My Own Notes

Please Login to save notes.

If you are not a registered user, then click here.

The Art of War
Sun Tzu

Previous Page 11 of 38 Next Page


Weakness and Strength

CHAPTER SUMMARY (6.01-6.36): Confronting a Stronger Adversary
The idea in this chapter is to practice active inaction. If yours is the weaker side, prevent your adversary from spotting your weaknesses. Meanwhile, identify your adversary's weaknesses. The first to arrive at the battlefield has the advantage. If your opponent is first, make its force come to you (move) while yours holds still. Stir your opponent's emotions with a threat or dangle the prospect of easy gain (instigate fear, greed). Bait the enemy to assess its strength and weaknesses. Strive to avoid your adversary's troops where they are strong; attack them where weak. Remember to conceal your strengths and weaknesses from your adversary. Do you see a quick way to settle the conflict? Take it speedily. Does the situation seem impossible for your side? Withdraw more quickly than the enemy can pursue you. Take an active role, whether you are defending or attacking. Attack your enemy's weak spots to optimize your strength/achieve a numerical edge in those spots. Strive to make the enemy defend itself. Concentrate your force at its weakest point, where its troops can least resist. Adjust your plans as you go; adapt to changes on both sides.


[6.01] Generally the one who first occupies the battlefield awaiting the enemy is at ease; the one who comes later and rushes into battle is fatigued.

[6.02] Therefore those skilled warfare move the enemy, and are not moved by the enemy.*

[6.03] Getting the enemy to approach on his own accord is a matter of showing him advantage; stopping him from approaching is a matter of showing him harm.*

[6.04] Therefore, if the enemy is at ease, be able to exhaust him; if the enemy is well fed, be able to starve him; if the enemy is settled, be able to move him; appear at places where he must rush to defend, and rush to places where he least expects.*

[6.05] To march over a thousand kilometers [≈ 621 miles] without becoming distressed, march over [territory] where the enemy is not present.

[6.06] To be certain to take what you attack, attack where the enemy cannot defend.

[6.07] To be certain of safety when defending, defend where the enemy cannot attack.

[6.08] Therefore, against those skilled in attack, the enemy does not know where to defend.

[6.09] Against those skilled in defense, the enemy does not know where to attack.

[6.10] Subtle, subtle; they become formless.* Mysterious, mysterious; they become soundless. Therefore, they are the masters of the enemy's fate.

[6.11] To achieve an advance that cannot be hampered, rush to his weak points. To achieve a withdrawal that cannot be pursued, depart with superior speed.

[6.12] Therefore, if we want to do battle, even if the enemy is protected by high walls and deep moats, he cannot but do battle, because we attack what he must rescue. If we do not want to do battle, even if we merely draw a line on the ground, he will not do battle, because we divert his movements.*



6.02 not moved by the enemy.  If yours is the weaker force, wait; make the enemy come to you.
6.03 stopping him from approaching.... To get an enemy to approach, con the enemy with an impression of easy gain; to stop an enemy approach, if only temporarily, pose a threat in some way.
6.04 rush to places where he least expects. The point here is to disorient and weaken the enemy.
6.10 they become formless. That is, they conceal themselves; they hide their strengths and weaknesses.
6.12 if we want to do battle...If we do not want to do battle. We can motivate an enemy to attack us or not. To get an enemy to attack, we can use indirection, attack something the enemy values. We can use the same ploy to save off an undesired enemy attack.

Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page
Go to page:   

Copyright © 2021 Gleeditions, LLC. All rights reserved.