Introduction to Softness

People often think that being soft is a disadvantage, the word itself often has negative connotations. I’ll explain here why I think that softness is actually a very positive thing, especially when in balance with hardness.


Maybe its a good idea to think about what hardness means first. Imagine that you hold all your muscles tight so that your whole body is rigid and hard. Then think about what that means during life

  1. moving around obstacles is like dragging a plank of wood against railings: bang bang bang!
  2. if you knock into something that doesn’t move then you get pushed over by it – after a collision: bang!

And we’re not just talking about physical hardness. Many people freeze what their ideas of the world are and think that they know it all. This stops them from experiencing any new ideas or systems of thought that could be potentially very rewarding for them.


water is often thought of as the ultimate in softness. You throw something into water and it gives way, letting the object pass through easily. It moves around rocks in its path as a stream and reforms around it afterwards. Yet water is one of the most powerful forces in nature; crashing into coastland and eroding granite water beds.

In life its much better to flow around the objects and reform afterwards. Taking on board what that particular rock has taught us. We don’t get hurt if we’re soft and we’re open to new ideas.


Of course, we’re not like water. We get up and move around – and its our integral hardness (skeleton) that allows this. So for us, its much harder to learn to be soft because we need to balance softness with hardness. Being completely soft as a person is being weak, about as useless as being completely hard.


I’m training my body and mind to be softer by trying to keep an open mind, and practicing contact juggling, contact dance and Wing Tsun. I’m sure there are plenty of other ways. If you’re doing something to get a better balance, please get in touch and tell me!

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