Having trained almost exclusively in Jeet Kune Do (JKD) from a young age, I learnt about Bruce Lee‘s teachings early on and tried to implement his philosophies into my practice. I even went as far as tattooing the JKD emblem along with one of Bruce’s quotes on my arm.
Although Jeet Kune Do has lost some of its effectiveness due to the evolution of martial arts in the last 40 years, Bruce Lee’s philosophies still ring true to this day. He was a great thinker and was way ahead of his time in terms of martial arts and strength and conditioning.
Bruce Lee’s philosophies can (and in my opinion, should) be applied to every martial art and combat sport. Here are some of his most pertinent quotes (and my interpretations) which can be applied to your training, fighting and every day life to help you get the most out of the things you want to be successful in.
15 Bruce Lee Quotes
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.
Being proficient in small set of basic techniques is more important than practicing a million flashy techniques. Training so many techniques at once will mean that you won’t really be learning them. Quality repetition is required to naturally reproduce that movement on demand.
Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.
Mistakes are inevitable, but you can’t learn from them if you remain ignorant. Swallow your pride and change what needs to be changed.
Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.
There’s no shame in falling short of your goal as long as you gave it your all. If you aim low and succeed, it’s nothing to be proud of. Aim high.
A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence.
A good coach shouldn’t teach a student to punch the way he punches, or kick the way he kicks, or grapple the way he grapples. There are certain fundamentals that need to be learnt but the student then needs to find his own style to suit his physical and psychological strengths and weaknesses. No two fighters can be identical.
Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.
There is no technique in any martial art that is universal. Some people will be able to add it to their game, and some will not, but the technique/method must be trained and understood before the decision is made to either discard or add it. The greatest fighters in history added something to their game that was unique, unorthodox, something that couldn’t be taught.
In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup.
Remove any pre-conceptions from your mind before trying to learn something new, or you might never be able to embrace its usefulness.
Be self aware, rather than a repetitious robot.
Don’t take anything on face value. Even if it’s advice from the greatest fighter or coach on Earth, question it and ask yourself if it’s viable or if it could be made better.
Using no way as a way, having no limitation as limitation.
Don’t use one strict form or art. Never place limits on anything you do, whether it be martial arts techniques, training methods or something in your everyday life.
If you don’t want to slip up tomorrow, speak the truth today.
There can’t be any lies in fighting. That’s the beauty of it. Fraudulent martial artists get exposed eventually. Many “fighters” now travel to Thailand to KO old taxi drivers in fights that are set up. Be true to yourself if you want to be respected.
Obey the principles without being bound by them.
The fundamentals of sport or art must be cemented before success can be attained. But when the athlete has reached proficiency in these basics, he can then stray from them to add an air of unpredictability to his game, while fully understanding the risks involved.
Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light.
Ignorance has no place in martial arts (or life). If a student cannot (or will not) understand the error of his ways, then he cannot be helped.
A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.
A good fighter never loses his temper. Just look at the best muay Thai fighters in Thailand – they are beautiful in brutality.
I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.
Everyone is on their own journey. As long as you’re true to yourself and those around you, there’s no pressure on you to match up to anyone else’s standards. Be the martial artist and person YOU want to be.
If you think a thing is impossible, you’ll only make it impossible.
Believe it, make it your aim and try to make it happen. See quote 3.
A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.
Roughly translates to: fighting hurts.Follow MuayThaiScholar