Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/80

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  1. 故曰知彼知己百戰不殆不知彼而知己一勝一負不知彼不知己每戰必殆


for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

Chang Yü says: “If he can fight, he advances and takes the offensive; if he cannot fight, he retreats and remains on the defensive. He will invariably conquer who knows whether it is right to take the offensive or the defensive.”

(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.

This is not merely the general’s ability to estimate numbers correctly, as Li Ch’üan and others make out. Chang Yü expounds the saying more satisfactorily: “By applying the art of war, it is possible with a lesser force to defeat a greater and vice versá. The secret lies in an eye for locality, and in not letting the right moment slip. Thus Wu Tzŭ says: ‘With a superior force, make for easy ground; with an inferior one, make for difficult ground.’”

(3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.

Ts‘ao Kung refers 上下 less well to sovereign and subjects.

(4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.

(5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

Tu Yu quotes 王子 as saying: 指授在君決戰在將也 “It is the sovereign’s function to give broad instructions, but to decide on battle is the function of the general.” It is needless to dilate on the military disaster which have been caused by undue interference with operations in the field on the part of the home government. Napoleon undoubtedly owed much of his success to the fact that he was not hampered by any central authority, — that he was, in fact, and in one.

Victory lies in the knowledge of these five points.

Literally, “These five things are knowledge of the principle of victory.”


18. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred