2 so your body is energy made solid. energy goes around other energy. example a bug splatting on your window doing 60mph. his energy is spread trying to go around this is why he is splat. So the quote is.
    we go around not through.
    When i stand an hold ground my opponent must go around me.
    When my opponent stands an holds ground I mush go around him. but he is always going around me weither im holding ground or he is holding ground.
    absorb when you punch and your opponent will be expelled away, from his body absorbing your punch. remember two like force repel an opposites attract.
    all me here

  117. The extraordinary aspect of atrial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts are nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.
    – Bruce Lee

  118. “It is the lowly black belt, who is the truest instructor. He has no so called high trappings of rank to swell the ego. Just as he knows that he is a black belt and nothing more. So called ranks of Master are vanity. No stripes, no Master, just black belt.

  119. Fight like a hero, win like a champion! Taekwondo is everythings:D

  120. In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. I have more left than most people start with. Life is sweet if we don’t weaken.

  121. “The Man in the Arena”

    Teddy Roosevelt

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

  122. Very nice quote by Teddy Roosevelt, above. “his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Love that. Thanks Preston.

  123. “Wiseman say, forgiveness is divine. But never pay full price for late pizza.”

  124. I know a thousand techniques to end somebody’s life, but I don’t know a single technique to give it back.

  125. ” One often meets his destiny on the road he avoids it”
    ” Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, That is why it is called the present”.

  126. ”Martial Arts is not used   to oppress others。。。 The    virtue of Martial Arts is   benevolence。” - Yip Man

  127. A lot of quotes are put up already, so I’ll put up a couple I still like from my Karate.

    Fleeing from a fight doesn’t necessarily mean you are a coward. Forcing a fight and fighting with allies against one person does.
    ~ My Sensei

    Sure, I can endure pain (gets accidentally hit in groin), but I’m still working on enduring pain there…

    Pain can be easily avoided in a fight. It’s as easy as avoiding the fight. If you must fight, though, remember: He who strikes first, wins. Figure out the man’s weakness and exploit it in the little time you have to hit it.
    ~My Sensei (“He who strikes first, wins.” is another quote, but I forgot from who)

  128. “It is better to be bludgeoned by a hard truth than be comforted by a soft lie”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “It is the acquisition of mature judgment based upon realistic experience and the rightful application of functional skill that exemplifies the heart of ICC.” – Jonathan E. Kiser

    “The wise man knows when to escape, the fool stays to fight when other means are available.”

    “The novice is a dangerous person; untapped potential is wild, chaotic, and unpredictable. Respect the expert whom has learned control. Beware the novice and treat such with a sense of trepidation.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “The beginner’s mind is the mind of an expert.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “I will train,” said the Fool, “after I get viciously attacked” – Jonathan E. Kiser

    “I will be grateful for never training after I am viciously attacked!” said No One.- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “If you are concerned with blood, guts, and hanging tissue during a fight, there is a 99% chance that it will be your own!”– Jonathan E. Kiser

    “If you are properly trained then killing an enemy can almost be easy, but to carry it in your mind through Life is the hardest part.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Nobody is completely immune to PTSD, if you think so you are kidding yourself.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “The study of Combat is stoic and often glorious, carrying that training out is something best forgotten although it is near impossible to do so…it shapes you as you allow it to. What shape you take is mostly your choice.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “I am simply a navigator pointing to truth more important than myself.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Keep in mind that in the beginning all emerging Martial Art Systems we now consider to be Traditional were once thought to be Progressives.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “The System is a map. The Student is a Wayfarer. The Teacher is a Navigator. The Path is the goal.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “If you know it well, all of Life is Gong Fu.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Truth is as a coin that spins simultaneously on all sides.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “We do not know- we are knowing, we don’t understand- we are understanding, we aren’t mature- we are maturing. ICC is a ever evolving process, not a closed system.”

    “The mind of the warrior seeks wisdom, his heart seeks compassion, his body seeks conditioning, his conscience avoids violence, his resolve is to end violence if encountered- who can compare?”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “The bigger the threat, the calmer I get.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “If any person is able to strike me, beat me, take advantage of me in any way during training I thank them for revealing a weakness that I must further develop.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Negative ego checks at the door, if not you’ll soon be smelling the floor.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Your mind is the true dojo.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Life is the true teacher.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Every man is my mentor, as they teach me through their words, actions, and expressions; for better or for worse, and mostly by omission or apathy.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Experience is something I can tell without reading your resume.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “I can tell a good fighter from a sloppy one, by way of the walk.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Banter is cheap, fighting is reckless, training is priceless.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Combat isn’t about fighting, it is about surviving!”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “The best student isn’t always the best fighter.”- Jonathan E. Kiser

    “Isn’t it great that an invisible friend is always there to help or betray you at any second, no friend is like Gravity. So, if you are living upon this planet you must learn Gravity’s subtle kindnesses and blaring deceptions… or else!”- Jonathan E. Kiser

  129. “A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.”
    ~ Ezra Pound

  130. Great martial arts quotes started with an opening quote by the greatest peacemaker of all time! Awesome! Thank you for this ageless wisdom.

  131. “A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.” – Bruce Lee

    Thanks for all of these quotes

  132. Jet Li said this about his movie Fearless, the story of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who was the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation. The movie shows his beliefs about martial arts, the mental philosophy, but also the internal side.
    Winning is on three levels: The first level is the physical contact, arms and legs against arms and legs. Winning on the second level is using knowledge, language, and strategy to stop the enemy before the physical contact. Winning on the third and highest level is by showing your honor, belief, love of the enemy to make your enemy your friend.
    “So everything I want to say about wushu’s, true meaning about wushu or martial art — in this film I have said, so in the future I have nothing to say, and that’s why I said this is the last one.”

  133. Some quotes which i’ve heard from other people (most of them do not make sense at first though):

    “there are no defensive techniques”
    “every block is an attack”
    in other words, just attack. your attack may stop / block the opponents attack, enabling you to counter, or go through. in both situations you’ll hit him.

    “if you have to flee, flee towards your enemy”
    almost all attacks can’t hurt you if you are close enough to the opponent. however, if you move away, the opponent may still hit you, and even if not he’ll be able to attack again.

    “you are never unarmed”
    no matter were you are, there are always things you can use as weapons. the propably most popular example is using a pen as a kubotan.

  134. To follow up on Ulfhednar’s post:

    ““you are never unarmed”
    no matter were you are, there are always things you can use as weapons. the propably most popular example is using a pen as a kubotan.”

    The official motto of the Marine Corps martial arts program is actually “One Mind, Any Weapon”

    The actually really push that in the figurative sense of being a warrior and all that, but more so in the very literal sense of, anything within arm’s reach can be used against your opponent. The trick is to develop that instinctual understanding of how to use it. There’s time spent discussing how to best use rocks, sticks, tent poles, camp shovels or even someone’s own clothing as a weapon against them.

  135. “have a predatory mindset”

    Love this quote, but it takes a it of explaining before it makes sense. Hearing some combat instructor explain “predatory mindset” to some new lieutenant, he tells him,
    “There’s a fighters mindset and a predators mindset. You think like a fighter. You’d come in, square off and pick a fight with me. I think like I predator. I’d walk up behind you and crush your skull in with that bar stool”.

    What he’s actually getting at is this: When a lion decides to kill a rabbit, does he walk up to the rabbit, stare him down, and start shoving him in the chest first?

  136. I am the most dangerous of cowards. Raise your fist and I will walk away. Follow me and one of us will surly die.

  137. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

    “Light a candle rather than curse the darkness.”

    “Do not ask for a light load, ask for a strong back.”

  138. Fate whispers to the warrior… “You cannot withstand the storm…” The warrior whispers back… ” I am the storm… “Unknown

  139. I say to my students, ” The color around your waist is there so I know what I can ask you to do.”

    “Know you limitations but don’t limit yourselves”

    “If you are always striving to be your best, you’re always at your worst”

  140. Speak and you shall be heard; likewise in combat, fight, and you shall be seen.

  141. “the novice uses his heart, the initiate uses his mind, the master can no longer tell the difference” -unknown-

  142. A blackbelt leader doesn’t practice until he gets it right he practices until he get it wrong

  143. One Hand Lies… The Other Tells The Truth – 100 Eyes on Marco Polo TV Series a saying modified from the Tai Chi quote When moving left keep mind on the right, fake high strike low etc…

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