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Home History and Culture Thirty-Six Strategies 21-24
Thirty-Six Strategies 21-24
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

21.Shed Your Skin Like The Golden Cicada
The cicada sheds its skin intact, so that the shell looks like a real cicada. Similarly, outnumbered generals or those who were targets for assassination created false impersonations of themselves to escape danger. When use it for military affairs, you can create the illusion that you are where your opponent expects you to be. Meanwhile, you can put your energies into your real plans.

The warlord Cao Cao of Wei, was pursuing the fleeing army and population of Shu led by the heroes of the Peach Grove, Liu Pei and Chang Fei. The retreating column came upon the Changpan bridge over the Wei river with the enemy army only hours behind. On the opposite side of the river there was heavy forest. Chang Fei turned to his general Liu Pei and said: "This bridge is the only crossing point for miles and provides us with an advantage. You take the army and people across while I hold off the Wei army to give you as much of a lead as possible." After the Shu army had crossed over, Chang Fei sent his small group of cavalrymen across the bridge into the forest where they tied branches to their horses tails and rode around in circles. Chang Fei remained sitting on his charger in the middle of the bridge. When the pursuing army of Wei came upon the sight of Chang Fei alone on the bridge they stopped. Cao Cao noticed the huge dust cloud in the distance behind the woods and suspected a trap. Chang Fei roared out a challenge to the Wei army but Cao Cao, now convinced this was a ruse, turned his men around to retreat. Chang Fei seeing the Wei army turn about spurred his charger towards the Wei as though to attack them single handedly. This so unnerved the Wei forces that they made a mad scramble to escape the area convinced a trap was closing around them. This trick bought Lui Pei and Chang Fei enough time to escape with their men and regroup at Chianling.

22.Shut The Door To Catch The Thief
If you have the chance to completely capture the enemy then you should do so thereby bringing the battle or war to a quick and lasting conclusion. To allow your enemy to escape plants the seeds for future conflict. But if they succeed in escaping, be wary of giving chase.

In the year 260 BC, the armies of Qin and Zhao met in a decisive battle. Qin used the strategy of sowing discord among the enemy to cause the Zhao commander Lian Po, an experienced general, to be replaced by an armchair strategist, Zhao Kuo.

Qin general Bai Qi ordered, "Take our main forces to Changbi in Qin and be well-entrenched there. Block off all exits." "Take 3,000 soldiers to lure Zhao troops out."

Zhao Kuo did not know about the trap and when Qin deliberately let him win his first battle, he was extremely elated and cocky. He even ordered an all-out attack. Zhao's troops pursued all the way to Changbi.

Qin soldiers then cut off their route of retreat and supplies. The Zhao troops were unable to call for reinforcements as the Qin men have divided them making them unable to contact the rest of the army.

For 46 days, the Zhao soldiers were completely cut off from supplies and assistance. They could not break through the Qin encirclement. The Qin maintained the siege and refrained from fighting.

As a last ditched attempt, Zhao Kuo tried to break through the encirclement with a shock force of 5,000 men but he was killed. Zhao's troops troops surrenedered but Qin showed no mercy to them. The Zhao army was wiped out. The paper strategist caused 400,000 Zhao soldiers to lose their lives.

23.Befriend A Distant Enemy To Attack One Nearby.
This stratagem has two applications: the first is the more obvious. Avoid a two-front war by making peace with everybody else before you go to war against an opponent. Additionally, if you have two battles to fight, it's wiser first to fight the one that is near at hand. But to do this, you must try to gain at least a temporary peace with the less emergent battle.

In 270 BC, King Zhaoxiang was actively endeavouring to campaign against the state of Qi , the eastern most part of China, mostly utilizing the mighty Qin army to his own benefit. King Zhaoxiang's visitor advisor, Fan Ju , adviced King Zhaoxiang to abandon these fruitless campaigns and shifted the Qin policy to maintain good diplomatic relationships with distant states such as Qi, and concentrate forces against its direct neighbours of Han and Wei, the so called "Befriend A Distant Enemy To Attack One Nearby." policy.

Under this policy, Han and Wei found themselves plagued with decades of Qin advances and saw their land lost to Qin in chunks followed by hundreds of thousands of soldiers killed. The Qin territory had advanced deep across the east shore of the Yellow River and beyond. The very existence of Han and Wei was merely a strategic balancing buffer zone between Qin in the west, Zhao in the north, Qi in the east, and Chu in the south. Their troops were used as spearheads pointing west by the alliance of the eastern states against Qin, as well as the same puppet spearheads, but pointing east, aiding Qin advances mostly against Chu. Had Qin not worried about a united retaliation against herself from these three states (which seemed unlikely since these three states were also busy struggling with each other), Han and Wei had ended their royal houses decades before their eventual conquest by Qin.

24. Borrow The Road To Conquer Guo
This stratagem advises using an ally's strategic location as a launch point for your own troops. One benefit is that a "middleman" gets the heat, and your own homeland can be saved from becoming a battlefield. Another benefit is that your forces can be stationed longterm on friendly turf so that problems of supply line management are limited in severity. And a third benefit is that if your battle is successful, you now have your troops stationed in somebody else's kingdom.

In the Spring and Autumn Period, the small states of Yu and Guo bordered the larger state of Jin. Duke Xian of Jin desired to conquer both states. This desire was not unknown to the two smaller states and both had taken steps to defend their borders with Jin. The duke's general, Xun Xi, suggested they make a roundabout attack at Guo through the state of Yu to catch them by surprise. General Xun suggested that since the duke of Yu was a greedy man he could be bribed with gifts of jade and horses in exchange for safe passage through his territory. Duke Xian objected to the idea of giving away so much treasure and asked: "What if the duke of Yu accepts our gifts but refuses us passage?" but general Xun replied: "If he doesn't intend to let us through, then he wouldn't accept them, but if he does accept the gifts, and he does let us through, then it will only mean that the treasure is stored temporarily in his storehouse rather than ours."

When the bribe was sent to the duke of Yu one of his ministers, Gong Ziqi, cautioned against accepting them saying: "Yu is to Guo, like lips are to teeth. Our ancestors had a saying; `If the lips are gone, the teeth will be exposed to cold'. That Guo is able to exist depends on Yu while Yu's ability to survive hinges on Guo. If we make way for Jin, then the day will see Guo perish in the morning to be followed by Yu in the evening. Why should we ever let Jin pass?" The duke of Yu, however, refused to listen to this advice. Jin was given safe passage and succeeded in conquering Guo. On their way back they stopped to conquered Yu. After taking the Yu capital and recovering the treasure, general Xun returned the jade and horses to the duke. Duke Xian was pleased and said in good humor "The jade is untouched but the horses seem to have gained some more teeth!"

第21计 金蝉脱壳

【读音】jīn chán tuō qiào


第22计 关门捉贼

【读音】guān mén zhuō zéi


第23计 远交近攻

【读音】yuǎn jiāo jìn gōng

战国末期,七雄争霸。秦国经商鞅变法之后,势力发展最快。秦昭王开始图谋吞并六国, 独霸中原。公元前270年,秦昭王准备兴兵伐齐。范睢此时向秦昭王献上“远交近攻”之策,阻秦国攻齐。他说:齐国势力强大,离秦国又很远,攻打齐国,部队要经过韩、魏两国。军队派少了,难以取胜;多派军队,打胜了也无法占有齐国土地。不如先攻打邻国韩、魏,逐步推进。为了防止齐国与韩、魏结盟,秦昭王派使者主动与齐国结盟。其后四十余年,秦始皇继续坚持“远交近攻”之策,远交齐楚,首先攻下郭、魏,然后又从两翼进兵,攻破赵、燕,统一北方;攻破楚国,平定南方;最后把齐国也收拾了。秦始皇征战十年.终于实现了统一中国的愿望。

第24计 假道伐虢

【读音】jiǎ dào fá guó
【解释】假道,是借路的意思。伐,是攻占的意思。虢,是春秋时的一个小国。用于军事上,其意在于先利用甲做跳板,去消灭乙,达到目的后 ,回过头来连甲一起消灭,或者借口向对方借道为名,行消灭对方之实。
【典故】出自《左传•僖公二年》:“晋荀息请以屈 产之乘,与垂棘之壁,假道于虞以灭虢。”


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