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Ancient Principles Of War


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Supreme Military Wisdom from Sun Tzu - Chinese General over 2,000 years ago...

Learn and Enjoy!!



Chapter One: Calculation

Sun Tzu said:

Warfare is a great matter to a nation;

it is the ground of death and of life;

it is the way of survival and of destruction, and must be examined. ?

Therefore, go through it by means of five factors;

compare them by means of calculation, and determine their statuses:

One, Way, two, Heaven, three, Ground, four, General, five, Law. ?

The Way is what causes the people to have the same thinking as their superiors;

they may be given death, or they may be given life, but there is no fear of danger and betrayal. ?

Heaven is dark and light, cold and hot, and the seasonal constraints.

Ground is high Ground is high and low, far and near, obstructed and easy, wide and narrow, and dangerous and safe. ?

General is wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage, and discipline. ?

Law is organization, the chain of command, logistics, and the control of expenses. ?

All these five no general has not heard;

one who knows them is victorious, one who does not know them is not victorious. ?

Therefore, compare them by means of calculation, and determine their statuses. ?


Which ruler has the Way,

which general has the ability,

which has gained Heaven and Ground,

which carried out Law and commands,

which army is strong,

which officers and soldiers are trained,

which reward and punish clearly,

by means of these, I know victory and defeat

A general who listens to my calculations, and uses them, will surely be victorious, keep him;

a general who does not listen to my calculations, and does not use them, will surely be defeated, remove him. ?

Calculate advantages by means of what was heard, then create force in order to assist outside missions. ?

Force is the control of the balance of power, in accordance with advantages. ?

Warfare is the Way of deception. ?

Therefore, if able, appear unable,

if active, appear not active,

if near, appear far,

if far, appear near. ?

If they have advantage, entice them;

if they are confused, take them,

if they are substantial, prepare for them,

if they are strong, avoid them,

if they are angry, disturb them,

if they are humble, make them haughty,

if they are relaxed, toil them,

if they are united, separate them. ?

Attack where they are not prepared, go out to where they do not expect. ?

This specialized warfare leads to victory, and may not be transmitted beforehand. ?

Before doing battle, in the temple one calculates and will win, because many calculations were made;

before doing battle, in the temple one calculates and will not win, because few calculations were made; ?

many calculations, victory, few calculations, no victory, then how much less so when no calculations?

By means of these, I can observe them, beholding victory or defeat

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The question of who, if anyone, are doing these 'calculations' for Sikhs is a pertinent one.

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Chapter Two: Doing Battle

Sun Tzu said:

Generally, the requirements of warfare are this way:

One thousand quick four-horse chariots,

one thousand leather rideable chariots,

one hundred thousand belted armor,

transporting provisions one thousand li,

the distribution of internal and on the field spending,

the efforts of having guests, materials such as glue and lacquer,

tributes in chariots and armor,

will amount to expenses of a thousand gold pieces a day. ?

Only then can one hundred thousand troops be raised. ?

When doing battle, seek a quick victory.

A protracted battle will blunt weapons and dampen ardor. ?

If troops lay siege to a walled city, their strength will be exhausted. ?

If the army is exposed to a prolonged campaign, the nation's resources will not suffice. ?

When weapons are blunted, and ardor dampened, strength exhausted, and resources depleted, the neighboring rulers will take advantage of these complications. ?

Then even the wisest of counsels would not be able to avert the

consequences that must ensue. ?

Therefore, I have heard of military campaigns that were clumsy but swift, but I have never seen military campaigns that were skilled but protracted.

No nation has ever benefited from protracted warfare. ?

Therefore, if one is not fully cognizant of the dangers inherent in doing battle, one cannot fully know the benefits of doing battle. ?

Those skilled in doing battle do not raise troops twice, or transport provisions three times. ?

Take equipment from home but take provisions from the enemy.

Then the army will be sufficient in both equipment and provisions. ?

A nation can be impoverished by the army when it has to supply the army at great distances.

When provisions are transported at great distances, the citizens will be impoverished. ?

Those in proximity to the army will sell goods at high prices.

When goods are expensive, the citizens' wealth will be exhausted.

When their wealth is exhausted, the peasantry will be afflicted with increased taxes. ?

When all strength has been exhausted and resources depleted, all houses in the central plains utterly impoverished, seven-tenths of the citizens' wealth dissipated,

the government's expenses from damaged chariots, worn-out horses, armor, helmets, arrows and crossbows, halberds and shields, draft oxen, and heavy supply wagons,

will be six-tenths of its reserves. ?

Therefore, a wise general will strive to feed off the enemy.

One bushel of the enemy's provisions is worth twenty of our own, one picul of fodder is worth twenty of our own. ?

Killing the enemy is a matter of arousing anger in men;

taking the enemy's wealth is a matter of reward.

Therefore, in chariot battles, reward the first to capture at least ten chariots. ?

Replace the enemy's flags and standards with our own.

Mix the captured chariots with our own, treat the captured soldiers well.

This is called defeating the enemy and increasing our strength. ?

Therefore, the important thing in doing battle is victory, not protracted warfare. ?

Therefore, a general who understands warfare is the guardian of people's lives, and the ruler of the nation's security. ?

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Chapter Three: Planning Attacks

Sun Tzu said:

Generally in warfare, keeping a nation intact is best, destroying a nation second best;

keeping an army intact is best, destroying an army second best;

keeping a battalion intact is best, destroying a battalion second best;

keeping a company intact is best, destroying a company second best;

keeping a squad intact is best, destroying a squad second best. ?

Therefore, to gain a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence;

to subjugate the enemy's army without doing battle is the highest of excellence. ?

Therefore, the best warfare strategy is to attack the enemy's plans, next is to attack alliances, next is to attack the army, and the worst is to attack a walled city. ?

Laying siege to a city is only done when other options are not available. ?

To build large protective shields, armored wagons, and make ready the necessary arms and equipment will require at least three months. ?

To build earthen mounds against the walls will require another three months. ?

If the general cannot control his temper and sends troops to swarm the walls, one third of them will be killed, and the city will still not be taken.

This is the kind of calamity when laying siege to a walled city. ?

Therefore, one who is skilled in warfare principles subdues the enemy without doing battle, takes the enemy's walled city without attacking, and overthrows the enemy quickly, without protracted warfare. ?

His aim must be to take All-Under-Heaven intact. ?

Therefore, weapons will not be blunted, and gains will be intact.

These are the principles of planning attacks. ?

Generally in warfare:

If ten times the enemy's strength, surround them;

if five times, attack them;

if double, divide them;

if equal, be able to fight them;

if fewer, be able to evade them;

if weaker, be able to avoid them. ?

Therefore, a smaller army that is inflexible will be captured by a larger one. ?

A general is the safeguard of the nation.

When this support is in place, the nation will certainly be strong.

When this support is not in place, the nation will certainly not be strong. ?

There are three ways the ruler can bring difficulty to the army:

To order an advance when not realizing the army is in no position to advance, or to order a withdrawal when not realizing the army is in no position to withdraw.

This is called entangling the army. ?

By not knowing the army's matters, and administering the army the same as administering civil matters, the officers and troops will be confused. ?

By not knowing the army's calculations, and taking command of the army, the officers and troops will be hesitant. ?

When the army is confused and hesitant, the neighboring rulers will take advantage.

This is called a confused and hesitant army leading another to victory. ?

Therefore, there are five factors of knowing who will win:

One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious; ?

one who knows how to use both large and small forces will be victorious; ?

one who knows how to unite upper and lower ranks in purpose will be victorious; ?

one who is prepared and waits for the unprepared will be victorious; ?

one whose general is able and is not interfered by the ruler will be victorious.

These five factors are the way to know who will win.

Therefore I say: ?

One who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be in danger in a hundred battles. ?

One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes win, sometimes lose.

One who does not know the enemy and does not know himself will be in danger in every battle. ?

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Chapter Four: Formation

Sun Tzu said:

In ancient times, those skilled in warfare make themselves invincible and then wait for the enemy to become vulnerable.

Being invincible depends on oneself, but the enemy becoming vulnerable depends on himself. ?

Therefore, those skilled in warfare can make themselves invincible, but cannot necessarily cause the enemy to be vulnerable.

Therefore it is said one may know how to win but cannot necessarily do it. ?

One takes on invincibility defending, one takes on vulnerability attacking. ?

One takes on sufficiency defending, one takes on deficiency attacking. ?

Those skilled in defense conceal themselves in the lowest depths of the Earth, Those skilled in attack move in the highest reaches of the Heavens.

Therefore, they are able to protect themselves and achieve complete victory. ?

Perceiving a victory when it is perceived by all is not the highest excellence. ?

Winning battles such that the whole world says "excellent" is not the highest excellence. ?

For lifting an autumn down is not considered great strength, seeing the sun and the moon is not considered a sign of sharp vision, hearing thunder is not considered a sign of sensitive hearing. ?

In ancient times, those who are skilled in warfare gained victory where victory was easily gained.

Therefore, the victories from those skilled in warfare are not considered of great wisdom or courage, because their victories have no miscalculations. ?

No miscalculations mean the victories are certain, achieving victory over those who have already lost. ?

Therefore, those skilled in warfare establish positions that make them invincible and do not miss opportunities to attack the enemy. ?

Therefore, a victorious army first obtains conditions for victory, then seeks to do battle.

A defeated army first seeks to do battle, then obtains conditions for victory. ?

Those skilled in warfare cultivate the Way, and preserve the Law, therefore, they govern victory and defeat. ?

The factors in warfare are:

First, measurement, second, quantity, third, calculation, fourth, comparison, and fifth, victory. ?

Measurements are derived from Ground,

quantities are derived from measurement,

calculations are derived from quantities,

comparisons are derived from calculations,

and victories are derived from comparisons. ?

A victorious army is like a ton against an ounce;

a defeated army is like an ounce against a ton!

The victorious army is like pent up waters released, bursting through a deep gorge.

This is formation. ?

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Good stuff singh, please keep it coming...!!

While we talking about ancient principles of war? Does any one like to compare the principles with our khalsa principles of dharam yudh?

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