do not all agree with regard to the meaning of ch‘i and chêng. 尉繚子 Wei Liao Tzŭ [4th cent. B.C.] says: 正兵貴先奇兵貴後 ‘Direct warfare favours frontal attacks, indirect warfare attacks from the rear.’ Ts‘ao Kung says: ‘Going straight out to join battle is a direct operation; appearing on the enemy’s rear is an indirect manœuvre.’ 李衛公 Li Wei-kung [6th and 7th cent. A.D.] says: ‘In war, to march straight ahead is chêng; turning movements, on the other hand, are ch‘i.’ These writers simply regard chêng as chêng, and ch‘i as ch‘i; they do not note that the two are mutually interchangeable and run into each other like the two sides of a circle [see infra, § 11]. A comment of the T‘ang Emperor T‘ai Tsung goes to the root of the matter: ‘A ch‘i manœuvre may be chêng, if we make the enemy look upon it as chêng; then our real attack will be ch‘i, and vice versâ. The whole secret lies in confusing the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.’” To put it perhaps a little more clearly: any attack or other operation is 正, on which the enemy has had his attention fixed; whereas that is 奇, which takes him by surprise or comes from an unexpected quarter. If the enemy perceives a movement which is meant to be 奇, it immediately becomes 正.
4. 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.
虛實, literally “the hollow and the solid,” is the title of chap. VI. 碫 tuan is the T‘u Shu reading, 碬 hsia that of the standard text. It appears from K‘ang Hsi that there had been much confusion between the two characters, and indeed, it is probable that one of them has really crept into the language as a mistake for the other.
5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory.
Chang Yü says: 徐發奇兵或擣其旁或擊其後 “Steadily develop indirect tactics either by pounding the enemy’s flanks or falling on his rear.” A brilliant example of “indirect tactics” which decided the fortunes of a campaign was Lord Roberts’ night march round the Peiwar Kotal in the second Afghan war.
- “Forty-one Years in India,” chap. 46.