Six times six is thirty six, calculations exist within techniques, techniques exist within calculations. Yin & Yang harmonize, the mechanism is located within emptiness. This mechanism should not be displayed, if displayed it won’t hit the mark. •
•勝戰計/Sheng Zhan Ji – Victorious Battle Stratagems•
瞞天過海/Man Tian Guo Hai – Decieve Heaven to Cross the Sea
Original Text: Thorough preparation leads to lax intent; common sights aren’t doubted. Yin exists within Yang, not as Yang’s opposite. Tai Yang, Tai Yin.
Analysis: When defensive preparation is thoroughly maintained negligence is even more likely; when accustomed to something it’s even easier to lose alertness. Secrets exist hidden within public things, not exposed on the outside. Develop in public until ready, then reveal the secret hidden beneath the surface situation.
圍魏救趙/Wei Wei Jiu Zhao – Besiege Wei to Rescue Zhao
Original Text: A unified enemy is not as good as a divided enemy; resisting Yang is not as good as resisting Yin.
Analysis: Directly attacking a concentrated & powerful enemy force is not as good as first planning to disperse it, then seperately striking & breaking them; seizing the initiative to go forth & attack the enemy is not as good as waiting for the enemy’s weak points to be exposed, then afterwards annihilating the enemy at the opportune moment.
借刀殺人/Jie Dao Sha Ren – Borrow a Knife to Kill a Person
Original Text: When the enemy is already clear determine who his friends are, then guide a friend to kill the enemy, with no exertion on your part, using the implications of “Sun.”
Analysis: When your enemy’s situation is already clear but his allies’ attitude is not yet stable, you should guide his ally into going all out to kill the enemy without having to send your own troops to attack, allowing you to conserve your own strength. This is based on the Yi Jing. Sun Gua’s “First decrease, then increase” principle has clear implications, using other people’s loss as one’s own benefit is the method.
以逸待勞/Yi Yi Dai Lao – Wait at Ease for an Exhausted Enemy
Original Text: To impair the enemy’s momentum don’t use battle; decrease hardness & increase softness.
Analysis: It isn’t necessary to directly attack the enemy in order to force him into difficult circumstances, it’s possible, using the principle of the mutual transformation of Hard & Soft, to implement a vigorous defense & gradually consume the exhausted enemy, causing his strength to transform into weakness, while our passivity transforms into action.
趁火打劫/Chen Huo Da Jie – Loot a Burning House
Original Text: When the enemy is in great trouble take advantage of the situation to profit. Surely, the hard will break the soft.
Analysis: When the enemy is suffering a calamity you should take the opportunity to attack & seize victory. This is exactly what it means to seize the opportunity in battle, use strength to attack weakness, subduing the enemy & controling victory tactically.
聲東擊西/Sheng Dong Ji Xi – Threaten the East, Strike the West
Original Text: A disordered will & confused focus will have no contingencies, the image of Kun below & Dui above; profit from his lack of independence & take him.
Analysis: When the enemy is already in chaos, facing an entirely unexpected situation he finds hard to judge & deal with, this is Yi Jing’s Cuì Gua, which says that this sort of chaos indicates an army’s collapse. You should exploit this loss of control & take the opportunity to annihilate it.
•敵戰計/Dí Zhan Ji – Engaging Battle Stratagems•
無中生有/Wu Zhong Sheng You – Create Something From Nothing
Original Text: There is deception, there is “not deception,” truth is found within deception. Xiao Yin, Tai Yin, Tai Yang.
Analysis: Create a false appearance to deceive the enemy that isn’t actually false in the end, rather by ingeniously transforming fake into real, empty into solid, you use a false appearance to conceal the reality of the situation, causing the enemy’s misperception.
暗渡陳倉/An Du Chen Cang – Secretly Cross to Chen Cang
Original Text: Reveal it using movement, profit from stillness & be master, “Increasing movement causes obedience.”
Analysis: Deliberately reveal your frontal attack operation, using the opportunity of the enemy’s entrenched defense, divide your forces, outflank the opposition & unleash an unexpected attack from behind, winning by a surprise move.
隔岸觀火/Ge An Guan Huo – Watch the Fire on the Other Shore
Original Text: As Yang’s perversity leads to chaos, Yin thereby intends to rebel. Ruthless, doing as they please, without inhibitions, they move toward self destruction. Submit in order to move freely, freely follow in order to make use.
Analysis: While the enemy is internally divided, in times of social disorder, you should calmly wait for the situation to continually worsen. When the enemy’s people become violent & savage, fighting each other out of mutual animosity, they will undoubtedly dig their own graves. According to the principle of Yi Jing’s Yu Gua, adapt to the developments of the enemy’s situation, benefiting from others’ disputes.
笑裡藏刀/Xiao Li Cang Dao – Hide a Knife Behind a Smile
Original Text: Profess your faith & calm him, secretly scheme against him; prepare & then move, don’t allow changes, this is hardness inside softness outside.
Analysis: Make the enemy trust you by attaching importance to friendship, causing him to relax & become negligent, while actively scheming in secret to destroy his plans, after going through sufficient preparations suddenly move without allowing the enemy to become aware, internally conceal your intent to kill, externally show gentle compliance.
李代桃僵/Li Dai Tao Jiang – The Plum Withers instead of the Peach
Original Text: When harm is unavoidable then harm Yin to benefit Yang.
Analysis: During Battle, when in a situation where suffering damage is inevitable, you must sacrifice a part in order to gain benefit for the overall situation.
順手牽羊/Shun Shou Qian Yang – Lead Away a Goat in Passing
Original Text: Small gaps must be used; small gains must be acquired. Xiao Yin, Xiao Yang.
Analysis: When you discover minute gaps in the enemy you must take advantage of them; when you discover a small advantage for your side you must do everything possible to obtain it. Transform the enemy’s small mistakes into your small victories.
•攻戰計/Gōng Zhan Ji – Attacking Battle Stratagems•
打草驚蛇/Da Cao Jing She – Beat the Grass to Startle the Snake
Original Text: When in doubt knock on something solid, observe & then move; doing this repeatedly is surely the means to reveal the hidden.
Analysis: When in doubt you must immediately clarify the situation, wait for the circumstances to be investigated thoroughly then move; repeatedly investigate the situation to understand the enemy’s position, discovering his hidden schemes.
借屍還魂/Jie Shi Huan Hun – Borrow a Corpse to Reincarnate
Original Text: Those who are useful cannot be borrowed; look to borrow those who are useless. Borrow the useless & exploit them, you don’t seek out the ignorant, they will seek you out.
Analysis: To some extent achievers are difficult to control & cannot be exploited; the irresponsible, who excessively depend on others, are likely to ask you for help, they can be completely controlled & exploited. When taking advantage of this irresponsibility, don’t allow others to control you, rather you should control others.
調虎離山/Diao Hu Li Shan – Lead the Tiger Out of the Mountains
Original Text: Wait for Heaven in order to trap him, use people in order to tempt him. “Going is unlucky, Arriving is restorative.”
Analysis: When natural conditions change, allowing the enemy to bring about a difficult situation, use an artificial facade to lure him into a trap. When a frontal assault is dangerous then try to draw the enemy out & annihilate him.
欲擒故縱/Yu Qin Gu Zong – To Capture, First Release
Original Text: Pressure leads to resistance; running leads to dispersed momentum, follow closely but don’t press. Wear down his vigor, diminish his will to fight, disperse & then capture, an effortless victory. In need there is trust & light.
Analysis: If you press the enemy too closely it’s possible to suffer a counter attack; allowing him to escape can weaken his vigor, but you must follow closely behind, causing him to use up his physical strength, to achieve “no blood on the men’s swords,” & be victorious. This is Yi Jing’s Xu Gua principle.
拋磚引玉/Pao Zhuan Yin Yu – Throw out a Brick to Attract Jade
Original Text: Use a resemblance to entice him, then strike & stun him.
Analysis: Use unusual images that resemble an object to entice the enemy, causing him to be ignorantly taken in & cheated.
擒賊擒王/Qin Zei Qin Wang – Seize the Bandits by Seizing the Leader
Original Text: To break their resolve, seize their leader in order to to dissolve the group, like a dragon fighting in a field, their skills will be poor.
Analysis: To destroy an enemy’s main force, catch their chief in order to crush its strength. Just like a dragon fighting on dry land, they won’t be able to use their capabilities & will fall into a similar impasse.
•混戰計/Hun Zhan Ji – Muddled Battle Stratagems•
釜底抽薪/Fu Di Chou Xin – Steal the Firewood Beneath the Pot
Original Text: If you cannot match his strength, then eliminate his momentum, the image of Dui below & Qian above.
Analysis: When two armies confront each other, do not directly oppose the enemy’s vanguard, rather try to weaken their vigor via the number one basic, that is employing the use softness to conquer hardness method to subdue the enemy.
混水摸魚/Hun Shui Mo Yu – Trouble the Water to Catch Fish
Original Text: Make use of his internal confusion, benefit from his weakness & lack of control. Sui, face the night & enter repose.
Analysis: Take advantage of the enemy’s outbreak of internal chaos, exploit his weakness, it isn’t the time to be opinionated, cause him to submit to you just as people follow the natural order, like work & rest naturally follow each other.
金蟬脫殼/Jin Chan Tuo Qiao – Golden Cicada Sheds it’s Shell
Original Text: Keep up the shape, maintain the appearance; friends won’t doubt & enemies won’t move. The new arises from stagnation.
Analysis: Preserve your original position, demeanor, & outward appearance, causing your allies to be free of doubt & enemies to not dare to act rashly, then secretly withdraw your main force to strike the enemy elsewhere at a later time.
關門捉賊/Guan Men Zhuo Zei – Bar the Door to Catch a Thief
Original Text: Surround a small enemy. Bo, it is disadvantageous to cover long distances.
Analysis: When facing a small & weak enemy, you must surround & annihilate them. Additionally, small scattered enemy units, although individually weak, are still flexible, & when used deceptively can be difficult to defend against, making it inadvisable to urgently chase over great distances & attempt to overtake them.
遠交近攻/Yuan Jiao Jin Gong – Befriend the Far, Attack the Near
Original Text: If your formation is restricted & momentum hindered, it is advantageous to take what is near, thereby keeping harm at a distance. Fire above, a pool below.
Analysis: When your combat objectives are limited by geographical conditions, attacking a nearby enemy is advantageous while attacking a distant enemy is harmful. Oppose a distant enemy later can be advantageous, as it is possible to form a temporary alliance.
假道伐虢/Jia Dao Fa Guo – Borrow a Path to Conquer Guo
Original Text: When a small state is caught between two great powers, & the enemy makes threats in order to gain obedience, you can use the situation deceptively. Kun, there are words but no trust.
Analysis: If a small state is located between two larger states, should the enemy attempt to threaten it into capitulation, you must immediately send troops to offer aid, using the pretext as an opportunity to expand your influence, in order to be in the proper place to deal with that country’s predicament, for if there are only verbal promises & no actual action it is unlikely that you will really gain their trust.
•並戰計/Bing Zhan Ji – Combined Battle Stratagems•
偷梁換柱/Tou Liang Huan Zhu -Steal the Beam, Replace the Pillar
Original Text: Cause frequent changes to his troop disposition, uproot his elites, await his self destruction & then take advantage of him. This is putting on the brakes.
Analysis: Cause the enemy to frequently alter his battle formation in order to remove & exchange his main force, await his self destruction, then seize the opportunity to subdue him. This is just like putting the brakes on a large chariot, then you can exercise control over his movements in the same way.
指桑罵槐/Zhi Sang Ma Huai – Point at the Mulberry, Curse the Locust
Original Text: The great insult inferiors, using a warning in order to persuade them. Strength leads to agreement, rugged behavior leads to obedience.
Analysis: For the strong to scare the weak into submission it is necessary to use a warning as a means of bringing them around. Facing them with an unyielding manner can obtain their allegiance; resolute courage can cause them to believe.
假癡不癲/Jia Chī Bu Dian – Feigned Madness Isn’t Crazy
Original Text: Fake peace, pretend not to know, & do not act, don’t falsify counterfeit knowledge & act rashly; stillness won’t reveal your intention, like clouds & thunder bringing difficulty.
Analysis: It is preferable to pretend not to know & not move, you must not feign knowledge & rush into action indiscriminately; secretly plan without showing your intentions, just as winter thunderstorms store up power intending to release it.
上屋抽梯/Shang Wu Chou Ti – Climb to the Roof, Remove the Ladder
Original Text: Deceive him in order to incite him to advance, cut off his aid’s ability to respond, & he will die in the trap. This is encountering poison in an unsuitable place.
Analysis: Deliberatly allow the enemy to take advantage of an opportunity, entice him to deeply penetrate your side & cut off his back up, causing him to fall into an impasse & encounter disaster. This is the result of greedily pursuing undeserved gains.
樹上開花/Shu Shang Kai Hua – Deck the Tree with Fake Blossoms
Original Text: Borrow a situation spread your influence, though your power is small your influence will be large. The wild goose gradually leaves the land, its feathers may be used in rites.
Analysis: Draw support from other circumstances to successfully lay out an advantageous battle array, causing a smaller & weaker military force to display the imposing manner of a larger force. In that case, resemble the vast sky when arranging the troop disposition, just as a flock of wild geese relies on their wings & formation, to foster an imposing manner.
反客為主/Fan Ke Wei Zhu – Reverse Guest & Host
Original Text: Seize the opportunity to step in, grasp his main engine, this is gradually advancing.
Analysis: Take advantage of contact in order to gain the time to open a gap, then step in & go, make steady progress incrementally to exercise control over his leadership, thereby spontaneously seizing authority.
•敗戰計/Bai Zhan Ji – Losing Battle Stratagems•
美人計/Mei Ren Ji – Beauty Stratagem
Original Text: If an army is strong, attack it’s general; if the general is wise, cut down his emotions. If the general is feeble the army will collapse, their power naturally withered. Take advantage of this to resist invasion, & arrange mutual defense.
Analysis: When faced with formidable military strength, you must subdue its commander in chief; when faced with a resourceful commander in chief, you must weaken his will to fight. When the commander in chief’s will to fight is weak, & the soldier’s morale is depressed, the army in that case will lose its fighting strength. Exploit the enemy’s weak points to advance his division & collapse, in that case it’s possible to conveniently preserve one’s own strength.
空城計/Kong Cheng Ji – Empty City Stratagem
Original Text: The weak displays his weakness, doubt within gives birth to doubt; along the border of Hard & Soft, strangeness gives rise to the wonderful.
Analysis: When your military strength is weak, in order to retreat put forth an appearance of even more weakness to cause the enemy serious doubt; in circumstances where the enemy is strong & I am weak, cleverly using this tactic can accomplish something more wonderful than you can imagine.
反間計/Fan Jian Ji – Dissention Stratagem
Original Text: Create doubt within his doubt. Associate with them from within, surely you won’t be at a loss.
Analysis: While the enemy is trying to use deceptive tricks I suffer them & deploy a layer of “dense fog,” taking the opportunity to exploit the enemy’s internal communication & spies to assist me in my work, then it is possible to effectively defend & keep myself intact to strive for victory.
苦肉計/Ku Rou Ji – Self Harm Stratagem
Original Text: People do not harm themselves, so you must receive a genuine injury; fake or real, real or fake, it must be competently executed in order to gain by sowing discord. The luck of the young & ignorant, arrange to use his obedience.
Analysis: People normally do not harm themselves, whether genuinely real or deceptively false it causes the enemy to take it as true, you must be capable of driving a wedge between friends & allies with this scheme in order to achieve it & take advantage of the enemy’s weak point. It’s like handling an ignorant young child, go along with his ideas, as soon as he trusts you arrange to spread trouble.
連環計/Lian Huan Ji – Interlocking Stratagems
Original Text: When faced with many generals & numerous soldiers, you may not be able to withstand them, cause them to wear themselves out in order to reduce their momentum. Within the midst of the army, good fortune, he receives Heaven’s favor.
Analysis: When the enemy troops are powerful you should not obstinately go all out, instead you ought to use a stratagem to make them impede one another, weakening or eliminating their fighting strength. A Commander in Chief who is wise & leads properly is able to overcome the enemy & control victory as if he has Heaven’s assistance.
走為上計/Zuo Wei Shang Ji – Running is the Best Stratagem
Original Text: The entire army avoids the enemy, there is no blame for it doesn’t deviate from the normal.
Analysis: In circumstances where the enemy is strong & I am weak, in order to preserve myself I must actively retreat & wait for an opportunity to defeat the enemy. This is applying the military method of using retreat as advance, which is not contrary to the normal use of military law.