1. Sun Tzu said: The control of a large force is the same principle
as the control of a few men: it is merely a question of dividing up
2. Fighting with a large army under your command is nowise
different from fighting with a small one: it is merely a question
of instituting signs and signals.
3. To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of the
enemy's attack and remain unshaken-- this is effected by maneuvers
direct and indirect.
4. That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone dashed
against an egg--this is effected by the science of weak points and
5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining
battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure
6. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as
Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like
the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four
seasons, they pass away to return once more.
7. There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations
of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be
8. There are not more than five primary colors (blue, yellow, red,
white, and black), yet in combination they produce more hues than
can ever been seen.
9. There are not more than five cardinal tastes (sour, acrid, salt,
sweet, bitter), yet combinations of them yield more flavors than
can ever be tasted.
10. In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack--the
direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to
an endless series of maneuvers.
11. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. It
is like moving in a circle--you never come to an end. Who can
exhaust the possibilities of their combination?
12. The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent which will
even roll stones along in its course.
13. The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a
falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
14. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible in his onset, and
prompt in his decision.
15. Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision,
to the releasing of a trigger.
16. Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may be seeming
disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid confusion and chaos,
your array may be without head or tail, yet it will be proof
18. Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply a question
of subdivision; concealing courage under a show of timidity
presupposes a fund of latent energy; masking strength with weakness
is to be effected by tactical dispositions.
19. Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move
maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will
act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at
20. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a
body of picked men he lies in wait for him.
21. The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined energy,
and does not require too much from individuals. Hence his ability
to pick out the right men and utilize combined energy.
22. When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting men become as it
were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a
log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move when
on a slope; if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if
round-shaped, to go rolling down.
23. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the
momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet
in height. So much on the subject of energy.