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Top 30 Quotes on Self Defense

Self defense quotes every martial artist, instructor, and defender should know:

Sun Tzu

The Art of War is one of the best war strategy books ever written, and many lessons directly apply to every day self defense principles.

"Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay its price" -Sun Tzu

"So the principles of warfare are: Do not depend on the enemy not coming, but depend on our readiness against him. Do not depend on the enemy not attacking, but depend on our position that cannot be attacked" -Sun Tzu

"One need not destroy one's enemy. One need only destroy his willingness to engage" -Sun Tzu

"It is more important to out think your enemy, than to outfight him” -Sun Tzu

"To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy" -Sun Tzu

"Be where your enemy is not" -Sun Tzu

"Great results, can be achieved with small forces" -Sun Tzu

"The height of strategy, is to attack your opponent's strategy" -Sun Tzu

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle” -Sun Tzu

Rorion Gracie

“Self defense is not just a set of techniques, it's a state of mind that begins with the belief that you are worth defending” -Rorion Gracie

Jeff Cooper

Jeff Cooper focused on ones personal responsibility for their own safety. Tough, direct, and 100% accurate.

"If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore what he must be taught to fear is his victim" -Jeff Cooper

"It is up to the private citizen to protect himself and his family, and this is not only acceptable, but mandatory" -Jeff Cooper

"Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician" -Jeff Cooper

"Your mind-set is your primary weapon" -Jeff Cooper

"It is true that a victim who fights back may suffer for it, but one who does not almost certainly will suffer for it" -Jeff Cooper

"Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands" -Jeff Cooper

Bruce Lee

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own”

― Bruce Lee

“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”

― Bruce Lee

"As you think, so you shall become."

― Bruce Lee

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George Washington

"To be prepared for war is the most effective means of maintaining peace" -George Washington

Tim Larkin

“We’re so used to equating “good guy” and “victim” that imagining ourselves on the winning end of a real, life-or-death fight seems impossible, almost forbidden. With that attitude, if you ever find yourself in a fight for your life, it’s basically over before it has even begun. Criminals never see themselves as the victim” - Tim Larkin

Jordan Peterson

A modern controversial figure who is absolutely right about the nature of cruelty.

"If you are not capable of cruelty, you are absolutely a victim to anyone who is" -Jordan Peterson

"The forces of tyranny expand to fill the space made available for their existence. People who refuse to muster self-protective responses are laid open to exploitation as much as those who genuinely can’t stand up for their own rights because of a more essential inability” -Jordan Peterson

Carl Von Clausewitz

"Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity." -Carl Von Clausewitz (On War)

"To secure peace is to prepare for war." -Carl Von Clausewitz

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nature has made up her mind that what cannot defend itself shall not be defended.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

John Dryden

"Self defense is natures eldest law" -John Dryden


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Written by Gemma Sheehan, founder of

Girls Who Fight.

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