If one man inspired kids to do sidekicks and carve their own “karate-sticks” more than any other man, it had to have been Bruce Lee.
Actor by profession, martial artist by birth.
And something of a genius, actually.
Sadly enough, most people don’t realize the depth of his martial arts side. Maybe becaus of his movies, I don’t really know. I never like them anyway (sorry!). In any case, I decided to collect some rare quotes (not your usual ‘Google quotes’ stuff) from Bruce, and present them here.
Because I know you love quotes.
But, beware of one thing that Bruce Lee’s wife once wrote:
“Memorizing and regurgitating Bruce Lee’s words does not increase one’s intelligence. However, adapting his thoughts for one’s own actions gives life to his words.” – Linda Lee Cadwell
So, with that being said, here’s 18 great and unusual Bruce Lee quotes, written (or said) by him between the ages of 23 and 32 (the year he passed away). All of these can be found in an excellent book entitled ‘Bruce Lee – Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee’s Commentaries on the Martial Way’.
- “All martial arts is simply an honest expression of one’s body – with a lot of deception in between.”
- “Use karate, judo, aikido, or any style to build your counter-offensive. It will be interesting!”
- “Simplicity of expression rather than complexity of form.” [about sparring]
- “I personally do not believe in the word style. Why? Because, unless there are human beings with three arms and four legs, unless we have another group of human beings that are structually different from us, there can be no different style of fighting.”
- “If I tell you I’m good, you’ll say that I’m boasting. But if I tell you I’m not good, you’ll know I’m lying.”
- “To tell the truth, I could beat anybody in the world.”
- “To be bound by traditional martial art style or styles is the way of the mindless, enslaved martial artist. But to be inspired by the traditional martial art and to achieve further heights is the way of genius.”
- “More and more I believe in the fact that you have two hands and two legs, and the thing is how to make good use of yourself – and that’s about it.”
- “There’s only one basic principle of self-defense: you must apply the most effective weapon, as soon as possible, to the most vulnerable target.”
- “An intelligent mind is an inquiring mind. It is not satisfied with explanation, with conclusions. Nor is it a mind that believes, because belief is again another form of conclusion.”
- “You will never get any more out of this life than you expect.”
- “A quality martial artist is always ready for any move, and trains oneself invincible.”
- “If your opponent is at a distance, kick him in the groin. If he gets close, poke him in the eyes, bring up your knee, pop him with an elbow, dig a corkscrew punch to his stomach.”
- “Students should learn something new each class, but one or two new actions are enough for one session. Each lesson should reward the student with pleasure, satisfaction of achievement, and the sense of vigorous, joyous movement.”
- “Turn your sparring into play – but always play seriously.”
- “The three most difficult things in life are: 1. To keep a secret. 2. To forget an injury. 3. To make good use of leisure.”
- “Martial arts, like any art, is an unrestricted athletic expression of an individual soul.”
- “Today, your sidekick became a tool to unlock a spiritual gate. There was spiritual loosening along with physical losening, a sort of unconcerned immersion in oneself. The original sense of freedom was there. Congratulations! The sidekick took the place of the ego.”
A small untitled poem:
I wish neither to possess nor to be possessed.
I no longer cover paradise.
More important, I no longer fear hell…
The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it.
My ailment came from within myself, but i did not observe it.
Until this moment.
Now I see that I will never find the light unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel.
It seems the image of the “self-destructive artist” applies to martial artists as well.
Inner torment feeds the creative spirit.
The curse of a genius.