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Last update: 08/25/98 Join the Crusade
Art of War:            
Art of War
by Sun Tzu
8) Variations in Tactics
- There are roads which must not be followed,
armies which must be not attacked, bases which must be besieged, positions which must not
- The general who thoroughly understands the
advantages that accompany variation of tactics knows how to handle his troops.
- The general who does not understand these, may be
well acquainted with the configuration of the country, yet he will not be able to turn his
knowledge to practical account.
- So, the student of war who is unversed in the art
of war of varying his plans, even though he be acquainted with the his advantages, will
fail to make the best use of his men.
- Hence in the wise leader's plans, considerations
of advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together.
- If our expectation of advantage be tempered in
this way, we may succeed in accomplishing the essential part of our schemes.
- If, on the other hand, in the midst of
difficulties we are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from
- Reduce the hostile chiefs by inflicting damage on
them; and make trouble for them, and keep them constantly engaged; hold out specious
allurements, and make them rush to any given point.
- The art of war teaches us to rely not on the
likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the
chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position
- There are five dangerous faults which may affect
a general: (1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction; (2) cowardice, which leads to
capture; (3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults; (4) a delicacy of honor
which is sensitive to shame; (5) over-solicitude for his units, which exposes him to worry
- These are the five besetting sins of a general,
ruinous to the conduct of war.
- When an army is overthrown and its leader slain,
the cause will surely be found among these five dangerous faults. Let them be a subject of
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