Education Index

More Sun Tzu information


Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Nine

On the March

How to take up position when confronting the enemy:-

(1) Stay close to the valley when crossing the mountain.

(2) Make note along the trail where attack or defense can take place.

(3) If enemy camp is on high ground, do not climb to launch attack.


(4) Cross river with speed and move as quickly as possible away from the river in order to reduce chance for the enemy to attack.

(5) Do not fight with the advancing army in the middle of a river crossing , unless half in the water and the other half already on shore.

(6) Do not confront enemy near the water.

(7) Set up camp on high ground.

(8) Do not take up position at the lower reaches (the lower part of the river of the enemy) when the enemy is located on the upper stream.

(9) Get over marshland without delay.

(10) If fighting in marshland is unavoidable, then set up in the grassland with trees located at the back for cover.

(11) If on flat ground, choose the highest background at the rear and the right, when battling in front, the back will be protected by the height.


The Yellow Emperor also adopted the above rules to win the four sovereigns.

Situations to observe:-

(1) If the enemy is close and quiet, it means they are ready to attack.

(2) If enemy is camped far away but is making provocative incursions it means the enemy is anxious for battle.

(3) If enemy is encamped on a flat land, they also set up traps.

(4) Trees moving just like in a strong gale, denotes enemy is advancing.

(5) Beware of obstacles around in the thick grassland that are planted by the enemy

(6) Rapid movements of birds and animals are a sign of attack.

(7) Dust rising on the horizon is a sign of chariots advancing.

(8) If dust is low and spread all over the ground means the approach of the infantry.

(9) Humble words from the enemy means they are still preparing.

(10) Violent language is a sign of retreat.

(11) If chariots take up position at the flanks first, it means the enemy is forming for battle.

(12) Peace proposals not accompanied with signed treaty means it is a plot.

Ways to win obedience from the people:-

(1) Teach people manners followed by training the army that will certainly win the battle.

(2) Understand of the people and gaining their trust could win their support.

(3) Work with people together.

Applying to Business

In the Company:

(1) Collect information on others product marketing strategy in order to improve marketing tactics.

(2) Change tactics according to the demand and the trend of the market.

(3) Listen to the workers opinions and work closely with them in order to maximize output.

(4) Bonus system will help to increase the productivity.

Chapter Ten


Six kinds of Terrain

(1)  Accessible 

Plenty of roads and means of communication to the area. Accessible from all sides. It is better to occupy the high ground where a continuous flow of supplies will help to win the battle.
(2)  Entangled Area

An area that is easy to enter but difficult to retreat from is not an ideal area to camp in case the enemy blocks the escape route. But it can be very useful for a sudden attack when the enemy is unprepared.
(3)  Temporary Ground  

Not an ideal place to conduct a battle, unless one manages to trick the enemy into the area, waiting until half of them have entered then attack with full force to win the battle. 
(4)  Narrow Pass

Occupying the entrance to the pass will lead to victory. Never attack when the enemy occupies the entrance. But you may have a chance to win if you attack before the enemy has reached there.

(5)  Precipitous Heights

It is vital to occupy the top of this terrain but withdraw if the enemy is there first.

(6)  Great Distances Apart

It is difficult to win the battle if the enemy is within sight and both armies are of equal strength.

Six calamities

(1)  Flight

If both armies are of equal strength, but one army is scattered around the arena, and the odds are less than 1 to 5, then it is better to escape to fight the battle another day.

(2)  Insubordination

A good army with weak officers will lead to a no win situation.
(3)  Collapse

Good officers with an undisciplined army will lead to collapse.

(4)  Ruin

Humble and total obedience of senior officers is vital, else the whole structure of the army will fall into disarray.

(5)  Disorganization

Indiscipline in the ranks will lead to the ruin of the whole company.

(6)  Rout

If the general is not able to assess the situation thoroughly, attacking when his unit is weak will inevitably lead to defeat.


Winning War

(1) Using Terrain is a part of the tactics necessary to win the battle. 

(2) Calculates thoroughly regarding situation, distances, dangers, difficulties, army capabilities, enemy capabilities etc.

(3) Don't fight if battle cannot be won.

(4) During the heat of battle, a Sovereign order (e.g. order to retreat if this is a sure win) needs to be shelved for the time.

A Good General

(1) Knows to fight for the cause rather than for fame.

(2) Will take full responsibility for any action taken.

(3) Always put good of his country first.


For victory in any battle:- The General MUST KNOW

(1) Enemy & yourself.

(2) The seasons of heaven.

(3) The natural advantages of earth.

Applying to Business:

In the Company:

(1) Chose a suitable location to set up a business.

(2) Company rules, regulations and structures have to be clearly set out.

(3) Employ senior professionals rather than high fliers.

Chapter Eleven

The Nine Varieties of Situation


Nine Varieties of Ground

(1)  Dispersion Ground

Fighting in one's own territory.

Action:- Not to fight.

(2) Facile Ground

Fighting in enemy's ground but near to our own territory.

Action:- Do not stop and continue to fight and advance into enemy territory.

(3)  Controversial Ground

Ground which have great advantages to both sides.

Action:- Do not attack if enemy already occupies the ground.

(4)  Open Ground 

Either side has freedom of movement in this ground. 

Action:- Prevent enemy occupying this ground.

(5)  Intersection Ground

Ground forms the key to three neighboring states. Those who occupy one state will also control the rest.

Action:- Form alliance with neighboring states.

(6)  Serious Ground

When army penetrates into the heart of a hostile country, leaving a number of fortified cities behind.

Action:- Prevent co-operation between the enemy's large & small divisions, and hinder troops from mounting any rescue action.

(7)  Difficult Ground

Marshes, fens, rugged slopes, mountains or forests all are difficult to traverse.

Action:- Do not en-camp in this area.

(8)  Hemmed-in Ground

Ground which is reached via narrow gorges and pathways.

Action: - Alternative strategy.

(9)  Desperate Ground

Fighting without delay.

Action:- Fight with all the strength at ones disposal.

Skilful battle tactics

Rapid military maneuvers should resemble to the movements of a snake.

(1) Strike its head, tail attack.

(2) Strike its tail, head attack.

(3) Strike its middle; head and tail will attack together.


Before Battle begins

(1) Alliance with neighboring countries is a must.

(2) Familiarize with the enemy's terrain.

(3) Use local guides to help maneuvering.

Speedily winning the battle

(1) The battle will be won when the enemy does not expect the time and location of the first attack.

(2) Just like the coyness of a maiden, wait until the enemy opens the door; then move like a rapid running hare, and it will be too late for the enemy to engage in combat.

Applying to Business:

In the Company:

(1) Location of the Business is important.

(2) Flexible policies, rules ..etc.

(3) Behave like a weak and harmless opponent, but strike when there is a chance.

Chapter Twelve

Attack By Fire

Five Ways of Attacking by Fire

(1)  Burn enemy soldiers in their camp.

(2)  Burn their stores.

(3)  Burn baggage trains.

(4)  Burn arsenals.

(5)  Throw fireball among the enemy.

Also take into considerations for fire attack

(1) Environment

(2) Weather

(3) Equipment


A Good General Cultivates his Resources

(1)  Do not move unless favorable advantages.

(2)  No gain no war.

(3)  Fight unless the situation is dangerous.

Applying to Business:

In the Company:

(1) Profit is the main concern in business; acquisitions in a right and good way are the most important principles.

(2) Analyze market behavior before any introducing a new plan or new product.

Chapter Thirteen

Use of Spy

Foreknowledge, which can only obtained from other people, will certainly help to win the battle


Five Classes of Spy

(1)  Local Spy

Employing people within the enemy's country.

(2)  Inward Spy

Making use of officials of the enemy.

(3)  Converted Spy

Getting hold of the enemy's spies and converting them to work for us.

(4)  Doomed Spy

Doing certain things openly for the purpose of deception, and let our own spies report them to the enemy.

(5)  Surviving Spy

Those who bring back information from the enemy camp.

General must have

(1) Benevolence and straightforwardness to manage their use of Spies properly.

(2) Subtle ingenuity of mind in order to analyze the truth of the report.

Applying to Business:

In the Company:

(1) Market research is the vital activity for any business.

(2) Information from different sources will help to launch new products.

(3) To analyze the information needs manager's ingenuity of mind.

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