The commentators, as well as the subsequent text, make it clear that this is the real meaning of 軍爭 Thus, Li Ch‘üan says that 爭 means 趨利 “marching rapidly to seize an advantage”; Wang Hsi says: 爭者爭利得利則勝 “‘Striving’ means striving for an advantage; this being obtained, victory will follow;” and Chang Yü: 兩軍相對而利也 “The two armies face to face, and each striving to obtain a tactical advantage over the other.” According to the latter commentator, then, the situation is analogous to that of two wrestlers manoeuvring for a “hold,” before coming to actual grips. In any case, we must beware of translating 爭 by the word “fighting” or “battle,” as if it were equivalent to 戰. Capt. Calthrop falls into this mistake.
1. Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands from the sovereign.
For 君 there is another reading 天, which Li Ch‘üan explains as 恭行天罰 “being the reverent instrument of Heaven’s chastisement.”
2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his camp.
Ts‘ao Kung takes 和 as referring to the 和門 or main gate of the military camp. This, Tu Mu tells us, was formed with a couple of flags hung across. [Cf. Chou Li, ch. xxvii. fol. 31 of the Imperial edition: 直旌門.] 交和 would then mean “setting up his 和門 opposite that of the enemy.” But Chia Lin’s explanation, which has been adopted