The Art Of War, Famous Book 10
- Sun Tzu said: We may distinguish six kinds of terrain,
- Accessible ground;
- entangling ground;
- temporizing ground;
- narrow passes;
- precipitous heights;
- positions at a great distance from the enemy.
- Ground which can be freely traversed by both sides
is called accessible.
- With regard to ground of this nature, be before the
occupying the raised and sunny spots, and carefully guard your line of
supplies. Then you will be
able to fight with advantage.
- Ground which can be abandoned but is hard to re-occupy
is called entangling.
- From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared,
may sally forth and defeat him. But if the enemy is prepared for your
coming, and you fail to
defeat him, then, return being impossible, disaster will ensue.
- When the position is such that neither side will
gain by making the first move, it is called temporizing ground.
- In a position of this sort, even though the enemy
us an attractive bait, it will be advisable not to stir forth, but
rather to retreat, thus enticing the
enemy in his turn; then, when part of his army has come out, we may
deliver our attack with advantage.
- With regard to narrow passes, if you can occupy them
first, let them be strongly garrisoned and await the advent of the enemy.
- Should the army forestall you in occupying a pass,
do not go
after him if the pass is fully garrisoned, but only if it is weakly
- With regard to precipitous heights, if you are beforehand
your adversary, you should occupy the raised and sunny spots, and there
wait for him to come
- If the enemy has occupied them before you, do not
follow him, but retreat and try to entice him away.
- If you are situated at a great distance from the
enemy, and the
strength of the two armies is equal, it is not easy to provoke a
battle, and fighting will be to
- These six are the principles connected with Earth.
who has attained a responsible post must be careful to study them.
- Now an army is exposed to six several calamities,
from natural causes, but from faults for which the general is
responsible. These are:
- Other conditions being equal, if one force is hurled
another ten times its size, the result will be the flight of the former.
- When the common soldiers are too strong and their
weak, the result is insubordination. When the officers are too strong
and the common soldiers
too weak, the result is collapse.
- When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate,
meeting the enemy give battle on their own account from a feeling of
resentment, before the
commander-in-chief can tell whether or no he is in a position to fight,
the result is ruin.
- When the general is weak and without authority; when
are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixes duties assigned to
officers and men, and
the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter
- When a general, unable to estimate the enemy's strength,
an inferior force to engage a larger one, or hurls a weak detachment
against a powerful one,
and neglects to place picked soldiers in the front rank, the result must
- These are six ways of courting defeat, which must
be carefully noted by the general who has attained a responsible post.
- The natural formation of the country is the soldier's
ally; but a power of estimating the adversary, of controlling the forces
of victory, and of shrewdly
calculating difficulties, dangers and distances, constitutes the test of
a great general.
- He who knows these things, and in fighting puts his
into practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor
practices them, will surely be
- If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you
even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory,
then you must not fight even at the
- The general who advances without coveting fame and
without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country
and do good service for
his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
- Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will
into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and
they will stand by
you even unto death.
- If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make
authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands; and
incapable, moreover, of
quelling disorder: then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt
children; they are useless for any practical purpose.
- If we know that our own men are in a condition to
are unaware that the enemy is not open to attack, we have gone only
halfway towards victory.
- If we know that the enemy is open to attack, but
that our own men are not in a condition to attack, we have gone only
halfway towards victory.
- If we know that the enemy is open to attack, and
also know that
our men are in a condition to attack, but are unaware that the nature
of the ground makes
fighting impracticable, we have still gone only halfway towards victory.
- Hence the experienced soldier, once in motion, is
never bewildered; once he has broken camp, he is never at a loss.
- Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know
victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you
may make your
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