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  • 1. 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.

  • 2. To secure ourselves against defeat lies

  • in our own hands, but the opportunity of

  • defeating the enemy is provided by the

  • enemy himself.

  • 3. Thus the good fighter is able to secure

  • himself against defeat, but cannot make

  • certain of defeating the enemy.

  • 4. Hence the saying: One may know how to

  • conquer without being able to do it.

  • 5. Security against defeat implies

  • defensive tactics; ability to defeat the

  • enemy means taking the offensive.

  • 6. Standing on the defensive indicates

  • insufficient strength; attacking, a

  • superabundance of strength.

  • 7. The general who is skilled in defense

  • hides in the most secret recesses of the

  • earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes

  • forth from the topmost heights of heaven.

  • Thus on the one hand we have ability to

  • protect ourselves; on the other, a victory

  • that is complete.

  • 8. To see victory only when it is within

  • the ken of the common herd is not the acme

  • of excellence.

  • 9. Neither is it the acme of excellence if

  • you fight and conquer and the whole Empire

  • says, "Well done!"

  • 10. 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.

  • 11. What the ancients called a clever

  • fighter is one who not only wins, but

  • excels in winning with ease.

  • 12. Hence his victories bring him neither

  • reputation for wisdom nor credit for

  • courage.

  • 13. He wins his battles by making no

  • mistakes.

  • Making no mistakes is what establishes the

  • certainty of victory, for it means

  • conquering an enemy that is already

  • defeated.

  • 14. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself

  • into a position which makes defeat

  • impossible, and does not miss the moment

  • for defeating the enemy.

  • 15. 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.

  • 16. The consummate leader cultivates the

  • moral law, and strictly adheres to method

  • and discipline; thus it is in his power to

  • control success.

  • 17. In respect of military method, we have,

  • firstly, Measurement; secondly, Estimation

  • of quantity; thirdly, Calculation;

  • fourthly, Balancing of chances; fifthly,

  • Victory.

  • 18. Measurement owes its existence to

  • Earth; Estimation of quantity to

  • Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of

  • quantity; Balancing of chances to

  • Calculation; and Victory to Balancing of

  • chances.

  • 19. A victorious army opposed to a routed

  • one, is as a pound's weight placed in the

  • scale against a single grain.

  • 20. The onrush of a conquering force is

  • like the bursting of pent-up waters into a

  • chasm a thousand fathoms deep.


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Chapter 04 - The Art of War by Sun Tzu - Tactical Dispositions

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    richardwang posted on 2014/03/21
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