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The Annotated Art of War (Parts 5.3-6: Direct and Indirect)

 

Disciplines > Warfare > The Annotated Art of War > Parts 5.3-6: Direct and Indirect

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V. Energy

 

Sun Tzu said: Commentary
3. To ensure that your whole host may withstand the brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken-- this is effected by maneuvers direct and indirect. There are two ways in defense: direct and indirect. Direct is yang, cheng, hard, straight, obvious, expected. Indirect is yin, chi, soft, turning, subtle, surprising.

Direct and indirect used together lead to confusion and mistakes. Mistakes may be slipped around by indirect or allow a direct thrust. Direct hides inside indirect and indirect hides inside direct.

This is a general principle applicable in business and life also.

4. That the impact of your army may be like a grindstone dashed against an egg--this is effected by the science of weak points and strong. A grindstone dashed is a grindstone broken. By an egg? Something strong can be broken by something that seems weak, if the physics is understood.
5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory. Fighting is a direct method. It confronts soldier-to-soldier, and has a cost in life and more.

Yet while you may win a fight or win a battle, winning is not victory, which a more complete and final thing.

6. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams; like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more. There are many indirect alternatives to fighting, such as flanking and attacking from the rear, which may be used separately, sequentially or in any combination.

Indirect methods cause surprise and reaction. Just as the enemy is responding in confusion to an indirect attack, you can apply yet another, to multiply their confusion and ease your victory.

 

 

 

 

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