Friday, October 8, 2010

Quotations, Quotations, Quotations

For whatever reason, most writers tend to have lots of reference books laying around and I'm certainly no exception. On my book shelves are a very dog-eared AP Stylebook, actual print copies of a dictionary and thesaurus (I know, right?!?) and several quotation dictionaries - including one with inspirational entries for African-Americans, authors, women and athletes.

If I were to edit one for martial artists, it would definitely have sayings I've heard over the years from my senseis and fellow karateka in it, like:

"The three rules of this and every Goju Dojo are: Everyone works. Nothing is free. All start at the bottom."
- every USA Goju sensei I've ever trained with

"It's karate, not knitting, so expect there to be some contact."
- Sensei Maloney

"Nobody gets hurt in my dojo. Understand?"
- Sensei Maloney

"Avoid before block. Block before maim. Maim before kill - for all life is precious."
- Sensei Rinaldi

"Kata is the art of martial arts. Kata is MOTION plus EMOTION."
- Sensei Fiore

"There are two types of Black Belts: those who HAVE one and those who ARE one."
- Sensei Dammann

"The most powerful techniques are delivered when the body is relaxed."
- Sensei Suggs

"I tell my students that when someone who knows absolutely nothing about the martial arts watches you execute kata, he or she should see two things. First, you are in a real fight, not just dancing - and that should be evident. Second, you are winning."
- Sensei R. Murphy

"It is better to have one sharp weapon than many dull ones."
- Sensei Fiore

"Not every technique will work for every BODY in EVERY situation."
- Kyoshi Williams

"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're probably right."
- Sensei Suggs

"Do the best you can with what you've got."
- Sensei Sullivan

"Hold your tongue for a moment and avoid 100 years of sorrow."
- Sensei Suggs

"I always view the ring in tournament as MY ring. In my head, I think my opponent has absolutely no right to be in MY ring. And I fight accordingly."
- Sensei Ansah

"A ship docked in a harbor is safe, but alas, that is not what ships were meant to do."
- Sensei Suggs

"What do we do pushups for, class?"
"Punching power, sir!"
"And WHY do we do pushups?"
"Because they're FUN, sir!"
- Sensei Sullivan

"Martial artists are strange people. We train for hours at a time on something that we hope we never have to actually use."
- Sensei E. Williams

"Better to be safe than sorry is what we practice and preach at [our] dojo."
- Sensei E. DelDuca

"We are the same but different; different but much the same."
-Nakamura Sensei (on the differences between Goju-Ryu karate and USA Goju)

"Don't ever forget to use your hips."
- Sensei Maloney

"Master yourself and another master will be hard to find."
- Sensei Suggs

"[The student/teacher relationship] is like a finger pointing at a beautiful sunset. The teacher is the finger - not the beautiful sun. The sunset is the principle and that is what the student should try and see. To only look at the finger means the student will miss the best part."
- Grand Master Kim Soo

"Marital arts is to the dojo like faith is to the church. If you have faith and your pastor is not giving you the food you need, find a new church, but keep the faith. If your dojo is not feeding but you still have the martial art desire to learn, find a new dojo that feeds you and allows you to continue growing. It's not about the dojo or the sensei, it is about the student and the learning."
- Mudansha Griffin

"The single most fascinating thing to me about the martial arts is that no matter how long you train, there's always more to learn. It's never ending."
- Mudansha Miench

"Karate ni sente nashi (In karate, there is no first strike)."
- Gichin Funakoshi

"That's it, in a nutshell."
- Chrissette Michelle (a singer/songwriter - but it summed up everything very nicely, I think :-)

What would you add?


  1. "A mountain is hard to climb. If it's easy, it's not a mountain." - Chinese proverb

    "All bottles are good. There is no "best" bottle." - Tatsuo Shimabuku

  2. "It's karate, not knitting so expect there to be some contact."
    "Don't ever forget to use your hips."

    Love the quotes, especially the two I listed above! I can't count the number of times I've heard these with almost the exact same wording during class. In fact, at my last test, I was sparring with a green belt and we were doing more circling than initiating contact. The round was stopped for a moment as our instructor told us: "The dance class is down the street. This is a martial arts class - there needs to be contact."

  3. "The [martial arts] exponent must continuously bring something from deep inside himself to his study, always expecting to put more into that study than he will ever take out." - Donn Draeger

    The first time I read that it kind of stumped me. A koan if you will. After all, we all train (study) to get better. That's the pay-off. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. But if we train for the love of training, training as both a means and an end, somehow that brings a much different quality to it.

  4. Cindy - both of those sound like ones Sensei Suggs would enjoy - then "hand" back to us just before rei at the end of class, LOL. Thanks for sharing them.

    Ariel - your instructor's quote made me laugh really loudly! Too funny...

    John - I like that one! Like it a lot, actually. My hubby-to-be (a track coach) totally agreed with it. When I read it to him, we ended up discussing it for about 10 minutes. We both plan on sharing it with our respective karate and track "students" - so thanks :-)

  5. "I tell my students that when someone who knows absolutely nothing about the martial arts watches you execute kata, he or she should see two things. First, you are in a real fight, not just dancing - and that should be evident. Second, you are winning."
    - Sensei R. Murphy

    Funny you should mention this - I've heard a very similiar quote, in fact I've just referred to it in my latest post!

    I also like; "teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself" Chinese proverb

    "He who asks a question is a fool for a minute; he who does not remains a fool forever" – Chinese proverb

  6. Ha-Ha, Sue; I guess great minds really do think alike :-)

  7. Saw another good one today on a calendar:
    "Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus."
    - Alexander Graham Bell

  8. Great quotes Felicia - loved them all.

  9. Glad you enjoyed them, Dan - and thanks for stopping by :-)