“Sun Wu lived in the State of Wu during the period of the Warring States in ancient China. He was known as Sun Zi to later generations. He was not only a military genius, but also China’s first great military strategist. He established China’s military theory and practice which have become classics in Chinese military history.”
The Life of Sun Wu
Sun Wu better known as Sun Zi was a native of the State of Qi who lived and worked in the period of the Warring States (BC 476 – 221) in China. His most famous work was The Art of War in 13 chapters.
CHAPTER 1 – CALCULATION
War is of vital importance to a country. It involves life and death. It also affects the country’s fortunes. Therefore, it needs careful study.
Moral Cause, Nature, Situation, Leadership Discipline
There are five things to consider in the study of warfare. The first is Moral Cause. The second is Nature. The third is Situation. The fourth is Leadership. The fifth is Discipline.
Moral cause enables the people and the government to share a common belief. People can then work with the government through thick and thin, even at the expense of their lives.
Nature concerns the weather, seasons, etc., changes in climatic conditions and the limitations of time.
Situation concerns distance the nature of terrain, and whether the physical conditions favour escape from death.
Leadership refers to the qualities a commander needs to fight a war. They include wisdom, confidence, compassion, courage and firmness among others.
Discipline includes the system of reward and punishment, logistics, etc… These five fundamentals must be thoroughly understood by every commander. Those who know them well will win. Those who don’t will be defeated.
Look into all aspects, study the facts and then ask: Who can pull the people and army together? Who has a better commander? Who has advantage over climate and terrain? Who can command better order and discipline? Who has a superior army? Who has better trained men? Who has a fairer system of reward and punishment? From these answers the outcome of war can be predicted.
War is full of deceptions. The capable must pretend to be incapable. Appear inactive when one wants to activate the army. When attacking a close target pretend to be looking at a further objective. When attacking a faraway target, pretend to be invading an immediate objective.
Entice your enemy with the bait of small gains and crush them after throwing their forces into internal strife. Be vigilant when your enemy is alert and without weaknesses. Retreat temporarily when your enemy is strong. Provoke your enemy to cause its anger. Pretend to be weak so that your enemy will become complacent. Sow discord when your enemy forces are united. Attack when the enemy forces are unprepared. Attacking by surprise is the secret of success. But always be flexible in strategy. War is very unpredictable.
Before wars erupt, weigh the strengths and weaknesses of both your own and the enemy forces. If your forces are in an advantageous position the chance of victory will be good. If your forces are not in an advantageous position, the chance of victory won’t be good. Careful planning will lead to victory. Poor planning will lead to defeat. Worse if there is no planning at all! After such deliberations we can predict victory or defeat in war.