Monday, November 10, 2008


Sun Zi said : 

To manage a military unit with many soldiers as easily as one with a few is a matter of sound organisation. To command any army with many soldiers as easily as one with easily as one with only a few is a matter of strict command. To ensure the army of the whole state to be able to withstand attack without suffering defeat is a matter of the correct application of 'direct' and 'indirect' stratagems. When attacking the enemy, to ensure the army to be as invincible as a stone striking an egg is a matter of the correct application of 'weak' and 'strong' tactics.

Generally, in war, the two belligerent parties will meet each other with their regular troops, while seeking to gain victory with ruses or ingenious military moves.

To the military commander who is adept at winning victory by making surprise moves, tactics are as inexhaustible as the change of Universe, unending as the flow of rivers and streams. They end and begin again like the motions of the Sun and Moon; pass away and return once more like the change of the four seasons.

  Combination OF Five

There are no more than five musical notes, but the various combination of them give rise to more melodies than ever be heard. There are only five primary colours, yet they produce more hues than can ever be seen when blended together. There are only five tastes, but the mixture of them can make more flavours than can ever be tasted.

  Direct And Indirect Attack

In battle, however, there are only two kinds of attack - the direct and the indirect; yet the various combinations of these two can be endless! The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn, like moving in a circle. Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combinations ?

The rushing water flows at such a high speed that it can even move rocks in its way because of its strong mass potential ! The fierce falcon attacks at such a rapid swoop that it can strike and destroy the victim because of its rapid timing.

  Military Superiority

Accordingly, the military commander who is well-versed in the art of war must be able not only to concentrate military superiority but to carry out swift and violent attack. To concentrate on military superiority is like a fully drawn crossbow, while the timing of swift and violent attack is like the release of the trigger !!

While fighting with a large army under his command in a chaotic battle, the commander must try to prevent his army from being thrown into confusion; to fight under uncertain circumstances, the commander must deploy his army in such a way that it can deal with enemies from all directions, leaving no opening for the enemy to exploit !


Stimulated disorder postulates perfect discipline; simulated cowardice postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength. Hiding perfect discipline beneath the cloak of disorder is a deceptive appearance stemming from organisation; concealing courage under a show cowardice is a deceptive appearance from the potential of an army's morale; masking strength with weakness is deceptive appearance stemming from military strength.

Therefore, the commander who is skillful in luring the enemy will maintain deceptive appearances to delude the enemy, and baits a trap for the enemy, the enemy will surely be caught. He manoeuvres the enemy with small sacrifices, and waits for the right movement to make a sudden ambush !!

As the saying goes " lay out long string to catch the big fish"

  Favourable Situations

A skillful commander will be able to create the favourable situation to defeat the enemy instead of making excessive demands on the troops that he commands. Consequently, he is able to take individual talent into account, and use each man according to his qualifications and talents, thus making full use of favourable situations.

The commander who is able to make full use of favourable situations makes his soldiers like rolling logs or rocks in battle. It is the nature of the logs and rocks to stay stationary when laying on flat ground, and to roll forward when on a slope. Logs and rocks that are squared-shaped are apt to come to a standstill, but the round ones are apt to continue rolling forward.

It follows in a battle, the favourable situation that a skillful commander creates is just like a round rock that quickly tumble from a high mountain; nothing can stop it !

This is what is called potential energy in military operations.

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