The Six Attack Strategies

"From the Thirty Six Strategies of China"


The Six Attack Strategies

13. Startle the snake by hitting the grass around it.

When preparing for battle, do not alert your enemy to your intentions or give away your strategy prematurely.

14. Borrow another's corpse to resurrect the soul.

Take an institution, a technology, or a method that has been forgotten or discarded and appropriate it for your own purpose.

Revive something from the past by giving it a new purpose or to reinterpret and bring to life old ideas, customs, and traditions.

15. Entice the tiger to leave its mountain lair

Never directly attack an opponent whose advantage is derived from its position. Instead lure him away from his position thus separating him from his source of strength.

16. In order to capture, one must let loose.

Cornered prey will often mount a final desperate attack. To prevent this you let the enemy believe he still has a chance for freedom.

His will to fight is thus dampened by his desire to escape.

When in the end the freedom is proven a falsehood the enemy's morale will be defeated and he will surrender without a fight.

17. Tossing out a brick to get a jade

Prepare a trap then lure your enemy into the trap by using bait.

In war the bait is the illusion of an opportunity for gain.

In life the bait is the illusion of wealth, power, and sex.

This proverb is based on a story involving two famous poets of the Tang Dynasty.

There was a great poet named Zhao Gue and another lesser poet by the name of Chang Jian. While Chang Jian was traveling in Suzhou, he heard news that Zhao Gu would be visiting a temple in the area.

Chang Jian wished to learn from the master poet, so he devised a plan and went to the temple in advance, then wrote a poem on the temple walls with only two of the four lines completed, hoping Zhao Gu would see it and finish the poem.

Zhao Gu acted as Chang Jian forsaw, and from this story came the proverb.

18. Defeat the enemy by capturing their chief

If the enemy's army is strong but is allied to the commander only by money or threats, then take aim at the leader.

If the commander falls the rest of the army will disperse or come over to your side. If, however, they are allied to the leader through loyalty then beware, the army can continue to fight on after his death out of vengeance.

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