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Home History and Culture Thirty-Six Strategies 17-20
Thirty-Six Strategies 17-20
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

17.Throw out a brick to attract a jade

It was said that a poet named Chang Jian of the Tang Dynasty one day heard that Zhao Gu would visited Ling Yan Temple of Su Zhou. In order to invite Zhao Gu to poetize, he wrote down two sentences on the wall in advance. Sure enough this unfinished poem attracted Zhao Gu's attention, and he wrote down another two more wonderful sentences to finish this poem. Later on people described Chang Jian's action as " Throw out a brick to attract a jade ".

Now people try to use this statement which indicates that one first establishes a superficial opinion or analogy in order to lead others setup higher purposes or features, the statement shows kind of modest spirit. When it has application in military affairs, people use some similar things to confuse and lure the enemy, then they can find a chance to defeat them.

18.Catch bandits first catch the ringleader
It comes from a poem of Tu Fu who was a very famous poet of the Tang Dynasty.

When used for military affairs, it means catching the ringleader is an available way to crumple up the main force of the enemy, because this action will get the enemy into confusion and lose battle effectiveness. If the command is satisfied by little victory, he will not lead the troops to the final victory. To let the ringleader slip is like to let the tiger return to the mountain,it will cause calamity for the future.

In 756 AD,the rebel commander Yin Ziqi led an army to lay siege against the strategic city of Suiyang. The defending commander, Zhang Xun, believed that if he could take out the leader the rebel's morale would sink and he would be able to launch a counter attack. He devised a plan with his best archers. The next time the rebels assailed the wall they were to shoot back using the branches of trees. When Yin Ziqi heard that the defenders were reduced to shooting with branches he felt certain the city was ready to be taken. Before the next assault he moved in closer to better oversee the final victory. Riding atop his horse he unknowingly came within range of the archers who had saved their arrows for just such a moment. One arrow hit Yin Ziqi in the left eye killing him instantly. The spectacle of their commander's death in front of almost the entire rebel army served to demoralize them to such an extent that they dispersed the field.

19. Take a drastic measure to deal with a situation
The idiom literally means to take away the firewood from under the cauldron. As figure of speech it indicates to remove the ultimate cause of trouble. Once water has been boiled, in order to make water temperature go down, the most essential solution is to put the fire off, namely to remove the firewood. As for military affairs, this means not to antagonize the powerful enemy face to face, otherwise, we should avoid its advantage and abate its arrogance, and finally win the victory.
During the reign of Han emperor Jing Di in the year 154 BC, the prince of Wu, Liu Bi, and the prince of Chu, joined forces with seven other states to stage a rebellion. They first attacked the state of Liang.

Han Marshal Zhou Yafu felt that the Wu and Chu forces were formidable and could not be easily beaten in a clash. But if their supplies were cut off, they could be defeated and the siege of Liang would be lifted.

Zhou Yafu made a detour around the enemy and managed to arrive at Yingyang before the enemy supplies did.

Zhou Yafu himself withdrew to set up camp at Maoyi to sieze the enemy's provisioons and to seal off their supply route. He ordered his men to fix crossbows around Daying and to hold their ground when the enemy attacked.

Just as the princes of Wu and Chu were fiercely attacking Liang's capital, they recieved bad news, "Zhou Yafu had sealed off their food supply route and siezed their provisions." The rebels panicked and had to give up attacking Liang. They attacked Maoyi but failed to take it and their supplies ran out. Morale was low.

The troops were unwilling to fight and within three months, the rebellion collapsed.

In 200 AD, Yuan Shao, the most powerful warlord of the north, amassed more than 100,000 troops and marched from Ye on Xuchang. To defend against the invasion, Cao Cao placed 30,000 men at Guandu, a strategic landing point on the shore of the Yellow River which Yuan Shao's troops had to secure en route Xuchang.

With a few diversionary tactics, Cao Cao managed to disorient Yuan Shao's troops as well as kill two of Yuan Shao's most capable generals, Yan Liang and Wen Chou. The morale of Yuan Shao's troops suffered a further blow when Cao Cao launched a stealth attack on the former's food store, Wu Chao. Many more of Yuan Shao's men surrendered or deserted than were killed during the ensuing battle. When Yuan Shao eventually retreated back to Ye in the winter of 201, he did so with little more than 800 light cavalry.

第17计 抛砖引玉

【读音】pāo zhuān yǐn yù

第18计 擒贼擒王

【读音】qín zéi qín wáng

第19计 釜底抽薪

【读音】fǔ dǐ chōu xīn
【解释】釜:古代的一种锅;薪:柴。把柴禾从锅底抽掉,比喻从根本上解决问题。一旦水烧开了,要像让水温降下来,根本的办法是把火熄掉, 即是抽掉燃烧用的柴禾。此计用于军事,是指对强敌不可用正面作战取胜,而应该避其锋芒,削减敌人的气势,再乘机取胜。

第20计 混水摸鱼

【读音】hùn shuǐ mō yú

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