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VI. WEAK POINTS AND STRONG
1. Sun Tzu 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.
2. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on
the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.
3. By holding out advantages to him, he can cause the enemy
to approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting damage,
he can make it impossible for the enemy to draw near.
4. If the enemy is taking his ease, he can harass him;
if well supplied with food, he can starve him out;
if quietly encamped, he can force him to move.
5. Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend;
march swiftly to places where you are not expected.
6. An army may march great distances without distress,
if it marches through country where the enemy is not.
7. You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks
if you only attack places which are undefended.You can
ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold
positions that cannot be attacked.
8. Hence that general is skillful in attack whose
opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful
in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
9. O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you
we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible;
and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.
10. You may advance and be absolutely irresistible,
if you make for the enemy's weak points; you may retire
and be safe from pursuit if your movements are more rapid
than those of the enemy.
11. If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced
to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high
rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is attack
some other place that he will be obliged to relieve.
12. If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent
the enemy from engaging us even though the lines
of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground.
All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable
in his way.
13. By discovering the enemy's dispositions and remaining
invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated,
while the enemy's must be divided.
14. We can form a single united body, while the
enemy must split up into fractions. Hence there will
be a whole pitted against separate parts of a whole,
which means that we shall be many to the enemy's few.
15. And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force
with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits.