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Secret Art of War - 36 Stratagems

Secret Art of War - 36 Stratagems

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Published by: ihernandez24 on Jul 06, 2009
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Secret Art Of War: 36 Stratagems
(By an unknown scholar round 300 years ago, either towards the end of MingDynasty or the beginning of Qing Dynasty)
Six multiplied by six equals thirty-six. Calculations produce tactics which in turnproduces calculations. Each side depends upon the other. Based on thiscorrelative relationship, ploys against the enemy are devised. Rigid applicationsof military theory will only result in defeat on the battlefield.
Stratagems When In Superior Position 
- Cross the sea under camouflage- Besige Wei to rescue Zhao- Kill with a borrowed knife- Wait at ease for the fatigued enemy- Loot a burning house- Make a feint in the east while attacking in the west
1) Cross the sea under camouflage
The perception of perfect preparation leads to relaxed vigilance. The sight of common occurrences leads to slackened suspicion. Therefore secretmachinations are better concealed in the open than in the dark, and extremepublic exposures often contain extreme secrecy. (used in AD 589)
2) Besiege Wei to save Zhao
It is wiser to launch an attack against the enemy forces when they are dispersedthan to fight them when they are concentrated. He who strikes first fails and hewho strikes late prevails.( used in 354 BC)
3) Kill with a borrowed knife
Your enemy's situation is clear but your ally's stand is uncertain. At this time,induce your ally to attack your enemy in order to preserve your strength. Indialectic terms. Another man's loss is your gain.
4) Wait at ease for the fatigued enemy
To weaken the enemy, it is not necessary to attack him directly. Tire him bycarrying out an active defence, and in doing so, his strength will be reduced, andyour side will gain the upper hand. This is weakening the strong to benefit theweak.
5) Loot a burning house
When the enemy falls into severe crisis, exploit his adversity and attack by directconfrontation. This is strong defeating the weak. (used in 499BC)
6) Make a feint in the east while attacking in thewest
When the enemy command is in confusion, it will be unprepared for anycontingencies. The situation is like flood water rising higher and higher; likely toburst the dam at any time. When the enemy loses internal control, take thechance to destroy him. (used in AD 200)
Stratagems for Confrontation 
- Create something out of nothing- Advance to Chenchang by a hidden path- Watch the fire burning across the river - Conceal a dagger in a smile- Sacrifice the plum for the peach- Lead away a goat in passing
7) Create something out of nothing
Design a counterfeit front to put the enemy off guard. When the trick works, thefront is changed into something real so the enemy will be thrown into a state of double confusion. In short, deceptive appearances often conceal someforthcoming dangers. (used in AD 756)
8) Advance to Chencang by a hidden path
To pin down the enemy, expose part of your action deliberately, so that you canmake a surprise attack somewhere else.
9) Watch the fire burning across the river
When a serious conflicts breaks out within the enemy alliance, wait quietly for thechaos to build up. Because once its internal conflict intensifies, the alliances willbring destruction upon itself. As for you, observe closely and make anypreparations for any advantage that may come from it.
10) Conceal a dagger in a smile
One way or another, make the enemy trust you and thereby slacken hisvigilance. Meanwhile, plot secretly, making preparations for your future action toensure its success. In this stratagem, one conceals one's hostility by assumingoutward friendliness. (used in 341 BC)
11) Sacrifice the peach for the plum
When loss is inevitable, sacrifice the part for the benefit of the whole.
12) Lead away a goat in passing
Exploit any minor lapses on the enemy side, and seize and advantage to your side. Any negligence of the enemy must be turned into a benefit for you. (used in770 BC)
Stratagems for Attack 
- Beat the grass to startle the snake- Raise a corpse from the dead- Lure the tiger out of the mountain- Let the enemy off in order to snare him- Cast a brick to attract a gem- To catch rebel, nab their leader first
13) Beat the grass to startle the snake
 Any suspicion about the enemy's circumstances must be investigated. Beforeany military action, be sure to ascertain the enemy's situation; repeatedreconnaissance is an effective way to discover the hidden enemy. (used in 627BC)

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