1. Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands from the
2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must
blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching
3. After that, comes tactical maneuvering, than which there is
nothing more difficult. The difficulty of tactical maneuvering
consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune
4. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after enticing the
enemy out of the way, and though starting after him, to contrive to
reach the goal before him, shows knowledge of the artifice of
5. Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined
multitude, most dangerous.
6. If you set a fully equipped army in march in order to snatch an
advantage, the chances are that you will be too late. On the other
hand, to detach a flying column for the purpose involves the
sacrifice of its baggage and stores.
7. Thus, if you order your men to roll up their buff-coats, and
make forced marches without halting day or night, covering double
the usual distance at a stretch, doing a hundred LI in order to
wrest an advantage, the leaders of all your three divisions will
fall into the hands of the enemy.
8. The stronger men will be in front, the jaded ones will fall
behind, and on this plan only one-tenth of your army will reach its
9. If you march fifty LI in order to outmaneuver the enemy, you
will lose the leader of your first division, and only half your
force will reach the goal.
10. If you march thirty LI with the same object, two-thirds of your
army will arrive.
11. We may take it then that an army without its baggage-train is
lost; without provisions it is lost; without bases of supply it is
12. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the
designs of our neighbors.
13. We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are
familiar with the face of the country--its mountains and forests,
its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps.
14. We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless
we make use of local guides.
15. In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed.
16. Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be
decided by circumstances.
17. Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of
18. In raiding and plundering be like fire, in immovability like a
19. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you
move, fall like a thunderbolt.
20. When you plunder a countryside, let the spoil be divided
amongst your men; when you capture new territory, cut it up into
allotments for the benefit of the soldiery.
21. Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.
22. He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation. Such
is the art of maneuvering.
23. The Book of Army Management says: On the field of battle, the
spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the institution of
gongs and drums. Nor can ordinary objects be seen clearly enough:
hence the institution of banners and flags.
24. Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means whereby the ears
and eyes of the host may be focused on one particular point.
25. The host thus forming a single united body, is it impossible
either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to
retreat alone. This is the art of handling large masses of
26. In night-fighting, then, make much use of signal-fires and
drums, and in fighting by day, of flags and banners, as a means of
influencing the ears and eyes of your army.
27. A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-in-chief
may be robbed of his presence of mind.
28. Now a soldier's spirit is keenest in the morning; by noonday it
has begun to flag; and in the evening, his mind is bent only on
returning to camp.
29. A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when its spirit is
keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return.
This is the art of studying moods.
30. Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and
hubbub amongst the enemy:--this is the art of retaining
31. To be near the goal while the enemy is still far from it, to
wait at ease while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be
well-fed while the enemy is famished:--this is the art of
husbanding one's strength.
32. To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose banners are in
perfect order, to refrain from attacking an army drawn up in calm
and confident array:--this is the art of studying
33. It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy,
nor to oppose him when he comes downhill.
34. Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack
soldiers whose temper is keen.
35. Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with
an army that is returning home.
36. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a
desperate foe too hard.