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Art of War:            
Art of War
by Sun Tzu
4) Tactical Dispositions
- Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put
themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of
defeating the enemy.
- To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our
own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
- Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself
against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.
- Security against defeat implies defensive
tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.
- Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient
strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength.
- The Leader who is skilled in defense hides in the
most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the
topmost heights of heaven. Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves; on
the other, a victory that is complete.
- What the ancients called a clever fighter is one
who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.
- Hence his victories bring him neither reputation
for wisdom nor credit for courage.
- He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making
no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy
that is already defeated.
- Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a
position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the
- In respect of military method, we have, firstly,
Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly, Balancing
of chances; fifthly, Victory.
- Measurement owes its existence to Earth;
Estimation of quantity to Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of quantity; Balancing of
chances to Calculation; and Victory to Balancing of chances.
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