In the old days, skillful fighters would create the conditions to make themselves invincible and then wait for the opportunity to defeat the enemy. It lies in our hands to secure such invincibility, but it depends on the enemy to have his weakness exposed, thus providing us with the opportunity to defeat him.
Therefore a skillful fighter is able to create the conditions to make himself invincible but unable to make the enemy bring about an opportunity to be defeated by him. In this respect, a commander can forecast victory, but he cannot guarantee its actual realisation.
Defence And Attack
When one wants to be invincible, he should be good at defending. When one wants to defeat the enemy, he should be good at attacking.
One sets up a defence when his strength is not enough; and launch an attack when his strength is the most powerful.
The one who is adept at defending himself should be like someone that hides deep underground where the enemy cannot even catch him on sight.
While one who is skillful in attack should be like someone who strikes from high in the sky, so swift and fierce that the enemy army has no way to protect himself.
In this way one can protect himself while achieving complete victory.
VictoryVictory that can be foreseen and predicted simply by ordinary people is not the acme of excellence. Nor is victory won only after fierce fighting, even if is praised by people all over the world. Likewise, being able to lift a length of fine fur does not signify great strength; being able to see the Sun and Moon does not signify good sight; and hearing a thunder bolt does not signify good hearing.
The Triumph ArmyIn ancient times, a skillful commander always created favourable conditions without attracting people's attention, thus defeating his enemy with ease. Consequently, his victory was characterized neither by reputation for his intelligence nor credit for his courage. He was confident of winning because he had taken measures in advance to subdue the enemy.Therefore he was able to triumph over his enemy who was doomed to defeat.
Accordingly, a wise commander will puts himself into a positions that makes defeated by the enemy impossible; and does not miss any opportunity to defeat the enemy.
Thus a triumph army will not fight until the conditions for victory are created; whereas an army is destined for defeat will always fight its opponent first, in the hope that he will win by sheer good luck !!
Estimation And CalculationsA skillful commander is always adept at cultivating morality among his soldiers and ensuring that the legal system is properly maintained. Therefore, he is able to control the outcome of the war.
In directing military operations , a commander must takes the following estimations and calculations :
- the size of the battlefield;
- the number of produces and materials required;
- the number of soldiers nd quantity of weapons;
- comparison of the military strength of both armies; and
- the possible outcome of the battle.
The size of the battlefield will determine the number of materials required; the number of materials ( food, armour..etc) needed will determine the number of soldiers supportable ; and the comparison of military strength of both sides will be fundamentally based on the number of soldiers, and thus, the outcome of the battle.
The Victorious ArmyTherefore a victorious army is far superior in strength to a defeated one, as one yi (one yi is equivalent to 576 zhu) balanced against one zhu and vice versa. In the battle, an army superior in strength is like a surging river that flows into an chasm from a height of one thousand ren(about 8,000 feet).
This is a tactical disposition, a display of formidable military power.