|Sun Tzu said:
18. When the enemy is close at hand and remains quiet, he is relying on the
natural strength of his position.
||An enemy that does
not attack or does not flee is likely confident where they are. If
you cannot see their advantage, be very wary.
It is also possible
that they can see no advantageous action. To know this, look for
signs of confusion in their camp.
In business, if a competitor is
not taking competitive action, ask yourself why.
19. When he keeps aloof and tries to provoke a battle, he is anxious for the
other side to advance.
|An enemy that avoids
an all-out fight does so for a reason.
If they repeatedly provoke you and then retreat, they clearly
want you to follow, perhaps to a place of their choosing for the
battle or into an ambush.
Beware of business competitors who make
weak provocation. They may be testing you or seeking to drain your
resources in ineffective responses.
|20. If his place of encampment is easy of access, he is tendering a bait.
||Beware an enemy which
seems relaxed. If it seems easy that you can walk into their
territory and especially into their encampment, they are either very
foolish or are seeking to ambush you.
|21. Movement amongst the trees of a forest shows that the enemy is advancing.
The appearance of a number of screens in the midst of thick grass means that the
enemy wants to make us suspicious.
||Watch for signs of
movement, not just of their troops but also of undergrowth where
they may be hiding.
Also be suspicious of what appears to be natural cover in an area
where there is no other cover.
|22. The rising of birds in their flight is the sign of an ambuscade. Startled
beasts indicate that a sudden attack is coming.
||Birds will rise when
startled, not just when men are around. The arrival of a large force
will startle a large number of birds. Even a few birds rising may
indicate an unknown number of troops moving in the area.
Learn to read the signs that nature offers you about the presence
and movement of troops, both near and afar.
In business, look for
the weak and indirect indicators of competitive action, such as busy
suppliers and silent customers.
|23. When there is dust rising in a high column, it is the sign of chariots
advancing; when the dust is low, but spread over a wide area, it betokens the
approach of infantry. When it branches out in different directions, it shows
that parties have been sent to collect firewood. A few clouds of dust moving to
and fro signify that the army is encamping.
||When the ground is
dry, men and machines will kick up dust and send signals that can be
seen many miles away.
Learn to read the distant signs of different types of activity.
|24. Humble words and increased preparations are signs that the enemy is about
to advance. Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack are signs
that he will retreat.
||The enemy will try to
deceive you in their speech and visible actions, most typically by
trying appear they are deciding what they are not. Appearing
to leave is hence intended to relax you, while appearing to prepare for
battle is intended to make you pause.
|25. When the light chariots come out first and take up a position on the
wings, it is a sign that the enemy is forming for battle.
||Light chariots, like
light modern armor, are a combination of fast and powerful, intended
to race to more distant places. In particular when they are on the
wings, they are likely to be used for
also, of course, be used just to make you think this will happen.
|26. Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant indicate a plot.
||In a military arena
where both sides agree to a tacit code, then both will likely follow
that code, but nothing else. Where the code says that a sworn
covenant will be followed, but anything else is allowed, then only
the covenant can be believed.
Understand the codes that your enemy
will follow, including of honor and dishonor. If the code is 'All's
fair in love and war' then do not even believe a covenant.
One thing that may happen is where an enemy has different codes
to you, but acts as if they follow the same codes, so deceiving you.
In civilian life, codes are equivalent to
|27. When there is much running about and the soldiers fall into rank, it
means that the critical moment has come.
||Running about and
apparent disorder may be a sign of actual disorder, but it may also
be a ruse. Watch for the disorder turning into order.
|28. When some are seen advancing and some retreating, it is a lure.
||Armies tend to
advance or retreat in unison unless the majority take fright and a
few suicidally brave souls remain.
Watch also for any retreat that
does not make sense. If the enemy seems to be gifting you, then it
is very likely a deceit that is designed to entrap you.