孫子兵法 (兵勢篇第五) (Chapter 5 - 3) (Part 27)
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Some translation suggested:
Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy
on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to
which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something,
that the enemy may snatch at it. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march;
then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him. The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined
energy, and does not require too much from individuals.
Hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilize
combined energy. When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting
men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones.
For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain
motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope;
if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if
round-shaped, to go rolling down. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men
is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain
thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject
Moran: Truly, those who are good at moving their
adversaries around do so by giving a form to
things such that the enemy must follows those
【PEM: The enemy army is a source of energy in itself.
Originally that energy is being directed in ways
intended to be hurtful to the defender. The defender,
however, can create structures (sometimes little more
than illusions) that channel the enemy's energy the
way dikes and dams channel the energy of a river.】
If I offer something, the enemy must take it.
That is using benefit to move him. But one has
soldiers in wait for him.
【PEM: The Zhuang Zi mentions a general Daoist
兩行. Literally those words
mean "two displacements," i.e., going by two different
a deeper level it means doing something
that will have two potential outcomes. Both outcomes
depend on what one's counterpart does. Consider two
different examples. (1) A house is discovered to have
been booby-trapped by installing bomb triggers in
places in the cellar. After discovery, the
bombs are secretly removed, but the police would like
to know which of several aides to the owner of the
house has planned the assassination. Questioning
anyone would reveal that the plot has been
the owner of the house is instructed to
invite each of the aides to come to dinner with his
wife and children on a particular night. Each time, the
is in an adjacent room. It
has been taught
to bark incessantly as soon as people come into the
dining room. So soon after dinner starts the host calls
out to the housekeeper, "Martha, please put Fido
down in the basement." (2) In an unprovoked fight
the defender notices that the attacker has a pattern of
using a left jab as a feint and following with
right. Defender therefore throws a left jab. The
opponent then has a choice of treating it as a feint and
immediately going in for the kill, or defending. If the
left jab is indeed blocked, defender has lost nothing. If,
however, the jab is not blocked (perhaps defender
made it appear to be a half-hearted attempt),
following through will strike the attacker. One does
not have to have mastered a three inch knockout blow
to create enough damage to permit escape from the
whole situation, or at least set one's opponent up for a
strong counter attack with the opposite hand.】
So those who are good at warfare seek it
through power configurations and do not put
the onus on individuals. They are therefore
able to select individuals to
take charge of
those power configurations.
Like the man whose finger pulls the
【PEM: One example of what Sun Tzu is talking
about in this section might be optical illusions. If objects are used, they may be real objects. If lines are
drawn they will be real lines. However, the
conclusions that eyes draw from optical illusions are
incorrect. The arrangement of components forces the
eyes to see what is not really there.】
Those who are given responsibility for
operating a power configuration are warriors,
and they are like rotating wood or stone (in
the trigger mechanism of the crossbow). The natures of wood and stone are to be still if
things are at peace, but to move if they are
under duress. If they are square, then they
will not turn, but if they are round then they
【PEM: The trigger mechanism of a crossbow is
formed of rectangular elements that are designed to
retain their positions
in resistance to considerable
force, and curved elements that are designed to move
without having to be subjected to much force.】
Therefore those who are good at the power
configurations of war are like those who can
set a round stone that is poised on the top of a
thousand rod mountain to rolling
it is a
matter of power configurations. 【PEM: The stone must be round if it is to be easily
rolled off its stable perch, but the lever and the
fulcrum need to be "square" so that they will hold
their positions as force is applied.】
故善動敵者，形之，敵必從之﹔ Therefore, those who are good at moving their enemy around do so by giving him a military shape such that the enemy must follow this shape.
予之，敵必取之。以利動之，以卒待之。: If bait is given, the enemy would take it. Hence, use bait to move the enemy, use ambush in wait for him.
故善戰者，求之於勢，不責於人，故能擇人任勢。 Therefore, a good general seeks result from employment of strategic influence and not lay blame on individuals, hence, he chooses the individuals to take charge of these strategic influence.
任勢者，其戰人也，如轉木石。: Those selected to take charge of strategic influence are called warriors, they rotate like rounded wood or stone.
木石之性，安則靜，危則動，方則止，圓則行。: The nature of wood and stone is still when rested and move when stressed. Square items resist motion, round items move in the direction of stress.
故善戰人之勢，如轉圓石於千仞之山者，勢也。: Therefore, a good general adopts influence liken to setting free a rounded large rock down a tall mountain — strategic influence.
Again the translation was not well done.
Sun Tzu basically said here that a good general engages by adopting strategic influence, and not by any other means. Strategic influence if used correctly is like letting a huge rounded rock roll down a tall mountain, its momentum and hence, its outcome is never stoppable. To do that, he suggested luring the enemy to a particular spot by baiting and attack in absoluteness by ambush.
In business, attack must be conducted using absoluteness by overwhelming strategic influence. After the attack there is always retaliation from the fallen enemy. If the defeat is not absolute, its retaliation would be strong and potentially fatal. If the defeat is absolute, its retaliation would be feeble and of no consequence. Therefore, what Sun Tzu said had great value. Never defeat an enemy feebly. Its retaliation would be so strong that you might lose the subsequent battles and ultimately end in defeat yourself. Hence, assume absoluteness in strategic influence, only then can you be assured of a complete victory.