1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital vital importance to the State.
2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. ruin. Hence it is a subject subject of inquiry inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account taken into account in one's deliberations, deliberations, when seeking seeking to determine determine the conditions obtaining obtaining in the field.
4. These are: (1) the Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) the Commander; (5) method and discipline.
5. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete ac cord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regard regard less of their lives, undismayed by any danger.
6. Heaven signifies signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.
7. Earth comprises comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.
8. The Commander stands for stands for the virtues virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, benevolence, courage and strictness.
9. By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.
10. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.
11. Therefore, in your deliberations, deliberations, when seeking seeking to determ ine the military conditions, let let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise: —
12. (1) Which of the two sovereigns sovereigns is imbued imbued with the Moral Law? (2) Which of the two generals has most ability? ability? (3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? (4) On which side is discipline most rigorously rigorously enforced? enforced? (5) Which army is stronger? (6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained? (7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?
13. By means means of these seven considerations considerations I can forecast forecast victory or defeat. defeat.
14. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: conquer: — let let such a one be retained retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat: defeat: — let let such a one be dismissed!
15. While heeding heeding the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances circumstances over and beyond beyond the ordinary rules.
16. According According as circumstances circumstances are favourable, one should modify modify one's plans.
17. All warfare is based on based on deception. deception.
18. Hence, when able able to attack, we must seem seem unable; unable; when using our forces, we must seem seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
19. Hold out baits baits to entice entice the enemy. Feign Feign disorder, disorder, and crush crush him.
20. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade evade him.
21. If your opponent opponent is of choleric choleric temper, seek seek to irritate him. Pretend Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. arrogant. .
22.If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, united, separate them.
23. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear appear where you are not expected.
24. These military devices, leading to leading to victory, must not be divulged divulged beforehand. beforehand.
25. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations before hand. Thus do many calculations lead to lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.