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Knowing the Enemy General

 

Disciplines > WarfareWu Zi's Art of War > Knowing the Enemy General

Chapter | Observed lessons | Discussion | See also

 

Chapter

Second part : 4 : 4

Observed lessons

  • Understand the enemy's leader and how he approaches war.
  • Approaches you can use include:
    • Deceive or entrap those who are stupid and trusting.
    • Bribe those who are greedy and lack integrity.
    • Wear out those who change their minds easily.
    • Sow discord where the upper ranks are arrogant and lower ranks are resentful.
    • Where you see doubt in movement, create fear that leads to retreat.
    • Where officers do not respect the leader and want to go home, block off the easy routes and lay ambush in the trickier ways.
    • When advance is easier for them than retreat, wait for them.
    • When retreat is easier than advance, push them back.
    • If they camp in wetlands, wait for rain and flood.
    • If they camp amongst trees or grasses, use fire.
    • If they camp for a long time, wait for them to be lax and then launch a surprise attack.

Discussion

Understanding their leader can give great advantage. War is often more about taking advantage of people and situations than executing previously-known plans. Whenever you get new information, current plans should be reviewed in the light of this, although do beware of constantly changing tack in ways that hinder progress and confuse your troops.

Remember also that your enemy will also be assessing your leader and your approaches in movement, attack, retreat and so on. This gives you opportunity to lead them to think that you will likely do one thing when you can then act in surprising ways that catch them off guard.

See also

Leadership

 

http://www.chinese-wiki.com/Wu_Zi_Art_of_War

 

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