Inspirational quotes (2)

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The day will come when men look upon the murder of animals as we now look upon the murder of men.

(Leonardo da Vinci)

When a student is good, becoming better than his fellows, his pride must be destroyed, he must be driven without mercy so that his spirit and skill will not suffer from conceit.

(C W Nicol)

The martial arts were not developed for the defence of soldiers fighting on battlefields. Neither are they sports. The combat that martial artists practice is free of restraints. Martial arts have one objective only: to neutralise an attack by any means, and as rapidly as possible.

(Howard Reid)

The difference between experienced fighters and beginners is the speed of muscle relaxation, which is 8 times faster in champion fighters. For an inexperienced fighter, the speed of muscle relaxation is too slow for the leg or the fist to gain enough speed when striking a blow. Keeping the antagonistic muscles contracted automatically slows down the movement.

(Frederic Delavier)

Some of you have talked about learning a short form of tai chi, which has certain transitional motifs eliminated. The reason for these repeating transitions is to help you flow within the form - to ride over it without thinking. When these repetitions are cut out, some of the major movements become awkward and jam together. The sequence loses some of its smoothness.

 (Chungliang Al Huang)

Errors and lapses in attention that may be forgiven when we are beginners are illuminated in a harsh spotlight by our teachers as we progress.

(Dave Lowry)

A good
rest is half the work.

 (Yugoslav proverb)

In his training and in his life, he seeks that intensely personal mastery that defies description, but which can be sensed and seen immediately.

 (Dave Lowry) 

Without long practice one cannot suddenly understand tai chi.

(Wang Tsung-yueh)

The root of ignorance itself is our mindís habitual tendency to distraction.

 (Sogyal Rinpoche)

That which does not kill you makes you stronger.


Like a free spirit.
Unfettered by position or possession.


If you are always busy doing something,
you cannot enjoy the world.

(Lao Tzu)

When you meet a master swordsman,
show him your sword.

When you meet a man who is not a poet,
do not show him your poem.


The student has nothing to offer but an absolute willingness to follow the teacher's instructions and direction without question or comments or personal improvisation.

(Dave Lowry)

Whatever stands in the way becomes the Way.

(Marcus Aurelius)

There is no teacher but the enemy.
Only he will tell you where you are weak, where he is strong.

(Ender's Game)

If you don't do martial arts, it may be hard for you to understand the importance we place in the people that teach us. They are not like schoolteachers or lecturers, where the tuition is compulsory. In the martial arts the teaching and the learning is voluntary. It's a shared passion. The rewards of your instructor's lessons go deep.

(Goran Powell)

To lift an Autumn hare is no sign of great strength;
to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight;
to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.
What the Ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins,
but excels in winning with ease.
Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage.
He wins his battles by making no mistakes.
Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory,
for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.

(Sun Tzu)

A poor man must swing
For stealing a belt buckle
But if a rich man steals a whole state
He is acclaimed statesman of the year.

(Chuang Tzu)

But then, I'd rather be a killer than a victim.

(Blade Runner)

We choose our leaders, political or spiritual, out of our own confusion, and so they also are confused.
We demand to be coaxed and comforted, to be encouraged and gratified, so we choose a teacher who will give us what we crave for.
We do not search out reality, but go after gratification and sensation.


The word seriousness is elaborated on by the saying "One aim with no distractions".

 (Takuan Soho) 

Why is the root of wisdom so deep?
Because it must be planted in our lives.
The road to the precious capital
is not for the inattentive.

(Loy Ching Yuen)

The beginnerís enthusiasm is such that he cannot imagine what blocks could lie ahead to halt his progress. If some decisive challenge to his continuing on does occur at this early stage, he will likely abandon his practice altogether.

(Dave Lowry)

But if you cannot find
Friend or master to go with you,
Travel on alone Ė
Like a king who has given away his kingdom,
Like an elephant in the forest.


Pursuers may attack you;
that is unfortunate,
but the question is:
what can you do about it?

(I Ching)

One cannot listen to different pieces of music at the same time, a real comprehension of the beautiful being possible only through concentration upon some central motive.

(Kakuzo Okakura)

If I concentrate while he divides, I can use my entire strength to attack a fraction of his.

  (Sun Tzu)

Zen is the unsymbolisation of the world.

(R H Blyth)

It is essential to see both sides without moving the eyeballs.

 (Miyamoto Musashi)

If you feel confused, that's fine. You are meant, at this stage, to feel confused. You have been trained since birth to think a certain way. You have been conditioned to believe that this is the only way to think and that all sane people think as you do. Zen seeks to break this stranglehold and introduce you to the possibility that you and everybody else, have got it wrong. Upsetting the logic cart is part of this process.

(Robert Allen) 

You may have all sorts of wonderful ideas, what you consider to be valuable contributions and insights, your own personal take on matters. Nobody cares. Quite the opposite.
The fastest way to alienate yourself in a dojo is to make known these ideas or to volunteer your suggestions on how training might be better or more effective.

(Dave Lowry)

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)

After a heavy snowfall the more rigid branches of the pine break under the weight of the snow,
but the more supple willow branches bend, thus allowing the snow to fall to the ground.

(Tao: Sacred Symbols)

Their minds arenít filled with all questions and answers, they just have one thought and they concentrate on that.

 (A nine year old Irish girl talking about dolphins)

In order to function beyond the use of ordinary strength, you must study what seems inconvenient and then work to make it efficient.

(Kuo Lien-Ying) 

Concentrated practice in the early stages of an endeavour dramatically improves the value of future practice.

(Michael Gelb)

 Upon reaching what is perceived as an ideal goal, the artist discovers something entirely different. The artist is suddenly confronted with the fact that what was thought of as perfection of technique was merely the introduction to it. An entirely new vista has opened. The artist must be prepared to turn his gaze from the heights that have so recently been gained, and prepare for the ascent of the peak suddenly found beyond them.

(Dave Lowry)

A man of Sung did business
In silk ceremonial hats.
He travelled with a load of hats
To the wild men of the South.
The wild men had shaved heads,
Tattooed bodies.
What did they want
With silk
Ceremonial hats?

Yao had wisely governed
All China.
He had brought the entire world
To a state of rest.
After that, he went to visit
The four Perfect Ones
In the distant mountains
Of Khu Shih.
When he came back
Across the border
Into his own city
His lost gaze
Saw no throne.

(Chuang Tzu)

Awareness is like living with a snake in the room; you watch its every movement, you are very, very sensitive to the slightest sound it makes.


It is said that soon after his enlightenment the Buddha passed a man on the road who was struck by the Buddha's extraordinary radiance and presence.
The man stopped and asked, "My friend, what are you? Are you a celestial being or a god?"
"No," said the Buddha.
"Well, then, are you some kind of magician or wizard?"
Again the Buddha answered, "No."
"Are you a man?"
"Well, my friend, then what are you?"
The Buddha replied, "I am awake."


The trouble with wielding a long sword
with both hands is that it is no good
on horseback, no good when running hurriedly,
no good on marshy ground, muddy fields,
stony plains, steep roads, or crowded places.

(Miyamoto Musashi)

 The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy.
What do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save.
But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy.

You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged.
And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

(The Matrix)

Governing a large country
is like cooking a small fish.

When a country is governed
according to the Tao,
People are treated gently.

When order is not disturbed,
disorder does not arise.

When people are not provoked,
their lives are contented and full.

Because nothing disturbs
the natural order;
Everything stays in its proper place.

(Lao Tzu)

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may eventually become wise.

(Proverbs 19:20)

Perfection, then, is finally achieved, not when there is nothing left to add,
but when there is nothing left to take away.

(Antoine de St. Exupery)

Some things should not be touched;
willowy things, bought and sold in the streets
that feed our greed,
dim our heart and mind alike
issuing forth every kind of darkness.

(Loy Ching-Yuen)

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Page created 12 March 1995
Last updated 16 June 2023