Bruce Lee: 5 great quotes for training
It’s obviously no secret that Bruce Lee holds a pretty high status not just among martial arts aficionados but millions of people the world over, based largely on his near-mythic athletic exploits.
I have just started to read more into him , and while there seems to be a fair amount of the expected hubris surrounding him and his exploits during his short life, he certainly had profound things to say about many subjects, one obviously being training.
He could also evidently back up what he was saying, too.
As you know one of the core tenets of The Training Template is the fact that if you want training results, you have to stop measuring in portions of time.
You have to live it, because frankly there is no such thing as someone who is fit and in shape part-time.
If you start thinking “how long will it take for me to get there?” then you simply won’t, because you’re looking at doing exercise as a sideshow. In order to train for years consistently and eat healthily exercise quite simply has to be included in the main event.
If you can do that one of the best side effects is that your physical efforts translate to mental development and an appreciation that rather than just putting one foot in front of the other or lifting a bar off the ground the lessons you learn in training can transfer and spread positively to all facets of your life.
Martial arts, and their expert practitioners like Bruce Lee, take this to a whole other level and although regretfully I never did any (aside from coming second in the county judo under-35kg category when I was about 10) their philosophies have become increasingly applicable and interesting as I’ve gone along my own training journey.
I’m not a great fan of the overuse of motivational quotes, but I want to share a few Bruce Lee bon-mots that I think can be effectively applied to training and to life.
They’re striking and applicable here to me because they contradict most of what the mainstream fitness industry tries to sell us as gospel.
1.”A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at”
In today’s target-obsessed society I like this one because it is a reminder that the journey is often the most important part of getting anywhere, as well as the importance of setting ambitious goals.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set targets but they should be treated as mini-stepping stones to the overall goal of being the best version of ourselves that we can be. That’s something we’ll never reach, because there’s always room for improvement, but it gives you the motivation to get up and keep trying, because you never know how far you’ll get.
Related article: Why genetics are not that important
2. “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
In fitness and training this is hard to apply, simply because there is so much useless information out there that it’s hard to cut it out and find a kernel of truth.
That’s what happens when money gets involved with anything. People will do, and say, anything to put your money in their pocket.
Through a lot of trial and error I think I’ve just about managed to separate most of the useful from the useless when it comes to training, and I hope that by reading this blog you are benefitting from that. I’ve got no financial incentive to tell you all this, I’m just sick of reading and hearing all the bs that now pervades every corner of “fitness industry inc.”.
This short quote also succinctly describes the critical part of achieving long-term, sustainable results- add your own ingredient.
Fitness fads love to scream about theirs being the best and only way. There’s no such thing, and anyone who says there is has probably got product to sell to you.
We are all, fortunately, individuals. You have to think about, and find what works for YOU.
Start by thinking what exercise you like to do, and try stuff out. Think, listen and learn about what you’re doing, rather than just going through the motions.
3. “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily towards your goal.”
Maybe the key quote of the lot. This is where treating fitness as a lifestyle comes in. There’s no need for drastic changes or coma-inducing workouts to get somewhere faster, what you need to do is treat training as just small incremental improvements, day-by-day, that cumulatively lead to a big net result.
Fitness ads keep telling you can get transformational results fast. Well, fast is relative. Being told results could take a year rather than a month seems slow. But a year relative to your lifespan is nothing.
Anyone or anything that tells you huge changes or transformations are achievable in a few weeks is straight up lying, that’s all you need to know.
Related article: What can you actually achieve in four weeks?
4. “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.”
You improve by practice. Training is practice. There are two main points for this one:
- Changing your routine or following ‘muscle-confusion’ routines will make you ok at a lot of things but not great at anything. Stick to a program for at least a few months before tweaking.
- People have been exercising effectively for thousands of years (look at the ancient olympics). The tried and tested stuff really works, new products are created purely to make money.
Related article: Muscle-confusion: Is it useful?
Finally, my favourite but the most difficult one of all to balance, in training or in life.
5. “Be happy, but never satisfied.”
Those five words are all you’ll ever gonna need.