There’s a whole philosophy and a lot of wisdom behind the physical aspect of martial arts.
If you’re feeling like you could use a bit of inspiration from this old wisdom, then these martial arts quotes will definitely help you.
I’ve collected more than 100 brilliant martial arts quotes from the most famous martial artists around the world. These inspirational quotes talk about fighting and self-defense, but also the more subtle aspects of martial arts.
If you need a motivational quote to fill you with motivation and keep you going, you’ll find them here. You’ll also find great quotes about achieving balance and peace of mind.
The martial artist has control not only over their body, but their mind as well.
Whether you prefer judo, taekwondo, aikido, jeet kune do, jiu jitsu, wing chun, muay thai, karate or kung fu, I know you’re gonna love these martial arts quotes.
Take a look!
Top 10 Martial Arts Quotes
Let’s start off with the 10 most inspiring martial arts quotes I could find. I hope you’ll get inspired the same way I did.
1. “The path of Martial Arts begins and ends with courtesy. So be genuinely polite on every occasion.” — Mas Oyama
2. “True martial arts is universal, simple, and practical. Anything else is too complex to be used in combat.” — Soke Behzad Ahmadi
3. “The best fighter is never angry.” — Lao Tzu
4. “You need balance. That’s why I like martial arts: it always tells you how to control your body, your mind, your heart.” — Jet Li
5. “The very essence of martial arts is the thirst for knowledge and the truth about ourselves.” — Frank Shamrock
6. “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” — Richard Marcinko
7. “A man who conquers himself is greater than one who conquers a thousand men in battle.” — Buddha
8. “To follow the path of martial arts is like climbing on a cliff that never ends. It demands absolute devotion for the task to be executed” — Masutatsu Oyama
9. “You can only fight the way you practice.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
10. “If you’re going through hell, keep going!” — Winston Churchill
Motivational Martial Arts Quotes
Below you’ll discover a collection of motivational martial arts quotes that will push you further to do more and become a better version of yourself.
1. “The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become of it.” — John Ruskin
2. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.” — Zig Ziglar
3. “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” — Og Mandino
4. “You are going to have to suffer – over a long time. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.” ― Iain Armstrong
5. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” — Confucius
6. “Always remember that the true meaning of Budo is that soft overcomes hard, small overcomes large.” — Mas Oyama
7. “We learn martial arts as helping weakness. You never fight for people to get hurt. You’re always helping people.” ― Jackie Chan
8. “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” — Japanese Proverb
9. “If you think only of hitting, springing, striking, or touching the enemy, you will not be able actually to cut him.” ― Miyamoto Musashi, ‘The Book Of Five Rings
10. “Good judgment is the result of experience, and experience the result of bad judgment.” — Mark Twain
11. “Given enough time, any man may master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man may become wise. It is the true warrior who can master both… and surpass the result.” — Tien T’ai
12. “Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.” — Morihei Ueshiba
13. “Once a kata has been learned, it must be practiced repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency, for knowledge of just the sequence of a kata in karate is useless.” — Gichin Funakoshi
14. “As a lifelong practitioner of martial arts, I’m trained to remain calm in the face of adversity and danger.” — Steven Seagal
15. “The teaching of one virtuous person can influence many; that which has been learned well by one generation can be passed on to a hundred.” — Kano Jigoro
16. “The goal of learning martial arts is healing weakness. Never use your skill to hurt people. You will help people using your martial arts.” — Jackie Chan
17. “Martial arts is a life journey. One of the things my teacher taught me a long time ago was that everyone’s path to mastery of a certain system is different. Some people’s path is a very direct route, where others might wind back and forth if you are injured or something.” — Ryan Potter
18. “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” — Aikido saying
19. “Fear and guilt can also destroy you like an enemy. The more you resist, the more they persist. Like in martial arts, do not resist them, observe your opponent’s strength and use it to your benefit to win over them.” — Raju Ramanathan
20. “Strength can be born only from weakness. So be glad of your weaknesses now, they are the beginnings of your strength.” — Claire Weekes
Martial Arts Quotes About Life
Now it’s time to explore some genius life quotes inspired by martial arts. Take a look!
1. “Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.” — Albert Einstein
2. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.” — Muhammad Ali
3. “For me, martial arts is a search for something inside. It’s not just a physical discipline.” — Brandon Lee
4. “A black belt is more than a belt that goes around your waist. Being a black belt is a state of mind and attitude.” — Rick English
5. “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” — Stephen McCranie
6. “To practice Zen or the Martial Arts, you must live intensely, wholeheartedly, without reserve – as if you might die in the next instant.” — Taisen Deshimaru
7. “Martial arts was really the first thing in my life that I followed through on and accomplished a degree of proficiency for.” — Chuck Norris
8. “One of the greatest gifts of the martial arts is that they ultimately guide us to new levels of spirituality.” — Joseph Cardillo
9. “If you ever lack the motivation to train, then think what happens to your mind and body when you don’t.” — Shifu Yan Lei
10. “The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them.” — Miyamoto Musashi
11. “Imagine if every child learned the respect, courtesy, and discipline that martial arts teach. The world would be a different place.” — Chris Wahmond
12. “Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice.” — Will Smith
13. “There is evil and disorder in the world because people have forgotten that all things emanate from one source. Return to that source and leave behind all self-centered thoughts, petty desires, and anger. Those who are possessed by nothing possess everything.” — Morihei Ueshiba
14. “You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
15. “A good instructor teaches students how to fight, a great instructor teaches students how to survive.” — Ricardo Almeida
16. “Nothing is more harmful to the world than a martial art that is not effective in actual self-defense.” — Motobu Choki
17. “To help others to develop and succeed in life is a reward in itself and only has value when nothing is offered in return.” — Choi Hong Hi
18. “All the principles of heaven and earth are living inside you. Life itself is truth, and this will never change. Everything in heaven and earth breathes. Breath is the thread that ties creation together.” — Morihei Ueshiba
19. “Do not criticize any other martial arts or speak ill of others, as it will surely come back to you. The mountain does not laugh at the river because it is lowly, nor does the river speak ill of the mountain because it cannot move.” — Koichi Tohei
20. “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” — Morihei Ueshiba
Inspirational Martial Arts Quotes
To make sure you’re always inspired, here are some more inspirational martial arts quotes for you to explore.
1. “I am a shark, the ground is my ocean, and most people can’t even swim.” — Rickson Gracie
2. “When people ask me about what I learned from martial arts, I don’t talk about favorite punches or kicks, or about fights won or lost. I talk about learning self-discipline, about ethics and manners and benevolence and fairness.” — Jonathan Maberry
3. “The martial arts are non-combative because these martial artists think actual fighting doesn’t express goodness or mystic insight.” — Keith Vargo
4. “When I tap, it means I’ve accepted the technique, learned the lesson, and look to apply the experience next time I step on the mat. I never give up.” — Ryron Gracie
5. “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.” — Sun Tzu
6. “Martial arts gave me a purpose, gave me dedication, gave me a drive that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.” — Conor McGregor
7. “It doesn’t matter how hard you hit back. It’s about how much you can take, and keep fighting, how much you can suffer and keep moving forward. That’s how you win.” — Sylvester Stallone
8. “The children right now, the young children, everybody should go to a martial arts school. Why? Because as soon as they go to a martial arts school, they learn discipline.” — Jackie Chan
9. “The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things.” — Miyamoto Musashi
10. “Overnight success feels great after playing 10 years in honky-tonks behind chicken wire.” — Willie Nelson
11. “Walk on the road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later – Squish!” — Mr. Miyagi, Karate Kid
12. “I so admire the discipline, the work ethic, and the sacrifices fighters make to master all aspects of mixed martial arts.” — Tami Hoag
13. “The real important thing for champions is not getting burned out and not getting complacent. Success can make you lazy. It can make you start to believe your own hype, and that’s very important to avoid. A champion’s already got technique—he knows what to do. Keeping himself mentally balanced is the real challenge.” — Lao Tzu
14. “I have trained in the way of strategy since my youth, and at the age of thirteen, I fought a duel for the first time. My opponent was called Arima Kihei, a sword adept of the Shinto ryū, and I defeated him.” — Miyamoto Musashi
15. “Understand that the essence of martial arts is not the art itself, but what’s hidden deep within yourself.” — Gogen Yamaguchi
16. “Whatever luck I had, I made. I was never a natural athlete, but I paid my dues in sweat and concentration and took the time necessary to learn karate and become world champion.” — Chuck Norris
17. “The practice of a martial art should be a practice of love – for the preservation of life, for the preservation of the body, and for the preservation of family and friends.” — Dan Inosanto
18. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” — Dalai Lama
19. “The only way to stay away from criticism is to say nothing, do nothing and be nothing – that’s it.” — Elbert Hubbard
20. “To gain mastery, you must unite the qualities of spirit, strength, technique, and the ability to take the initiative.” — Sadami Yamada
Humble Martial Arts Quotes
The key is to stay humble, both in martial arts and in life. Check out these humble martial art quotes.
1. “The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become of it.” — John Ruskin
2. “I see martial arts as moving forms of meditation. When you’re sparring or drilling techniques, you can’t think of anything else.” — Joe Rogan
3. “If you observed 100 matches, you would see that probably nine out of 10 are won by the person in better shape. Only when both fighters are in roughly the same physical condition do tactics and techniques matter.” — Jhoon Rhee
4. “When it comes to performance standards, It’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.” — Jocko Willink
5. “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” — Rikki Rogers
6. “The real purpose of the martial arts must be to purge oneself of petty ambitions and desire, to obtain control of one’s own character.” — Morihei Ueshiba
7. “Everybody’s beatable. Mixed martial arts, there are many ways to win, and that also means there are many ways to lose, as well.” — Bas Rutten
8. “Jiu-Jitsu is a mousetrap. The trap does not chase the mouse. But when the mouse grabs the cheese, the trap plays its role.” — Helio Gracie
9. “Learning a technique is not the end in itself, it merely indicates where you need to start.” — Masaaki Hatsumi
10. “One of the greatest gifts of the martial arts is that they ultimately guide us to new levels of spirituality.” — Joseph Cardillo
11. “Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” — Gautama Buddha
12. “I’ve been in martial arts for more than 20 years; I’ve seen fighters who barely have a professional fight say they’re the best in the world.” — Valentina Shevchenko
13. “I shall be happy if you understand that the essence of martial arts is not the strength, not the art, but that is hidden deep within yourself.” — Gogen Yamaguchi
14. “Judo is the way to the most effective use of both physical and spiritual strength.” — Jigoro Kano
15. “In a fight between a strong mind and a strong technique, the mind will prevail because it will find the weak point.” — Taisen Deshimaru
16. “Do not fall into the trap of thinking that just because a kata begins to the left that the opponent is attacking from the left.” — Kenwa Mabuni
17. “Masters of the martial arts believe that a strong body and mind go together: you can’t improve one without working on the other.” — Laura Scandiffio
18. “Only a fool does something new and thinks it will work for sure. Only a failure refuses to try something that might not work.” — Seth Godin
19. “It’s not big things that create change; it’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things practiced daily.” — Adam Williss
20. “It is not the accumulation of extraneous knowledge, but the realization of the self within, that constitutes true progress.” — Okakura Kakuzo
If you’re a fan of karate, you’re gonna love these martial arts quotes. Enjoy!
1. “Since karate is a martial art, you must practice with the utmost seriousness from the very beginning.” — Gichin Funakoshi
2. “No matter how you may excel in the art of Karate, and in your scholastic endeavors, nothing is more important than your behavior and your humanity as observed in daily life.” — Gichin Funakoshi
3. “Karate training soon teaches that real strength is facing oneself strictly with severe eyes. This is the first condition of martial arts training.” — Tsutomu Ohshima
4. “Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” — Dan Inosanto
5. “Karate is not about techniques and their execution, but about boldness, integrity and fight for justice and the common good.” — Soke Behzad Ahmadi
6. “Karate is a form of martial arts in which people who have had years and years of training can using only their hands and feet, make some of the worst movies in the history of the world.” — Dave Barry
7. “In the old days, we trained Karate as a martial art, but now they train Karate as a gymnastic sport. I think we must avoid treating Karate as a sport – it must be a martial art at all times!” — Choshin Chibana
8. “As far as possible, I want nothing more than to don my training gi and teach Karate.” — Mas Oyama
9. “Many Karate teachers teach a watered-down style – no hip action and no depth of punching – so it is easy to say that these teachers have no depth to their knowledge. You are what your teacher is, and if he knows a lot, you should be able to demonstrate this knowledge.” — Higa Yuchoku
10. “Karate ultimately produces in the individual a vital concentration of energy that expands to heroic proportions in times of crisis.” — Shoshin Nagamine
Kung Fu Quotes
If you’re a fan of kung fu, here are some martial arts quotes you might like.
1. “I want to build up my philosophy…my philosophy with kung fu is to respect people.” — Jackie Chan
2. “The Chinese words’ Kung fu’ translate more or less as ‘a man hard at work over a long time’.” — Iain Armstrong
3. “The real purpose of the martial arts must be to purge oneself of petty ambitions and desire, to obtain control of one’s own character.” — Morihei Ueshiba
4. “Kung fu lives in everything we do. It lives in how we put on a jacket and how we take off a jacket. It lives in how we treat people. Everything is kung fu.”― Jackie Chan
5. “Learning Kung fu has only one purpose: To train one’s reaction into a natural response. Such reaction is essential.” — Yuan Xiu Gang
6. “A kung fu man lives without being dependent on the opinions of others, and a master, unlike the beginner, holds himself in reserve.” — Bruce Lee
7. “To make a kung fu film is like a dream come true, because I’m a big fan of kung fu movies and I’m learning kung fu for a long time.” – Stephen Chow
8. “It is true that the mental aspect of kung-fu is the desired end; however, to achieve this end, technical skill must come first.” —Bruce Lee
9. “Kung fu: You’ve got to spend your whole life at it before you’re kung fu.” — David Carradine
10. “The old Oriental shamans had a much different view when they recalled the movements of kung fu.” — Lujan Matus
Bruce Lee Quotes
For the short amount of time he was here with us, he inspired an endless number of people. Here are some really deep and meaningful martial arts quotes by Bruce Lee.
1. “Remember… you are expressing the technique, not doing the technique.” — Bruce Lee
2. “In every passionate pursuit, the pursuit counts more than the object pursued.” —Bruce Lee
3. “The martial arts are based upon understanding, hard work and a total comprehension of skills.” — Bruce Lee
4. “Let nature take its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment.” — Bruce Lee
5. “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
6. “Martial art is ultimately an athletic expression of the dynamic human body. More important yet, is the person who is expressing his own soul.” — Bruce Lee
7. “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.” — Bruce Lee
8. “A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.” — Bruce Lee
9. “Many people dedicate their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like, rather than actualizing themselves. This difference between self-actualization and self-image actualization is very important. Most people live only for their image.” — Bruce Lee
10. “If you truly love life, don’t waste time because time is what life is made of.” — Bruce Lee
My aim with these martial arts quotes was to inspire you and keep you motivated, so you can conquer the day and live up to your full potential.
Whether you are actively practicing martial arts or just exploring philosophy, you can use these quotes for your own spiritual progress.
I hope you enjoyed it and hope to see you soon.
Until next time!