The Annotated Art of War (Parts 11.11-14: Nine Ground Tactics)
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XI. The Nine Situations
|Sun Tzu said:
11. On dispersive ground, therefore, fight not. On facile ground, halt not.
On contentious ground, attack not.
Nine Varieties of Ground, here are
Avoid fighting in your own territory unless
necessary. It is better to make the enemy realize they have no
When you are just inside enemy territory, keep going to build a
buffer against your own borders. To fight and lose would result in
repulsion or lay your lands open for attack.
When on ground that is advantageous to both, defend it rather
than sally forth to attack.
|12. On open ground,
do not try to block the enemy's way. On the ground of intersecting
highways, join hands with your allies.
||When on ground where
all can move easily, move quickly to deflect and redirect the enemy
to places where you can beat them.
At the confluence of routes,
use alliances who have similar interests to control traffic.
|13. On serious
ground, gather in plunder. In difficult ground, keep steadily on the
||Where the enemy may
come up behind you, take what you can and move on.
terrain slows you down, keep going, for to be caught and have to
fight here could be hazardous.
|14. On hemmed-in
ground, resort to stratagem. On desperate ground, fight.
||When there are narrow
ways, use these to your advantage.
When you have now way out, then
you must fight.
Note that fighting is the last thing you should do. It is better
to maneuver and so win without losing