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Thirty-Six Strategies 1-4

1. Fool the Emperor to Cross the Sea

Moving about in the darkness and shadows, occupying isolated places, or hiding behind screens will only attract suspicious attention. To lower an enemy's guard you must act in the open hiding your true intentions under the guise of common every day activities.

2. Besiege Wei to Rescue Zhao
When the enemy is too strong to attack directly, then attack something he holds dear. Know that in all things he cannot be superior. Somewhere there is a gap in the armour, a weakness that can be attacked instead.

This strategy derives its name from a famous incident that occurred in 354 BC. At this time one of China's most renowned strategists, Sun Bin (A descendent of the even then famous Sun Zi) was an advisor to the king of Qi. Sun had earlier been at the court of Wei but another minister, Pang Juan, became jealous of Sun's cleverness. Through court intrigues he had Sun framed as a spy, sentenced to mutilation, and imprisoned. Sun escaped and fled to Qi. Several years later the king of Wei appointed the same Pang Juan as commander of the army and sent him to attack the capital of Zhao. The king of Zhao immediately appealed to Qi for help. The king of Qi consulted his advisors who all spoke in favour of rushing to aid their ally, only Sun Bin recommended against attacking. Sun advised: " To intervene between two warring armies is like trying to divert a tidal way by standing in its path. It would be better to wait until both armies have worn themselves out." The king agreed to wait.

The siege of Zhao had lasted more than a year when Sun Bin decided the time was ripe to come to Zhao's aid. The king of Qi appointed prince Tian Ji as general and Sun as military advisor. Tian Ji wanted to attack the Wei forces directly to lift the siege of Zhao, but again Sun advised against direct intervention saying: " Since most of Wei's troops are out of the country engaged in the siege, their own defence must be weak. By attacking the capital of Wei, we will force the Wei army to return to defend their own capital thereby lifting the siege of Zhao while destroying the Wei forces in turn." Tian Ji agreed to the plan and divided his army into two parts, one to attack the capital of Wei, and the other to prepare an ambush along the route to the capital.

When the Wei general Pang Juan heard that the capital was being attacked, he rushed his army back to defend the capital. Weakened and exhausted from the year long siege and the forced march, the Wei troops were completely caught by surprise in the ambush and suffered heavy losses. Chao was thus rescued while Pang Juan barely escaped back to Wei to recoup his losses. Sun Pin would later defeat his nemesis Pang Juan using another classic strategy.

3. Kill with a Borrowed Sword
When you do not have the means to attack your enemy directly, then attack using the strength of another. Trick an ally into attacking him, bribe an official to turn traitor, or use the enemy's own strength against him.
Warring States Era China

Chang Tuo defected from Western Zhou and went to Eastern Zhou where he revealed all of Western Zhou's state secrets. Eastern Zhou rejoiced while Western Zhou was furious. Minister Feng Chu said to the king of Western Zhou: "I can assassinate that man if your highness will give me thirty catties of gold." The king consented and the next day Feng Chu sent an agent to the Eastern Zhou court bearing the gold and a letter addressed to Chang Tuo. The letter read: `This is to remind Chang Tuo that you must complete your mission as soon as possible for the longer the delay the more likely you will be found out.' Before the first agent departed, Feng Chu then sent another agent to the Eastern Zhou border guards informing them that a spy would be crossing the border that night. When the second agent arrived at the border he was stopped and searched. The border guards found the gold and the letter to Chang Tuo and turned them over to the Zhou court officials. Shortly afterwards Chang Tuo was executed.

4. Await the Exhausted Enemy at Your Ease
It is an advantage to choose the time and place for battle. In this way you know when and where the battle will take place, while your enemy does not. Encourage your enemy to expend his energy in futile quests while you conserve your strength. When he is exhausted and confused, you attack with energy and purpose.
Chinese Folk Tale
The emperor Xuan of Zhou loved to gamble on cock fights and kept a stable of specially bred fighting roosters.
Although they were strong and fierce they would nevertheless lose against the roosters trained by Ji Xing Ze. The emperor therefore hired Ji to train his roosters.
Ten days had passed when the emperor went to the stables to ask if they were ready to fight.
"No." said Ji, " They are far too fierce and proud of their strength. They rush to attack even the slightest noise."
After another ten days passed the emperor returned to enquire again.
"Not yet. They are still haughty and jump at everything that moves."
After another ten days the emperor again asked the question.
"No, still not yet. Although they no longer rush to attack, they still raise their hackles and stare fiercely at the slightest provocation."
After yet another ten days the emperor again asked if the roosters were ready.
"Yes, they are nearly ready. Although some still crow from time to time, none ever change their countenance. From a distance they appear as steady is if they were made of wood. Before them, their untrained opponents would not dare accept their challenge and could only turn back and run."

十六计故事 1-4

第一计 瞒天过海


本指光天化日之下不让天知道就过了大海。形容极大的欺骗和谎言,什么样的欺骗手段都使得出来。
也指使用伪装的手段,利用机会,趁对方不注意的时候,出其不意的行动,让人措手不及。


第二计 围魏救赵

本指围攻魏国的都城以解救赵国。现借指用包超敌人的后方来迫使它撤兵的战术。
利用敌人的精锐去攻打别的国家,当二军相持不下时,趁隙攻占敌方的本土,待敌回国的时候,在途中予以迎头痛击,并把他们消灭掉,这是孙膑的做法。古时有名的有:孙膑围魏救赵。

第三计 借刀杀人

比喻自己不出面,假借别人的手去害人。
利用矛盾、反间、离间等谋略,巧妙的借用别国的力量,来击败敌人,并能保存自己的实力。

第四计 以逸待劳

指作战时不首先出击,养精蓄锐,以对付从远道来的疲劳的敌人。
占有利的形势,一面防止敌人的功击,一面养精蓄锐,等到敌人士气低落的时候,再采取主动攻击的策略。
 

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