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Military Vanguard

 

Disciplines > WarfareThe Six Secret Teachings > 6.2 Military Vanguard

Teaching set  | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Teaching set

Leopard Secret Teachings 6.2 (52)

Observed lessons

  • There are fourteen changes that the enemy may make which are good points to attack them:
    • When they are assembling.
    • When men and horses have not been fed.
    • When weather or climate is not good for them.
    • When they have not secured good terrain.
    • When they are retreating.
    • When they are not being vigilant.
    • When they are tired.
    • When the commander is away.
    • When they are on the march.
    • When they are crossing rivers.
    • When the troops have not had any recreation for some time.
    • When they are in steep-sided ravines or narrow roads.
    • When their battle order is in disarray.
    • When they are afraid.

Discussion

Simplifying this list, the best time to attack is when the enemy is:

  • Vulnerable
  • Tired
  • Unready
  • Confused
  • Frightened

To know when to attack, the enemy must be watched carefully. It is normal in war to keep as good intelligence as you can, and it pays dividends when it tells you when and how to defeat them. You can of course take specific actions to lead them into these states of vulnerability.

This principle can also be used in business, watching competitors and attacking them when they are least able to respond. For example when they post poor financial results you might start a price war.

See also

Demoralization, Fear

 

Sawyer, R.D. (1993). The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China, Basic Books

 

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