Saturday, February 27, 2010

294) Sun Tzu: The Art of War, 12

Chapter Eleven: Formation
Sun Tzu said:

The principles of warfare are:

There are dispersive ground, marginal ground, contentious ground, open ground, intersecting ground, critical ground, difficult ground, surrounded ground, and deadly ground. ?

Where the rulers do battle in their own ground, this is called dispersive ground.

Where one enters the other's ground but not deep, this is called marginal ground.

Where it is advantageous if you occupy it and it is advantageous if the enemy occupies it, this is called contentious ground.

Where one can come and go, this is called open ground. ?

Where ground is surrounded by others, and the first one to reach it will gain the support of the masses, this is called intersecting ground.

Where one enters deep into enemy ground, with many walled cities and towns to his back, this is called critical ground.

Where there are mountains and forests, defiles and ravines, swamps and wetlands, and places difficult to pass, this is called difficult ground. ?

Where the entrance is narrow, the exit circuitous, allowing the enemy to attack his few to our many, this is called surrounded ground.

Where if one who does battle with full force survives, and one who does not do battle with full force perishes, this is called deadly ground. ?

Therefore, on dispersive ground, do not do battle. ?

On marginal ground, do not stop. ?

On contentious ground, do not attack. ?

On open ground, do not become separated. ?

On intersecting ground, form alliances. ?

On critical ground, plunder. ?

On difficult ground, press on. ?

On surrounded ground, be prepared. ?

On deadly ground, do battle. ?

In ancient times, those skilled in warfare were able to prevent the unity of the enemy's front and back, the many and the few, the noble and the peasants, and the superiors and the subordinates. ?

Have the enemy be separated and unable to assemble;

if the enemy is assembled, it should not be organized. ?

Move when advantageous, stop when not advantageous. ?


If the enemy is large in number and advances, what should be the response?

I say:

Seize what he values, and he will do what you wish. ?

The essential factor in warfare is speed. ?

To take advantage of the enemy's lack of preparation, take unexpected routes to attack where the enemy is not prepared. ?

Generally, the Way of invading is when one has penetrated deep into enemy ground, the troops are united;

the defender will not be able to prevail. ?

If you plunder the fertile fields, the army will have enough provisions. ?

If you take care of your health, avoid fatigue, you will be united, and will build strength. ?

When moving troops and calculating plans, be formless. ?

Throw your troops into situations where there is no escape, where they will die before escaping.

When they are about to die, what can they not do?

They will exert their full strength. ?

When the troops are in desperate situations, they fear nothing;

having penetrated deep in enemy ground, they are united. ?

When there are no other alternatives, they will fight. ?

Therefore, though not disciplined, they are alert;

though not asked, they are devoted;

though without promises, they are faithful;

and though not commanded, they are trustworthy. ?

Prohibit omens, and get rid of doubts, and they will die without any other thoughts. ?

The soldiers do not have wealth, but not because they dislike material goods;

they do not live long, but not because they dislike longevity. ?

On the day the men are issued orders to do battle, the sitting soldiers' tears will soak their sleeves, and the lying soldiers' tears will roll down their cheeks. ?

However, if you throw them into a desperate situation, they will have the courage of Chuan Chu or Ts'ao Kuei. ?

Therefore, those skilled in warfare are like the shuaijan.

The shuaijan is a serpent on Mount Chang. ?

If you strike its head, its tail attacks;

if you strike its tail, its head attacks;

if you strike its middle, both the head and tail attack. ?


Can forces be made like the shuaijan?

I say:

They can.

The men of Wu and Yueh hated each other, however, encountering severe winds when crossing a river on the same boat, they assisted each other like left and right hands. ?

Therefore, hobbling horses and burying chariot wheels are not enough.

The Way of organization is uniting their courage, making the best of the strong and the weak through the principles of Ground. ?

Therefore, one who is skilled in warfare leads them by the hand like they are one person;

they cannot but follow. ?

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