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Home History and Culture Thirty-Six Strategies 33-36
Thirty-Six Strategies 33-36
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

33.The Strategy Of Sowing Discord

Undermine your enemy's ability to fight by secretly causing discord between him and his friends, allies, advisors, family, commanders, soldiers, and population. While he is preoccupied settling internal disputes his ability to attack or defend, is compromised.

This is an episode from the Three Kingdoms. Cao cao sent a letter to Zhou Yu to summon him to surrender. Zhou Yu tore Cao's letter to pieces. Zhou Yu's classmate, Jiang Gan, was working for Cao Cao as an adviser, Jiang offered to travel to Wu to persuade Zhou Yu to surrender. One day while Zhou Yu was discussing with his subordinates how to defeat Cao Cao, he was told that Jiang Gan had come to see him. Zhou immediately figured out that Jiang must have come to persuade him to surrender. Zhou Yu devised a clever plan to thwart his efforts and enlisted the help of his subordinate to carry it out. Then he went to meet Jiang Gan all smiles. Zhou Yu took Jiang Gan's hands and marshaled him into his tent and treated him to a banquet. When all his generals and subordinates came for dinner, Zhou Yu told those around the table: "This is an old friend or mine. Though he came from the Cao Cao camp, he did not come to persuade me to surrender. Please do not suspect him." After the banquet, Zhou Yu pretended that he had too much and invited Jiang Gan to his bedroom for a rest. Zhou Yu soon pretended to have fallen asleep. Jiang Gan took this chance to thumb through Zhou Yu's documents. He was shocked to find a letter from Cai Mao and Zhang Yun, two generals of the Cao camp, who had written Zhou Yu to surrender. Jiang hid letter of surrender in his pocket and returned to the bed, pretending that he was sill asleep.

After midnight, someone sneaked into Zhou Yu's tent and woke him up, telling him "A messenger came from the Cao camp to say that Cai Mao and Zhang Yun were not yet a position to carry out their plan." After he heard the news, Zhou Yu went back to sleep. Jiang Gan got up again silently and snuck out of Zhou Yu's camp. He crossed the river immediately and handed the letter of surrender to Cao Cao. Cao was enraged and he had Cai Mao and Zhang Yun executed.

When the news spread to Wu, Zhou Yu burst into laughter and said, "Cai Mao and Zhang Yun were the two generals I feared most. Now I fear no one." Before long, Cao cao realized that he was cheated by Zhou Yu's stratagem of sowing distrust in Cao's camp.

34.The Strategy Of Injuring Yourself
Pretending to be injured has two possible applications. In the first, the enemy is lulled into relaxing his guard since he no longer considers you to be an immediate threat. The second is a way of ingratiating yourself to your enemy by pretending the injury was caused by a mutual enemy.

This is a story from Three Kingdoms that happened before the Battle of Chibi. One night, Zhou Yu was thinking hard in his tent about how to defeat Cao Cao's army, when Huang Gai came in . He suggested attacking with fire. "Well, it's exactly what I mean to do." Said Zhou Yu. "That's why I'm keeping those two spies: to convey false information to Cao's camp. But I need a man to play the same game for us." Huang Gai said he was willing to do it. They decided to carry out the trick of being flogged to win the enemy's confidence.

The next day Zhou Yu convened a general assembly of his commanders outside his tent. He ordered the commanders to take three months's rations and prepare to defend their line. Huang Gai came forward and said: "We don't need three months. If not, we'd better throw down our weapons and sue for peace."

Zhou Yu exploded in fury. "Ibear our lord's mandate," he cried, "to lead our troops to destroy Cao Cao. How dare you weaken our morale? Remove him and execute him!"
Huang Gai proudly, "I have served the Southland through three successive reigns. Where do the likes of you come from?"

The entire assembly got on their knees to intercede for Huang Gai. Zhou Yu said at last: "In consideration for the commanders' views, I shall not kill you. Give him one hundred strokes across the back!"

Huang Gai was forced facedown to the ground. Not yet at fifty blows of the rod, his skin was broken and his oozing flesh was crossed with welts. He fainted several times.

Zhou Yu let Kan Ze, Huang Gai's friend, to deliver the letter of surrender to Cao Cao, which Huang Gai had prepared. Before long, Cao Cao received a letter from the two spies, saying "Look for a boat with a blue-green flag at the bow. That will be Huang Gai." In Huang Gai's boat there were combustibles. In this way, Huang Gai was able to set fire to Cao Cao's camp. When the red current of fire passed through the surface of the river, Cao Cao's ships, linked with chains, turned into ashes.

35.The Strategy Of Combining Tactics
In important matters one should use several strategies applied simultaneously. Keep different plans operating in an overall scheme; in this manner if any one strategy fails you would still have several others to fall back on.

In 284 BC the state of Yan attacked and defeated Qi. The remaining Qi forces under the command of Tien Tan fled to the city of Ji Mo for a last stand. First, Tien Tan sent gold and treasure collected from the city's wealthiest citizens to general Qi Che. This event convinced Qi Che that the city was truly about to capitulate and he allowed his troops to relax their guard.

After this careful preparation Tien Tan felt the time was right to launch his counter attack. First he had the citizens of the city gather with drums and cooking pots and instructed them that on a signal they were to make as much noise as possible. He then had breaches made along the city walls from the inside. Next a herd of cattle was painted in bizarre patterns and knives and sickles tied to their horns and torches tied to their tails.

In the midnight, the citizens within the city struck up a cacophony of noise that startled the sleeping Yan troops. Then the torches on the tails of the cattle were lit and they were released through the breaches in the wall. The enraged animals ran madly about the Yan camp killing stunned troops with their horns and setting fire to tents with their tails. Then Qi's crack troops rushed out from the gates to attack the now terrified and utterly confused troops. Tien Tan defeated the Yan army and went on to take more than seventy cities.

36.If All Else Fails Retreat
If it becomes obvious that your current course of action will lead to defeat then retreat and regroup.

Before the Battle of Chengpu, Jin is said to have retired "three stages" (45 km) before camping on the plain of Chengpu at the border of Jin, awaiting a decisive battle and thus fulfilling Duke Wen's promise to King Cheng during his refuge in Chu. The retirement also linked the Jin forces up with Qi and Qin reinforcements.

三十六计故事 33-36

第33计 反间计


【读音】fǎn jiān jì
【解释】间:离间。原意为利用敌人的间谍把假情况告知敌人使之失误的计策。后来指私底下离间敌人内部,让他与自己的朋友、盟友、谋士、家庭、将领、士兵、人民等等之间产生矛盾,从而导致敌方进攻或防御的能力下降。
【典故】《孙子•用间》:“反间者,因其敌间而用之。”
曹操给周瑜下了一道降书,周瑜见书,撕得粉碎。周瑜的老同学蒋干在曹操手下当谋士,他自告奋勇去东吴劝降周瑜。这天,周瑜和部下商议破曹计策,有人报告蒋干来了。周瑜一听,就知道蒋干来作说客,眉头一皱,向部下说出了自己的妙计,然后笑着出帐迎客。周瑜挽着蒋干的手进帐,并设宴招待。待众将到齐后,周瑜对大家说:“这是我的老朋友,虽然从曹操那里来,但不是来当说客的,大家不要怀疑。”宴毕,周瑜假装喝醉,挽蒋干同榻休息,不一会,周瑜佯装睡着。蒋干轻轻起身,翻看周瑜的案卷,得知曹军中的蔡瑁、张允二将军给周瑜写了降书,大为吃惊,急忙藏起降书,轻轻躺回床上,假装睡着。后半夜,有人进帐叫醒周瑜说:“曹营有人来了,蔡瑁、张允说现在还不能下手……”周瑜听罢,躺下又睡。蒋干偷偷起来,径直出营,过江把信交给曹操。曹操大怒,杀了蔡瑁,张允。消息传到东吴,周瑜哈哈大笑说:“我所担心的就是这两个人,现在我什么都不怕了。”事后,曹操醒悟,知道中了周瑜的反间计。

第34计 苦肉计

【读音】kǔ ròu jì
【解释】苦:受苦,这里为使动用法。肉:身体。即假装让自己受到伤害的计谋。这样做有两个好处,首先敌人会放松对你的警惕,认为你的存在不是威胁;其次可以拉拢敌人,让他以为你们同仇敌忾。此计其实是一种特殊作法的离间计。运用此计,“自害”是真,“他害”是假,以真乱假。己方要造成内部矛盾激化的假象,再派人装作受到迫害,借机钻到敌人心脏中去进行间谍活动。
赤壁大战之前,周瑜苦思破曹之计。一日深夜,老将黄盖来到帐中,商议破曹以火攻为好。周瑜说:“我也这样想,所以才留下假投降的蔡氏兄弟,只是无人去曹营诈降。”黄盖自告奋勇,甘愿领此重任。当夜二人定下“苦肉计”。第二天,周瑜传各路将军帐下议事,命大将们各领三个月粮草,准备抗敌。黄盖反对说:“不用三个月,如果这个月能破敌就破,不能破敌,早点投降!”周瑜听后大怒道:“我奉命督军破敌,你敢动摇军心,推出去斩了。”黄盖骄傲地说:“我是东吴三世重臣,南征北伐时,你还不知在哪呢?”在场的将领们跪下替黄盖求情。周瑜狠狠地说:“看在众将面上,饶你不死,打一百军棍”武士们把黄盖推倒在地,没打到五十下,已皮开肉绽,鲜血直流,几次晕死过去。黄盖的好友阚泽,根据周瑜的安排,带着黄盖早已写好的投降书前去诈降。不久,曹操又接到蔡氏兄弟的密信,说只要见到插有青牙旗的船只就是黄盖来投降了。结果在赤壁一战中,黄盖引火船冲入曹营,大江之上一片通红,把曹操用铁链连起来的几千条战船烧成灰烬。

第35计 连环计

【读音】lián huán jì
【解释】如果敌方力量强大,就不要硬拼,要用计使其自相钳制,借以削弱敌方的战斗力。连环计,顾名思义是指多计并用,计计相连,环环相扣,一计累敌,一计攻敌,任何强敌,无攻不破。
公元前284年,燕国进攻并打败了齐国,齐国的残余部队在田单的带领下,在即墨城做着最后的抵抗。他从即墨贵族那里拿到些金银珠宝,偷偷给骑劫送去。这一举动让骑劫相信齐国的军队一定会投降,于是放松了防御。
在经过精心的策划后,田单认为反攻的时机到了。首先,他让城里的民众带着鼓、锅等物品聚集起来,告诉他们一接到信号就尽可能大地弄出噪音。然后把城墙打出一个洞,给准备好的一群牛穿上虎豹花纹的衣服,在牛角上绑上锋利的尖刀,在牛尾巴上挂着浸过油的芦苇,远远看去,这群牛就象一群凶猛的怪兽。
午夜,沉睡中的燕国士兵被即墨城里刺耳的噪声惊醒。田单下令点燃牛尾巴上的芦苇,并把它们从城墙上挖好的洞里赶出去。这些暴怒的动物冲进燕国的营地,用牛角上的尖刀和尾巴上的“火炬”杀死了众多惊慌失措的燕国士兵。而齐国的精锐部队也乘机冲出城门,大肆进攻。最后,田单打败燕军,并收回了超过七十个城市。

第36计 走为上

【读音】zǒu wéi shàng
【解释】走:撤退。上:上策。走为上,是指敌我力量悬殊的不利形势下,采取有计划的主动撤退,避开强敌,寻找战机,以退为进。
【典故】出自《南齐书•王敬则传》:“檀公三十六策,走为上计。”
在晋楚城濮之战前,晋文公分析了形势,觉得对这次战争的胜败没有把握,于是决定暂时后退,避其锋芒。他带领着军队向后退了九十里(古时一舍为三十里,这是成语“退避三舍”的典故),来到晋国边界城濮,对外宣称说这一举动是为了报答当年楚国先王庇护。事实上,撤退为他争取了时间,去请求齐国和秦国的援军。
 

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