Joseph Cardillo has taught creative writing for 23 years and is a full professor of English and Creative Writing at Hudson Valley Community College of the State University of New York. He holds a black belt in Kenpo karate and has been head advisor and instructor to the college's martial arts club for more than 10 years.

This user-friendly paperback is designed for those who are interested in the philosophies behind the martial arts that can serve as a spur to self-improvement and spiritual development. The title of the book is taken from a quotation by Bruce Lee: "If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo." The image of water being both gentle and powerful appeals to the author who points to the celebration of this medium by Lao-Tzu and other Eastern sages.

Cardillo examines 16 core principles that are the heart and soul of the martial arts and have been passed down through the centuries by teachers and practitioners. They include find your center, avoid assumptions, observe and listen to others, control your urges, channel your energy, expand your comfort zones, overcome force with softness, go with the flow, and seek enlightenment. The author spices up the proceedings with lively and thought-provoking quotations, resolutions, and meditations.