VI. Weak points and strong.
Chang Yü attempts to explain the sequence of chapters as follows: “Chapter IV, on Tactical Dispositions, treated of the offensive and the defensive; chapter V, on Energy, dealt with direct and indirect methods. The good general acquaints himself first with the theory of attack and defence, and then turns his attention to direct and indirect methods. He studies the art of varying and combining these two methods before proceeding to the subject of weak and strong points. For the use of direct or indirect methods arises out of attack and defence, and the perception of weak and strong points depends again on the above methods. Hence the present chapter comes immediately after the chapter on Energy.”
1. Sun Tzŭ said: Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.
Instead of 處, the Yü Lan has in both clauses the stronger word 據. For the antithesis between 佚 and 勞, cf. I § 23, where however 勞 is used as a verb.
2. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.
The next paragraph makes it clear that 致 does not merely mean, as Tu Mu says, 令敵來就我 “to make the enemy approach me,” but rather to make him go in any direction I please. It is thus practically synonymous with 制. Cf. Tu Mu’s own note on V. § 19. One mark of a great soldier is that he fights on his own terms or fights not at all.
- See Col. Henderson’s biography of Stonewall Jackson, 1902 ed., vol. II, p. 490.