While we might associate the martial arts with ancient masters or mystical ways, perhaps one of the most inspirational figures lived amongst us in the 20th century – Lee Jun-fan, a master martial artist, and filmmaker, and who is better known as Bruce Lee. His philosophy aimed to extract the best aspects of the martial arts and teach people how to learn in the most effective way possible. Here are some Bruce Lee quotes that we can incorporate into our own training.

  1. “Learning is never cumulative, it is a movement of knowing which has no beginning and no end.”

You must always think of yourself as a beginner, which means you must always be curious, and excited about and open to learning. You can learn new techniques from opponents you face or trainers you meet, and find variations on what you already do by watching others compete.

  1. Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”

You must always be drilling yourself with what you learn. Drilling is the only way to improve yourself. On top of that, you must constantly be working towards your goals rather than just sitting down and idly cogitating about them.

  1. “There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

There’s no limit to what you can achieve if you keep trying. Most times, when you feel that you’re too tired to keep pushing or training, it’s not that you’re incapable, but that you’re thinking about giving up already. Change your mindset, and your body will follow to achieve greater heights than ever.

  1. “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”

Training in a martial art will often mean that you’re faced with unfamiliar situations that you don’t know how to handle. By keeping an adaptive mindset that’s open to new things and learning how to stay calm, you’ll be able to take on any situation.

  1. “In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”

Failure isn’t the end – it’s just another opportunity to learn. What’s more egregious than failing is not to aim high. Set great goals and go after them, even in the face of multiple failures! Another quote by Bruce Lee applies as well: “Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.”

Has Bruce Lee inspired your training? How?