View Full Version : 36 strategems

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006, 11:03 PM
One should know these asian strategies since our enemies know them well - and asian strategies uses trickery as common, different from our battle ethics. If you don't know that your're an easy victim
Chapter 1, Winning Strategies
Strategy 1 "瞞天過海" "瞒天过海"(man2 tian1 guo4 hai3) - Deceive the sky to cross the ocean
Moving about in the darkness and shadows, occupying isolated places, or hiding behind screens will only attract suspicious attention. To lower an enemy's guard you must act in the open and hide your true intentions under the guise of common every day activities.
Strategy 2 "圍魏救趙" "围魏救赵"(wei2 wei4 jiu4 zhao4) - Besiege Wi to rescue Zho
When the enemy is too strong to attack directly, then attack something he holds dear. Know that in all things he cannot be superior. Somewhere there is a gap in the armour, a weakness that can be attacked instead.
The origins of this proverb is from the Warring States Period. The state of Wi attacked Zhao and laid siege to its capital HnDān. Zho turned to Q for help, but the Q general Sun Bin determined it would be unwise to meet the army of Wi head on, so he instead attacked their capital at DLing. The army of Wi retreated in haste, and they were ambushed and defeated at the Battle of Guiling, with the Wi general Pang Juan slain on the field.
Strategy 3 "借刀殺人" "借刀杀人"(jie4 dao1 sha1 ren2) - Kill with a borrowed knife
Attack using the strength of another (because of lack of strength or do not want to use own strength). Trick an ally into attacking him, bribe an official to turn traitor, or use the enemy's own strength against him.
Strategy 4 "以逸待勞" "以逸待劳"(yi3 mian3 dai4 lao2) - Replace labor with leisure (make your enemy tire himself out while you conserve your forces)
It is an advantage to choose the time and place for battle. In this way you know when and where the battle will take place, while your enemy does not. Encourage your enemy to expend his energy in futile quests while you conserve your strength. When he is exhausted and confused, you attack with energy and purpose.
Strategy 5 "趁火打劫"(chen4 huo3 da3 jie2) - Loot a burning house (attack your enemy when he is weak)
When a country is beset by internal conflicts, when disease and famine ravage the population, when corruption and crime are rampant, then it will be unable to deal with an outside threat. This is the time to attack.
Strategy 6 "聲東擊西" "声东击西"(sheng1 dong1 ji1 xi1) - Make a sound in the east then strike in the west (feint an attack from one side and strike from another)
In any battle the element of surprise can provide an overwhelming advantage. Even when face to face with an enemy, surprise can still be employed by attacking where he least expects it. To do this you must create an expectation in the enemy's mind through the use of a feint.
Chapter 2, Enemy Dealing Strategies
Strategy 7 "無中生有" "无中生有"(wu2 zhong1 sheng1 you3) - Create something from nothing.
You use the same feint twice. Having reacted to the first and often the second feint as well, the enemy will be hesitant to react to a third feint. Therefore the third feint is the actual attack catching your enemy with his guard down.
Strategy 8 "暗渡陳倉" "暗渡陈仓"(an4 du4 chen2 cang1) - Sneak through the passage of Chen Cang (e.g. the Allied invasion of Normandy and the Pas de Calais deception)
Attack the enemy with two convergent forces. The first is the direct attack, one that is obvious and for which the enemy prepares his defense. The second is the indirect, the attack sinister, that the enemy does not expect and which causes him to divide his forces at the last minute leading to confusion and disaster.
This proverb is a shortened form of "明修棧道,暗渡陳倉" "明修栈道,暗渡陈仓" (ming2 xiu1 zhan4 dao4, an4 du4 chen2 cang1), literally translated as "openly repair the mountain pass, but sneak through the passage of Chen Cang". China was briefly united under the rule of Qin Shi Huang after the Warring States Period, but rebellions broke out quickly following his death. The rebel forces were lead mainly by Xiang Yu, yet Liu Bang was able to take Guanzhong, the homeland of the Qin, while Xiang Yu was preoccupied with the Qin army elsewhere. By an earlier agreement, Guanzhong was therefore to be awared to Liu Bang. Xiang Yu revoked his promise however, and sent Liu Bang to Hanzhong instead. Liu Bang had no choice but to accept this decision since Xiang Yu's army was far stronger than his. Following the advice of Han Xin, Liu Bang destroyed the mountain pass connecting Guanzhong and Hanzhong to assure Xiang Yu that he would not return to contend his rule. This was but a ruse though, designed to let Liu Bang raise and train a larger army in peace. Once he was fully prepared, Liu Bang sent men to openly repair the mountain pass he had destroyed earlier, while secretely moving his troops towards Guanzhong through the small town of Chen Cang instead. When Xiang Yu received news of Liu Bang repairing the mountain pass, he dismissed the threat since he knew the repairs would take years to complete. This allowed Liu Bang to retake Guanzhong by surprise, and eventually led to his victory over Xiang Yu and the birth of the Han Dynasty.
Strategy 9 "隔岸觀火" "隔岸观火"(ge4 an4 guan1 huo3) - Watch the fires burning across the river.
Delay entering the field of battle until all the other players have become exhausted fighting amongst themselves. Then go in full strength and pick up the pieces.
Strategy 10 "笑裏藏刀" "笑里藏刀"(xiao4 li3 cang2 dao1) - Hide a knife behind a smile.
Charm and ingratiate yourself to your enemy. When you have gained his trust, you move against him in secret.
Strategy 11 "李代桃僵" "李代桃僵"(li3 dai4 tao2 jiang1) - Sacrifices the plum tree to preserve the peach tree. (Sacrifice the silver to keep the gold.)
There are circumstances in which you must sacrifice short-term objectives in order to gain the long-term goal. This is the scapegoat strategy whereby someone else suffers the consequences so that the rest do not.
Strategy 12 "順手牽羊" "顺手牵羊"(shun4 shou3 qian1 yang2) - Stealing a goat along the way (Take the opportunity to pilfer a goat.)
While carrying out your plans be flexible enough to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself, however small, and avail yourself of any profit, however slight.
[edit]Chapter 3, Attacking Strategies
Strategy 13 "打草驚蛇" "打草惊蛇"(da2 cao3 jing1 she2) - Startle the snake by hitting the grass around it.
When preparing for battle, do not alert your enemy to your intentions or give away your strategy prematurely.
Strategy 14 "借屍還魂" "借尸还魂"(jie4 shi1 huan2 hun2) - Borrow another's corpse to resurrect the soul. (Raise a corpse from the dead.)
Take an institution, a technology, or a method that has been forgotten or discarded and appropriate it for your own purpose. Revive something from the past by giving it a new purpose or to reinterpret and bring to life old ideas, customs, and traditions.
Strategy 15 "調虎離山" "调虎离山"(diao4 hu3 li2 shan1) - Entice the tiger to leave its mountain lair.
Never directly attack an opponent whose advantage is derived from its position. Instead lure him away from his position thus separating him from his source of strength.
Strategy 16 "欲擒姑縱" "欲擒故纵"(yu4 qin2 gu1 zong2) - In order to capture, one must let loose.
Cornered prey will often mount a final desperate attack. To prevent this you let the enemy believe he still has a chance for freedom. His will to fight is thus dampened by his desire to escape. When in the end the freedom is proven a falsehood the enemy's morale will be defeated and he will surrender without a fight.
Strategy 17 "拋磚引玉" "抛砖引玉"(pao1 zhuan1 yin3 yu4) - Tossing out a brick to get a jade
Prepare a trap then lure your enemy into the trap by using bait. In war the bait is the illusion of an opportunity for gain. In life the bait is the illusion of wealth, power, and sex.
This proverb is based on a story involving two famous poets of the Tang Dynasty. There was a great poet named Zhao Gu (趙嘏) and another lesser poet by the name of Chang Jian (常建). While Chang Jian was traveling in Suzhou, he heard news that Zhao Gu would be visiting a temple in the area. Chang Jian wished to learn from the master poet, so he devised a plan and went to the temple in advance, then wrote a poem on the temple walls with only two of the four lines completed, hoping Zhao Gu would see it and finish the poem. Zhao Gu acted as Chang Jian forsaw, and from this story came the proverb.
Strategy 18 "擒賊擒王" "擒贼擒王" (qin2 zei2 qin2 wang2) - Defeat the enemy by capturing their chief.
If the enemy's army is strong but is allied to the commander only by money or threats then, take aim at the leader. If the commander falls the rest of the army will disperse or come over to your side. If, however, they are allied to the leader through loyalty then beware, the army can continue to fight on after his death out of vengeance.
[edit]Chapter 4, Chaos Strategies
Strategy 19 "釜底抽薪" (fu3 de5 chou1 xin1) - Remove the firewood under the cooking pot.
When faced with an enemy too powerful to engage directly you must first weaken him by undermining his foundation and attacking his source of power.
Strategy 20 "混水摸魚"(hun2 shui3 mo1 yu2) - Catch a fish while the water is disturbed.
Before engaging your enemy's forces create confusion to weaken his perception and judgment. Do something unusual, strange, and unexpected as this will arouse the enemy's suspicion and disrupt his thinking. A distracted enemy is thus more vulnerable.
Strategy 21 "金蟬脱殼" (jin1 chan2 tuo1 qiao4) - Slough off the cicada's shell. (False appearances mislead the enemy.)
When you are in danger of being defeated, and your only chance is to escape and regroup, then create an illusion. While the enemy's attention is focused on this artifice, secretly remove your men leaving behind only the facade of your presence.
Strategy 22 "關門捉賊" (guan1 men2 zhou1 zei1)- Shut the door to catch the thief.
If you have the chance to completely capture the enemy then you should do so thereby bringing the battle or war to a quick and lasting conclusion. To allow your enemy to escape plants the seeds for future conflict. But if they succeed in escaping, be wary of giving chase.
Strategy 23 "遠交近攻" (yuan3 jiao1 jin1 gong1) - Befriend a distant state while attacking a neighbor.
It is known that nations that border each other become enemies while nations separated by distance and obstacles make better allies. When you are the strongest in one field, your greatest threat is from the second strongest in your field, not the strongest from another field.
Strategy 24 "假道伐虢" (jia3 dao4 fa2 guo2) - Obtain safe passage to conquer the Kingdom of Guo.
Borrow the resources of an ally to attack a common enemy. Once the enemy is defeated, use those resources to turn on the ally that lent you them in the first place.
[edit]Chapter 5, Proximate Strategies
Strategy 25 "偷梁換柱" (tou1 liang2 huan4 zhu4) - Replace the beams with rotten timbers.
Disrupt the enemy's formations, interfere with their methods of operations, change the rules in which they are used to following, go contrary to their standard training. In this way you remove the supporting pillar, the common link that makes a group of men an effective fighting force.
Strategy 26 "指桑罵槐" (zhi3 sang1 ma4 huai2) - Point at the mulberry tree while cursing the locust tree.
To discipline, control, or warn others whose status or position excludes them from direct confrontation; use analogy and innuendo. Without directly naming names, those accused cannot retaliate without revealing their complicity.
Strategy 27 "假痴不癲" (jia3 chi1 bu4 dian1) - Play dumb.
Hide behind the mask of a fool, a drunk, or a madman to create confusion about your intentions and motivations. Lure your opponent into underestimating your ability until, overconfident, he drops his guard. Then you may attack.
Strategy 28 "上屋抽梯" (shang4 wu1 chou1 ti1) - Remove the ladder when the enemy has ascended to the roof.
With baits and deceptions lure your enemy into treacherous terrain. Then cut off his lines of communication and avenue of escape. To save himself he must fight both your own forces and the elements of nature.
Strategy 29 "樹上開花"(shu4 shang4 kai1 hua1) - Deck the tree with false blossoms.
Tying silk blossoms on a dead tree gives the illusion that the tree is healthy. Through the use of artifice and disguise make something of no value appear valuable; of no threat appear dangerous; of no use appear useful.
Strategy 30 "反客為主"(fan3 ke4 wei2 zhu3) - Make the host and the guest exchange places.
Defeat the enemy from within by infiltrating the enemy's camp under the guise of cooperation, surrender, or peace treaties. In this way you can discover his weakness and then, when the enemy's guard is relaxed, strike directly at the source of his strength.
[edit]Chapter 6, Defeat Strategies
Strategy 31 "美人計" "美人计" (mei3 ren2 ji4) - The beauty trap. (The tender trap, use a woman to ensnare a man.)
Send your enemy beautiful women to cause discord within his camp. This strategy can work on three levels. First, the ruler becomes so enamored with the beauty that he neglects his duties and allows his vigilance to wane. Second, other males at court will begin to display aggressive behavior that inflames minor differences hindering co-operation and destroying morale. Third, other females at court, motivated by jealousy and envy, begin to plot intrigues further exacberating the situation.
Strategy 32 "空城計" "空城计" (kong1 cheng2 ji4) - Empty fort. (Mental trap, empty a fort to make enemy think it is filled with traps.)
When the enemy is superior in numbers and your situation is such that you expect to be overrun at any moment, then drop all pretence of military preparedness and act casually. Unless the enemy has an accurate description of your situation this unusual behavior will arouse suspicions. With luck he will be dissuaded from attacking.
Strategy 33 "反間計" "反间计" (fan3 jian1 ji4) - Let the enemy's own spy sow discord in the enemy camp. (Use enemy's own spy to spread false information.)
Undermine your enemy's ability to fight by secretly causing discord between him and his friends, allies, advisors, family, commanders, soldiers, and population. While he is preoccupied settling internal disputes his ability to attack or defend, is compromised.
Strategy 34 "苦肉計" "苦肉计" (ku3 rou4 ji4) - Inflict injury on one's self to win the enemy's trust. (Fall into a trap; become baited.)
Pretending to be injured has two possible applications. In the first, the enemy is lulled into relaxing his guard since he no longer considers you to be an immediate threat. The second is a way of ingratiating yourself to your enemy by pretending the injury was caused by a mutual enemy.
Strategy 35 "連環計" "连环计" (lian2 huan2 ji4) - Never rely on but a single strategy.
In important matters one should use several strategies applied simultaneously. Keep different plans operating in an overall scheme; in this manner if any one strategy fails you would still have several others to fall back on.
Strategy 36 "走為上策" "走为上策" (zou3 wei2 shang4 ce4) - If all else fails retreat.
Out of all these, this is the most famous one of the 36th strategy. This is immortalized in the form of a Chinese idiom: "Of the Thirty-Six Strategies, fleeing is best." "三十六計,走為上策" "三十六计, 走为上策" If it becomes obvious that your current course of action will lead to defeat then retreat and regroup. When your side is losing there are only three choices remaining: surrender, compromise, or escape. Surrender is complete defeat, compromise is half defeat, but escape is not defeat. As long as you are not defeated, you still have a chance.