Yin and yang, dark and the Light, cold and hot, soft and hard. What on earth is an ordained Baptist minister doing studying Eastern philosophy? I’ve been taking a karate class at our church for some time now. I was reminded at our class last night of yin and yang. Yin and yang do not represent good and evil, as some think, but natural opposites. Last night some students were doing striking techniques and were very tight and tense. They were working extremely hard and sweating profusely. They were working too hard. Bruce Lee, in his book The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, says this: “The outstanding characteristic of the expert athlete is his ease of movement even during maximal effort. The novice is characterized by his tenseness, wasted motion and excess effort” (p. 43). In performing a strike there’s a place for soft and a place for hard. The extension of the technique should be soft, quick. The impact should be tight and hard. When we extend with our muscles all tense, we actually work against ourselves and slow the strike down. My wife and I were discussing this in the car on the way to work this morning. We agreed that this principle is true in many areas of life. Sometimes we put so much effort into something that we begin working against ourselves. We wear ourselves out without accomplishing anything. We waste ourselves for nothing. I’m working on “soft and hard” this week.