Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/84

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  1. 見勝不過衆人之所知非善之善者也
  2. 戰勝而天下曰善非善之善者也


his whereabouts. The 九地 of this passage have of course no connection with the 九地 “Nine situations” of chap. XI.

he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven.

Another metaphor, implying that he falls on his adversary like a thunderbolt, against which there is no time to prepare. This is the opinion of most of the commentators, though Ts‘so Kung, followed by Tu Yu, explains as the hills, rivers, and other natural features which will afford shelter or protection to the attacked, and as the phases of weather which may be turned to account by the attacking party. Capt. Calthrop’s “The skilful in attack push to the topmost heaven” conveys no meaning at all.

Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves; on the other, a victory that is complete.

Capt. Calthrop draws on a fertile imagination for the following: “If these precepts be observed, victory is certain.”


8. To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.

As Ts‘ao Kung remarks, 當見未萌 “the thing is to see the plant before it is germinated,” to forsee the event before the action has begun. Li Ch‘üan alludes to the story of Han Hsin who, when about to attack the vastly superior army of Chao, which was strongly entrenched in the city of 成安 Ch‘êng-an, said to his officers: “Gentlemen, we are going to annihilate the enemy, and shall meet again at dinner.” The officers hardly took his words seriously, and gave a very dubious assent. But Han Hsin had already worked out in his mind the details of a clever stratagem, whereby, as he foresaw, he was able to capture the city and inflict a crushing defeat on his adversary. For the full story, see 前漢書, chap. 34, 韓信傳. Capt. Calthrop again blunders badly with: “A victory, even if popularly proclaimed as such by the common folk, may not be a true success.”

9. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight and conquer and the whole Empire says, “Well done!”

True excellence being, as Tu Mu says: 陰謀潛運攻心伐謀勝敵之日曾不血刃 “To plan secretly, to move sur-