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Sun Tzu - Art of War
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Sun Tzu - Art of War

Sun Tzu said:
Seize opportunities so that others do not gain.
Take paths that are unexpected.
Attack locations that are unprotected.

Speed presides over the conditions of strategy,
when a swift challenge is necessary for survival.
And delay results in extinction.


Nine Classic Situations

Sun Tzu said:

In executing an artful strategy, there are situations that are; idle, simple, competitive, negotiable, serious, intersecting, obstructed, surrounded and desperate.

1. Idle situation: Challenge Not
When fighting within one's own territory.

2. Simple situation: Rest Not
When others approach but have not yet penetrated the territory.

3. Competitive situation: Attack Not
When we go forward and others can approach.



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4. Negotiable situation: Cease Not
When fighting for a position which both parties have an equal chance of winning.

5. Intersecting situation
Gather and Negotiate
When one captures a strategic position which is also important to surrounding states.

6. Serious situation: Seize
When others approach and penetrate the territory with strong fortifications behind them.

7. Obstructed situation: Move
When the way runs through mountains, forest, passes or marshes and generally difficult.

8. Surrounded situation: Scheme
When the approach to a location is difficult and a small force can confront a larger force.

9. Desperate situation: Challenge
A swift battle is necessary for survival when a delay, result in extinction.

Those skilled in execution of strategy seize opportunities so that others do not gain.

Speed presides over the condition of strategy.
Take ways that are unexpected and
attack locations that are unprotected.


Variations of the Nine Situations
Sun Tzu said:

Expand and manipulate the advantages and manage the conditions of others. Their study cannot be neglected.

1. Idle situation
Penetrate as a result of focus and lead by directing as one.

2. Simple situation
Penetrate superficially and lead by making use of others while they are approaching.

3. Competitive situation
Move forward by hurrying backup.

4. Negotiable situation
Move forward while attending to defenses.

5. Intersecting situation
Communicate all round and lead by improving connections.

6. Serious situation
Penetrate deeply and lead by maintaining the flow of provisions.

7. Obstructed situation
Move forward by advancing on the path.

8. Surrounded situation
Defend the exit and narrow the advance. And lead by blocking any opening.

9. Desperate situation
Press onward without a location and making it know that we may not survive.

Under conditions of strategy.

Those who are surrounded: Resist

Those who can neither gain nor stop: Fight

And those who are beyond their limit: Obey



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The serpent from Chang Mountain

Those skilled in the execution of strategy are like the "Shuoran" serpent of Chang Mountain.

Attack its head and the tail will strike. Attack its tail and the head will strike. Attack its middle, both head and tail will strike.

Can a strategy act the same as the "Shuoran"? Although the people of "Wu and Yue" are in rivalry, yet if they are sailing in the same boat and meet a storm, they will help each other, like the right hand assisting the left.

Hence, it is not enough to rely on troops to move in unison with wheeling chariots. In the management of situations, courage comes from acting as one; both weak and strong must succeed.

Those skilled in execution of strategy, lead the one, as if by hand. And when he gives the orders, a million responses the same.

Those who don't know the plan of other leaders
are not prepared to negotiate.

Those who don't know the mountains,
forest, passes and marshes,
are not able to move the force.

Those who don't employ local guides
are not able to gain advantage in the situation.





Strategy of Superior Commanders
Sun Tzu said:

Those who do not know each one of the Nine Classic Situation, cannot strategize.

The strategy of superior commanders is to thwart a large organization so that they cannot grow and to inspire awe among their opponents so that they do not unify.

To make a strategy work, consistently feign acceptance of the enemy's objectives and attack the enemy's as one.

The day, the order is initiated, close off the outside and void the passes. Do not send messages with envoys and rouse those at HQ to execute the order.

When the enemy's open a doorway, swiftly penetrate it. Locate beforehand their deepest attachments and inspire subtle expectations.

Follow the rules and accommodate the opponent, while working toward the decisive challenge.

First, appear as innocent
until the opponent opens the door.

Then spring a surprise like a hare,
let loose and attack the enemy off guard
to secure victory.


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