Friday, August 24, 2018

Sun Tzu The Art of War



Something to Think About




Weak Points  and Strong


1.  Sun Tzu˘ said:  Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy,  will  be fresh  for the fight; whoever  is second in the field and has to hasten  to battle  will  arrive exhausted.


2.  Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will  on the enemy, but  does not allow the enemy’s will  to be imposed  on him.


3.  By holding out advantages  to him,  he can cause the enemy to approach of his own accord;  or, by inflicting damage,  he can make it impossible for the enemy to draw near.


4.  If  the  enemy  is taking his  ease, he can  harass  him; if  well supplied with  food, he can starve him  out; if quietly encamped, he can force him  to move.


5.  Appear  at  points which the  enemy  must hasten to  defend;

march  swiftly to places where you are not expected.


6.  An  army  may  march great  distances without distress, if  it marches  through country where the enemy is not.


7.  You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks  if you only attack  places which  are undefended.You can ensure the safety of your defence if you only hold positions that  cannot  be attacked.


8.  Hence that general  is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know  what  to defend;  and he is skillful in defence whose opponent does not know  what  to attack.


9.  O divine  art of subtlety and secrecy!  Through you we learn  to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.


10.  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.


11.  If we wish  to fight,  the enemy can be forced to an engagement  even though he be sheltered behind  a high rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is to attack  some other place that  he will  be obliged to relieve.


12.  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.  All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way.


13.  By discovering the enemy’s dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can  keep  our  forces  concentrated,  while  the enemy’s must  be divided.


14.  We can form  a single united body, while  the enemy must split  up into  fractions. Hence there  will  be a whole  pitted against separate parts  of a whole, which  means that  we shall be many to the enemy’s few.


15.  And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force with a superior one, our opponents will  be in dire straits.


16.  The spot where we intend  to fight must  not be made known; for then  the enemy will  have to prepare  against  a possible  attack at several different  points;  and his forces being thus distributed in many  directions, the numbers we shall have to face at any given point  will  be proportionately few.


17.  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.   If he sends reinforcements everywhere,  he will  everywhere  be weak.


18.  Numerical weakness  comes  from  having to prepare against

possible   attacks; numerical strength, from  compelling our adversary to make these preparations against  us.


19.  Knowing the place and the time  of the coming  battle, we may concentrate from  the greatest distances in order to fight.


20.  But  if neither time  nor place be known, then  the left wing will  be impotent to succour the right, the right  equally impotent to succour the left, the van unable  to relieve the rear, or the rear to support the van.  How much  more so if the furthest portions of the army  are anything under a hundred Li apart, and even the nearest  are separated  by several Li!


21.  Though according to my estimate the soldiers of Yüeh exceed our own in number, that  shall  advantage  them nothing in the matter of victory. I say then  that  victory can be achieved.


22.  Though the enemy  be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him  from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their  success.


23.  Rouse him,  and learn  the principle of his activity or inactivity.

Force him  to reveal  himself, so as to find  out  his  vulnerable spots.


24.  Carefully compare the opposing army  with your  own, so that you may know  where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.


25.  In  making tactical dispositions, the  highest pitch you  can attain is to conceal  them; conceal  your  dispositions, and you will  be safe from  the  prying of the  subtlest spies,  from  the machinations of the wisest brains.


26.  How victory  may be produced  for them out of the enemy’s own tactics that  is what  the multitude cannot  comprehend.


27.  All men can see the tactics whereby  I conquer, but  what none can see is the strategy  out of which  victory is evolved.


28.  Do not  repeat  the tactics which have gained  you one victory, but  let  your  methods be regulated by the  infinite  variety of circumstances.


29.  Military tactics are like  unto water;  for  water  in  its  natural

course runs  away from  high  places and hastens  downwards.


30.  So in war,  the way is to avoid what  is strong and to strike at what  is weak.


31.  Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which  it flows; the soldier works out his victory  in relation to the foe whom  he is facing.


32.  Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.


33.  He who  can  modify his  tactics in  relation to  his  opponent and thereby  succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.


34.  The five elements are not always equally predominant; the four seasons make way for each other in turn. There are short days and long; the moon has its periods  of waning  and waxing.

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