To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear. Wordsworth Editions Ltd December 5, 1999. Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. . Carefully study the well-being of your men, and do not overtax them.
With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue. Ground on which we can only be saved from destruction by fighting without delay, is desperate ground. Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory. Now a soldier's spirit is keenest in the morning; by noonday it has begun to flag; and in the evening, his mind is bent only on returning to camp.
These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail. It continues to influence many competitive endeavors in the world, including culture, politics, business and sports, as well as modern warfare. As many as seven hundred thousand families will be impeded in their labor. If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. If, on the other hand, in the midst of difficulties we are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from misfortune. So much for river warfare. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.
If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers too weak, the result is collapse. His general , the strategist behind victories over and forces in , was likewise an avid student and practitioner of Sun Tzu's ideas. A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-in-chief may be robbed of his presence of mind. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. While we keep away from such places, we should get the enemy to approach them; while we face them, we should let the enemy have them on his rear. Skeptics who identify issues with the traditionalist view point to possible anachronisms in The Art of War including terms, technology such as anachronistic and the unmentioned , philosophical ideas, events, and military techniques that should not have been available to Sun Wu.
Because the gift is sent immediately, it cannot be returned or exchanged by the person giving the gift. According to Ralph Sawyer, it is very likely Sun Tzu did exist and not only served as a general but also wrote the core of the book that bears his name. You may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if you make for the enemy's weak points; you may retire and be safe from pursuit if your movements are more rapid than those of the enemy. The end and aim of spying in all its five varieties is knowledge of the enemy; and this knowledge can only be derived, in the first instance, from the converted spy. For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left.
Do not climb heights in order to fight. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain. Now the general is the bulwark of the State; if the bulwark is complete at all points; the State will be strong; if the bulwark is defective, the State will be weak. Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy:--this is the art of retaining self-possession. Shaw uses Capella's business card to surgically remove his tracking device, and gives the Triads a business proposition. Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.
Asked if an army can be made to imitate the shuai-jan, I should answer, Yes. The Army on the March 1. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made by a small force, in the end it must be captured by the larger force. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
If those who are sent to draw water begin by drinking themselves, the army is suffering from thirst. On serious ground, I would try to ensure a continuous stream of supplies. How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy's own tactics--that is what the multitude cannot comprehend. Ground on which each side has liberty of movement is open ground. Daoism is the central principle in the Art of War. So universal and timeless are its tactics for pursuing a competitive advantage that some of the most notable people in government, sports, and the entertainment world have all quoted from its nearly 2500-year-old pages. My notes are informal and often contain quotes from the book as well as my own thoughts.