The Single Most Important Lesson in Martial Arts

Please answer the following question, in forty words or less (preferably in one sentence):

What is the single most important lesson you have learned in martial arts?

On June 30, I will randomly select one respondent to receive a prize, courtesy of contest sponsor Shambhala Publications.

If your complete answer exceeds forty words, you are welcome to publish it on your own blog or forum; just give us the summary, and drop a link to your full post below.

Your Answers

John W. Zimmer:

“Initially I would have stated self-defense or fighting was the most important lesson. On reflection, I would have to say that learning how to unify my mind and body, or ki, is the most important lesson I have learned while studying the martial arts

(and more to come…)


  1. I must be patient because I know virtually nothing, yet I remain hopeful and faithful because I’m certain I have found the way.
    – Student of 2nd Gen. Yip Man Sifu.

  2. “Martial Arts are about protect and respect” – Jackie Chan 🙂

  3. When flying down a hill on a mountain bike wearing neither helmet nor pads, and when that front tyre explodes, the single most important lesson when the odds are stacked against you is to take control of your own destiny and perform that forward roll — or really whatever technique you’ve got — like there was no tomorrow. And there will be. Colin Wee, 5th Dan, Hikaru Dojo.

  4. “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” -Bruce Lee

  5. I have learned to believe in myself through martial arts. I would have never thought myself capable of practicing martial arts, but it has given me confidence in all areas of my life.

  6. I have learned how to get in touch with my inner warrior, the one who guides me, gives me strength and affords me wisdom.

  7. I’ve learned to appreciate and enjoy the essence of humanity in all its forms that arises from every movement and thought and interaction of whatever art form that is practiced.

  8. I’m still learning this, but being more patient, less frustrated when I don’t achieve what I was hoping, it doesn’t help anyone else and doesn’t help me either 🙂

  9. I’ve learned that no matter what, no enemy is greater than myself. The only person I can truly afford to worry about is me, and when I keep that in mind, I can do just about anything.

  10. I joined Goju Ryu after seeing the karate kid wanting to learn how to kick ass. I was ADHD according to my school therapist, just failed 4th grade and angry.
    After 6 months I had earned my white belt with 2 green stripes, still a beginner in the sense of karate, but so much more. I was no longer seeing the school therapist for ADHD, my grades were As & Bs and I was at peace with myself.

    Martial Arts is self discovery.

  11. time is precious! so lets practice as much as we can.

    or something along those lines…… by my master hong yuan luo of ji hong taichi college

  12. To laugh as you pick yourself up,
    dust yourself off
    and give it your best again.

    What good is there is defending
    what is not enjoyed?

    What good is mastery
    if you cannot smile?

    Appreciate existence
    and treasure life itself.

  13. In training we prepare for life,
    in life we prepare for death,
    we meet death therefore
    with neither fear nor haste,
    accepting as the lesson of life
    that death is a part of training.

    It sounds better in the original Klingon…

  14. The martial arts showed me that a relaxed attitude works better than force (and forcing). Still learning to apply it more, though…

  15. To become a better person: physically, mentally and spiritually.

  16. That money more can be had,
    stroke like if your speaking is.

  17. I’ve learned that your Sensei can open the door, but it is up to you to walk through it. What you will gain physically and mentally from the arts will only be equal to what you put into it.

  18. Nicola, you have been randomly selected as the contest winner. Please contact me with your mailing address.

    Further responses are welcome, although they will not be eligible for a prize.

  19. Hi Obi Wan – your comment was amazing – its so exciting to win but I think you should have the prize ! Your story was truly inspirational – so many young people in the UK could find hope to change things around the way you have !

  20. For me Martial Arts means perseverance, accuracy in every detail and taking responsibility over your own life.

  21. Martial arts teach to act wise and fast
    sound strategies, tactics and techniques but always at the right time

  22. What I have learned so far is that I can never learn enough and that I’m always way more powerless and incompetent than I think. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, what do you think?

  23. The lesson offered by martial arts – is the ability to act an empty whole.

  24. The lesson offered by martial arts – is the ability to act AS an empty whole.

  25. Confidence. You can practice strikes, kicks, locks, throws and get different color belts but when faced with real danger or a real fight in a competition you have to be confident that you’ve learnt and done enough to come out on top and to be confident in yourself

  26. thanks for sharing this post to us! Reading this great tips adds more knowledge about Martial arts.

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