I. START PLANNING
1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the
2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to
ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be
3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to
be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to
determine the conditions obtaining in the field.
4. These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The
Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
5. (5,6) The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with
their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their
lives, undismayed by any danger.
7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and
8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security;
open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.
9. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity,
benevolence, courage and strictness.
10. By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of
the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among
the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach
the army, and the control of military expenditure.
11. These five heads should be familiar to every commander: he who
knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will
12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the
military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in
13. (1) Which of the two sovereigns is ingrained with the Moral
(2) Which of the two commanders has most ability?
(3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and
(4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
(5) Which army is stronger?
(6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained?
(7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and
14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory
15. The commander who listens to my counsel and acts upon it, will
conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The commander that
listens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer
defeat:--let such a one be dismissed!
16. While heading the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of
any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules.
17. According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify
18. All warfare is based on deception. So,
when able to attack, we must seem unable;
when using our forces, we must seem inactive;
when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away;
when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
when seducible, trap the enemy;
when disorganized, capture him
when he is secure at all points, be prepared for him.
when he has superior strength, evade him
when your opponent is furious, seek to irritate him.
when he may grow arrogant, pretend to be weak.
when he is taking his ease, give him no rest.
when his forces are united, separate them.
where he is unprepared, attack him
where you are not expected, appear.
25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.
26. Now, the commander who wins a battle makes many calculations in
his temple before the battle is fought. The commander who loses a battle
makes only few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations
lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat.
What if there are no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.