Sun Tzu said: The control of a large force
is the same principle as the control of a few men:
it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers.
Fighting with a large army under your command
is nowise different from fighting with a small one:
it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals.
To ensure that your whole host may withstand
the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken--
this is effected by maneuvers direct and indirect.
That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone
dashed against an egg--this is effected by the science
of weak points and strong.
In all fighting, the direct method may be used
for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed
in order to secure victory.
Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible
as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams;
like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew;
like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more.
There are not more than five musical notes,
yet the combinations of these five give rise to more
melodies than can ever be heard.
There are not more than five primary colors
(blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination
they produce more hues than can ever been seen.
There are not more than five cardinal tastes
(sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations
of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted.
In battle, there are not more than two methods
of attack--the direct and the indirect; yet these two
in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.
The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn.
It is like moving in a circle--you never come to an end.
Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?
The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent
which will even roll stones along in its course.
The quality of decision is like the well-timed
swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy
Therefore the good fighter will be terrible
in his onset, and prompt in his decision.
Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow;
decision, to the releasing of a trigger.
Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may
be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all;
amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without head
or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat.
Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline,
simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness
Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is
simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under
a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy;
masking strength with weakness is to be effected
by tactical dispositions.
Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy
on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to
which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something,
that the enemy may snatch at it.
By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march;
then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.
The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined
energy, and does not require too much from individuals.
Hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilize
When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting
men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones.
For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain
motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope;
if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if
round-shaped, to go rolling down.
Thus the energy developed by good fighting men
is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain
thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject