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How to use the card deck for strategy planning

Short Concept Video

Robert Cantrell, the author, is a professional strategist and documentary film maker www.allfinson.com.  He is a black belt in Kung Fu, and former infantry officer with the 101st Airborne and 11th Group Special Forces (Reserve)


For volume orders, contact (703) 642-2027 or better, info@centerforadvantage.com


Companion Book


Martial Arts Application

Strategy Sparring™ 

A game to increase the pace and agility of your strategic thinking.

Strategy Sparring™ is a new game developed with a Foreign Services officer.  The intent of the game is to develop strategic mental agility just as you would develop physical martial arts agility when training at a dojo.

Just like physical martial arts sparing, there is not winner per say in this game.  The goal is to improve the thinking skills under fire of both participants.  You use the cards from the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck to exercise your mind and develop real-time strategic agility on your feet.

Shuffle the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck, and draw five cards each.  Decide who goes first.  Draw another card from the deck and place the card face up on the table.  In less than 10 seconds, have the first player select a counterstrategy from his card deck, place that card face up on the table, and draw a replacement card from the deck.  In less than 10 seconds, have the second player select a counter strategy to the first player’s card, place that card face up on the table, and draw a replacement card from the deck.  Continue this sparing cycle until you go through the entire deck.  (If you have a chess clock or two stop watches, you can use them to keep up the pace and make the sparing more competitive.)

After a few round of this game, you should notice that the pace of your strategic thinking has increased.  In any competitive situation, that could give you a decisive edge.

Notes from description

Strategy Sparring™ teaches mental agility for strategic thinkers in the same way that physical martial arts sparing teaches participants how to attack and defend when fighting.  All participants in this game are winners in life because the pace and agility of their strategic thinking will increase significantly after a few rounds of play.  For anyone who needs to make split second decisions under fire, these skills could prove lifesaving.





How to Think Strategically

Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck

The situation is critical


(See cards on Amazon.com)

The cards you play when it's not a gameTM

Thousands of copies sold worldwide


Short Video

"Better weapons do not win wars.  Better minds do."


This Web site offers for sale a unique tool to help you think strategically.  The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck describes 54 of the most important strategic principles people use to survive and win during challenging times.  Over the last eight years these card decks have been carried into board rooms, court rooms, and onto actual battlefields.

The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck is inspired by three sources:

1. Classical Chinese strategists who sought to codify strategy.

2. The famous football coach Vince Lombardi who said, "Excellence is achieved by the mastery of the fundamentals."

3. Whoever it was who provided the tank and aircraft identification playing card decks when I was in the Army.  

The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck has been vetted by top strategists from institutions such as the National Defense University and the School of Advanced Military Studies with whom I have had the opportunity to work.  The military is my largest market.  My second largest market after the military are litigation attorneys who are fighting some of the biggest corporate wars out there now.  The cards cut through the specifics of what it means to be in this profession or that, and gets right down to the primal core of what people do to each other to achieve and protect their interests when other people get in the way.  It is a tool to advance and defend your interests.

The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck is guaranteed.  If you are not 100 percent satisfied, simply return it, and you will receive a refund for the entire purchase price. - Robert Cantrell


The situation is critical. 

Which card will you play?TM

See User's Guide

Sample Cards

Special Features

Easy to Understand

The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck summarizes in 1,600 words information that other strategy texts can take over 100,000 words to describe.  This means you can review the material in total time and again.  You can master the art of competitive strategy the same way you would learn any other martial art, through meaningful repetition.  Then, since the concepts are not fixed in any specific order, you can mix and match the cards to find the combinations that will work for you. 

(You can also just play cards with them.)

Available Companion Book

Though not required to use the product, the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck is backed by a companion book Understanding Sun Tzu on the Art of War if you wish to explore the meanings of the cards further.  This book received a Reviewer's Choice Selection from the Small Press Review.

The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck looks attractive on a desk or table.  That's where most of my friends keep theirs.  The cards themselves are of the highest-quality casino-grade card stock.  The spear pictured on the box cover and card backs was hand forged in a manual blacksmith shop by a former Navy Seal in just the way they were forged 2,500 years ago.      

Purchase on Amazon.com


Ideas Inspired by China; Product Made in the USA

Cards written and designed at Center For Advantage of Arlington, VA

Cards made by Carta Mundi of Kingsport, TN

Cards distributed by Book Masters of Akron, Ohio



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Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck Index to the original Art of War

The following text links the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck to the Art of War.  Each playing card in the Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck represents a derivative of several ideas presented in Sun Tzu on the Art of War.  The purpose of the cards is to offer ways to put Sun Tzu's ideas into actual practice.  The following text of the Art of War links Sun Tzu's ideas to cards that commonly, but not exclusively, provide actions by which to carry those ideas out or take advantage of their effect

 I. LAYING PLANS                   
 1. Sun Tzu said:  The art of war is of  vital importance  to the State. 
 Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Clubs; Ace of Hearts;
 2. It is a matter of life and death, a  road either to safety or to ruin.  Hence
 it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
 Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Clubs; Ace of Hearts;
 3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken
 into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the 
 conditions obtaining in the field.
 4. These are:  (1) The Moral Law;  (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) 
 The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
 5,6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler,
 so that they will follow him  regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.
 7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold  and heat, times and seasons.
 8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open 
 ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.
 9. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, 
 benevolence, courage and strictness.
 10. By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army 
 in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, 
 the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the
 control of military expenditure.
 11. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them
 will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.
 12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military 
 conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:--
 Jack of Clubs;
 13. (1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law?
    (2) Which of the two generals has most ability?
    (3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven
        and Earth?
    (4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
    (5) Which army is stronger?
    (6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained?
    (7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and 
 Jack of Clubs;
 14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory
 or defeat.
 Jack of Clubs;
 15. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: 
  let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my 
 counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat:--let such a one be dismissed!
 Ace of Spades; Ace of Clubs;
 16. While heading the profit of my counsel,  avail yourself also of any 
 helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules.
 All especially Ace of Spades; King of Spades; Jack of Spades; 
 10 of Spades; 8 of Spades; 6 of Spades; 5 of Spades; 
 4 of Spades; 2 of Spades; Queen of Diamonds; 2 of Diamonds; 
 Ace of Clubs; King of Clubs; 9 of Clubs; 7 of Clubs; 
Jack of Hearts; 2 of Hearts;
 17. According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's 
 6 of Spades; 2 of Spades; 2 of Diamonds; 9 of Clubs; 
 Jack of Hearts;
 18. All warfare is based on deception.
 10 of Diamonds; Queen of Hearts;
 19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our 
 forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy
 believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we 
 are near.
 10 of Diamonds; 6 of Clubs; 5 of Clubs; Queen of Hearts;
 20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy.  Feign disorder, and crush him.
 6 of Diamonds;
 21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior 
 strength, evade him.
 2 of Hearts;
 22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him.  Pretend 
 to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
 5 of Hearts;
 23. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest.  If his forces are united, separate
9 of Spades; Ace of Diamonds;
 24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
Jack of Spades; 6 of Clubs;
 25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged 
 26. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in 
 his temple ere the battle is fought.  The general who loses a battle 
 makes but few calculations beforehand.  Thus do many 
 calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much 
 more no calculation at all!  It is by attention to this point that I can foresee 
 who is likely to win or lose.
 II. WAGING WAR                    
  1. Sun Tzu said:  In the operations of war,
    where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots,
    as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand
    mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them
    a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front,
    including entertainment of guests, small items such as
    glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor,
    will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. 
    Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.
 2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory
    is long in coming, then men's weapons will grow dull and
    their ardor will be damped.  If you lay siege to a town,
    you will exhaust your strength.
 2 of Clubs;
 3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources
    of the State will not be equal to the strain.
 2 of Clubs;
 4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped,
    your strength exhausted and your treasure spent,
    other chieftains will spring up to take advantage
    of your extremity.  Then no man, however wise,
    will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.
 2 of Clubs;
 5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war,
    cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.
 6. There is no instance of a country having benefited
    from prolonged warfare.
 Queen of Clubs; 2 of Clubs; 2 of Hearts;
 7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted
    with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand
    the profitable way of carrying it on.
 8. The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy,
    neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice.
 9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage
    on the enemy.  Thus the army will have food enough
    for its needs.
 10. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army
    to be maintained by contributions from a distance. 
    Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes
    the people to be impoverished.
 11. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes
    prices to go up; and high prices cause the people's
    substance to be drained away.
 9 of Spades; Queen of Diamonds;
 12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry
    will be afflicted by heavy exactions.
 13,14. With this loss of substance and exhaustion
    of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare,
    and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated;
    while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses,
    breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields,
    protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons,
    will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue.
 Queen of Diamonds;
 15. Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging
    on the enemy.  One cartload of the enemy's provisions
    is equivalent to twenty of one's own, and likewise
    a single picul of his provender is equivalent to twenty
    from one's own store.
 16. Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must
    be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from
    defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards.
 Ace of Spades;
 17. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots
    have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. 
    Our own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy,
    and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. 
    The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept.
 Ace of Clubs;
 18. This is called, using the conquered foe to augment
    one's own strength.
 Ace of Clubs;
 19. In war, then, let your great object be victory,
    not lengthy campaigns.
 20. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies
    is the arbiter of the people's fate, the man on whom it
    depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril.
 III. ATTACK BY STRATAGEM                      
 1. Sun Tzu said:  In the practical art of war, the best
    thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact;
    to shatter and destroy it is not so good.  So, too, it is
    better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it,
    to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire
    than to destroy them.
 Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Clubs;
 2. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles
    is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists
    in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
 4 of Spades; Ace of Clubs;
 3. Thus the highest form of generalship is to
    balk the enemy's plans; the next best is to prevent
    the junction of the enemy's forces; the next in
    order is to attack the enemy's army in the field;
    and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.
 King of Spades; 8 of Spades;
 4. The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it
    can possibly be avoided.  The preparation of mantlets,
    movable shelters, and various implements of war, will take
    up three whole months; and the piling up of mounds over
    against the walls will take three months more.
 5. The general, unable to control his irritation,
    will launch his men to the assault like swarming ants,
    with the result that one-third of his men are slain,
    while the town still remains untaken.  Such are the disastrous
    effects of a siege.
 6. Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy's
    troops without any fighting; he captures their cities
    without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom
    without lengthy operations in the field.
 4 of Spades;
 7. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery
    of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph
    will be complete.  This is the method of attacking by stratagem.
 Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds ; Ace of Clubs; Ace of Hearts;
 8. It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten
    to the enemy's one, to surround him; if five to one,
    to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army
    into two.
 Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Clubs; Ace of Hearts;
 9. If equally matched, we can offer battle;
    if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy;
    if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.
 Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Clubs; Ace of Hearts;
 Plus 5 of Clubs; 2 of Hearts;
 10. Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made
    by a small force, in the end it must be captured
    by the larger force.
 Queen of Spades;
 11. Now the general is the bulwark of the State;
    if the bulwark is complete at all points; the State will
    be strong; if the bulwark is defective, the State will
    be weak.
 5 Spades;
 12. There are three ways in which a ruler can bring
    misfortune upon his army:--
 All below 9 of Clubs; 8 of Clubs; 6 of Clubs; 3 of Clubs;  
 13. (1) By commanding the army to advance or to retreat,
    being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey. 
    This is called hobbling the army.
 14. (2) By attempting to govern an army in the
    same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant
    of the conditions which obtain in an army.  This causes
    restlessness in the soldier's minds.
 15. (3) By employing the officers of his army
    without discrimination, through ignorance of the
    military principle of adaptation to circumstances. 
    This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.
 16. But when the army is restless and distrustful,
    trouble is sure to come from the other feudal princes. 
    This is simply bringing anarchy into the army, and flinging
    victory away.
 17. Thus we may know that there are five essentials
    for victory:
 All below Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Clubs; 
 Ace of Hearts;
    (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when
        not to fight.
    (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior
        and inferior forces.
    (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same
        spirit throughout all its ranks.
    (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take
        the enemy unprepared.
 10 of Clubs;
    (5) He will win who has military capacity and is
        not interfered with by the sovereign.
 18. Hence the saying:  If you know the enemy
    and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a
    hundred battles.  If you know yourself but not the enemy,
    for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. 
    If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will
    succumb in every battle.
 IV. TACTICAL DISPOSITIONS                    
 1. Sun Tzu said:  The good fighters of old first put
    themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then
    waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
 6 of Spades; Ace of Hearts;
 2. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our
    own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy
    is provided by the enemy himself.
 6 of Spades; 2 of Spades; 9 of Clubs; Jack of Hearts;
 3. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat,
    but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.
 Ace of Hearts;
 4. Hence the saying:  One may know how to conquer
    without being able to do it.
 Ace of Hearts;
 5. Security against defeat implies defensive tactics;
    ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.
 6. Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient
    strength; attacking, a superabundance of strength.
 7. The general who is skilled in defense hides in the
    most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in
    attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven. 
    Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves;
    on the other, a victory that is complete.
 8. To see victory only when it is within the ken
    of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.
 9. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight
    and conquer and the whole Empire says, "Well done!"
 10. To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength;
    to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight;
    to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.
 11. What the ancients called a clever fighter is
    one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.
 Ace of Spades; King of Spades; Queen of Spades; 
 8 of Diamonds;
 12. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation
    for wisdom nor credit for courage.
 13. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. 
    Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty
    of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is
    already defeated.
 King of Spades; Queen of Spades; 7 of Clubs;
 14. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into
    a position which makes defeat impossible, and does
    not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.
 Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Clubs; 
Ace of Hearts;
 15. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist
    only seeks battle after the victory has been won,
    whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights
    and afterwards looks for victory.
 16. The consummate leader cultivates the moral law,
    and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is
    in his power to control success.
 17. In respect of military method, we have,
    firstly, Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity;
    thirdly, Calculation; fourthly, Balancing of chances;
    fifthly, Victory.
 18. Measurement owes its existence to Earth;
    Estimation of quantity to Measurement; Calculation to
    Estimation of quantity; Balancing of chances to Calculation;
    and Victory to Balancing of chances.
 19. A victorious army opposed to a routed one, is as
    a pound's weight placed in the scale against a single grain.
 Queen of Spades;
 20. The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting
    of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep.
 Queen of Spades;
 V. ENERGY                 
  1. Sun Tzu said:  The control of a large force
    is the same principle as the control of a few men: 
    it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers.
 2. Fighting with a large army under your command
    is nowise different from fighting with a small one: 
    it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals.
 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.
 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.
 5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used
    for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed
    in order to secure victory.
 All especially 7 of Spades; 9 of Diamonds;
 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.
 All especially Queen of Clubs;
 7. There are not more than five musical notes,
    yet the combinations of these five give rise to more
    melodies than can ever be heard.
 *Central theme, there are 54 strategy cards that can 
 be used in an infinite combinations. 
 8. There are not more than five primary colors
    (blue, yellow, red, white, and black), yet in combination
    they produce more hues than can ever been seen.
 *Central theme, there are 54 strategy cards that can 
 be used in an infinite combinations. 
 9. There are not more than five cardinal tastes
    (sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter), yet combinations
    of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted.
  *Central theme, there are 54 strategy cards that can 
  be used in an infinite combinations. 
 10. In battle, there are not more than two methods
    of attack--the direct and the indirect; yet these two
    in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.
 11. The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn. 
    It is like moving in a circle--you never come to an end. 
    Who can exhaust the possibilities of their combination?
  All especially 9 of Diamonds; 6 of Clubs;
 12. The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent
    which will even roll stones along in its course.
  Queen of Spades;
 13. The quality of decision is like the well-timed
    swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy
    its victim.
  Ace of Spades;
 14. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible
    in his onset, and prompt in his decision.
  Queen of Spades;
 15. Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow;
    decision, to the releasing of a trigger.
 16. Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may
    be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all;
    amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without head
    or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat.
  Queen of Clubs, 6 of Clubs;
 17. Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline,
    simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness
    postulates strength.
  Queen of Hearts;
 18. Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is
    simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under
    a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy;
    masking strength with weakness is to be effected
    by tactical dispositions.
  Queen of Hearts;
 19. Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy
    on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to
    which the enemy will act.  He sacrifices something,
    that the enemy may snatch at it.
  Queen of Hearts; 8 of Diamonds; 7 of Diamonds; 6 of Diamonds;
 20. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march;
    then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.
  8 of Diamonds; 7 of Diamonds; 6 of Diamonds;
 21. The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined
    energy, and does not require too much from individuals. 
    Hence his ability to pick out the right men and utilize
    combined energy.
  All especially 7 of Spades;
 22. When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting
    men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. 
    For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain
    motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope;
    if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if
    round-shaped, to go rolling down.
  7 of Spades;
 23. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men
    is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain
    thousands of feet in height.  So much on the subject
    of energy.
  Queen of Spade;
 1. Sun Tzu said:  Whoever is first in the field and
    awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight;
    whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle
    will arrive exhausted.
  King of Clubs; 10 of Clubs;
 2. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on
    the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.
  Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Clubs; Ace of Hearts;
  plus 10 of Spades; 10 of Clubs;
 3. By holding out advantages to him, he can cause the enemy
    to approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting damage,
    he can make it impossible for the enemy to draw near.
  Ace of Diamonds; 10 of Clubs;
 4. If the enemy is taking his ease, he can harass him;
    if well supplied with food, he can starve him out;
    if quietly encamped, he can force him to move.
  9 of Clubs;
 5. Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend;
    march swiftly to places where you are not expected.
 Jack of Spades; Jack of Diamonds; Eight of Diamonds; 
 King of Clubs; Jack of Clubs; 6 of Clubs; 
 6. An army may march great distances without distress,
    if it marches through country where the enemy is not.
 7. You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks
    if you only attack places which are undefended. You can
    ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold
    positions that cannot be attacked.
  10 of Diamonds; King of Clubs; 
 8. Hence that general is skillful in attack whose
    opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful
    in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
  7 of Spades; 10 of Diamonds; 8 of Clubs; Ace of Hearts; 
  Queen of Hearts;
 9. O divine art of subtlety and secrecy!  Through you
    we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible;
    and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.
  9 of Diamonds; 8 of Clubs; Ace of Hearts; King of Hearts; 
  10 of Hearts; 6 of Hearts;
 10. You may advance and be absolutely irresistible,
    if you make for the enemy's weak points; you may retire
    and be safe from pursuit if your movements are more rapid
    than those of the enemy.
  Queen of Spades; Queen of Diamonds; Queen of Clubs;
 11. If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced
    to an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a high
    rampart and a deep ditch.  All we need do is attack
    some other place that he will be obliged to relieve.
  Queen of Diamonds; Jack of Diamonds; 8 of Diamonds; 
  10 of Clubs;
 12. If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent
    the enemy from engaging us even though the lines
    of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. 
    All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable
    in his way.
  8 of Spades; Black Joker; 3 of Spades; 6 of Clubs; 5 of Clubs; 4 of Hearts; Red Joker;
 13. By discovering the enemy's dispositions and remaining
    invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated,
    while the enemy's must be divided.
  Queen of Spades; 7 of Spades; 10 of Hearts; 8 of Hearts;
 14. We can form a single united body, while the
    enemy must split up into fractions.  Hence there will
    be a whole pitted against separate parts of a whole,
    which means that we shall be many to the enemy's few.
  Queen of Spades; 7 of Spades;
 15. And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force
    with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits.
  Ace of Spades; Queen of Spades; Queen of Diamonds;
 16. The spot where we intend to fight must not be
    made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare
    against a possible attack at several different points;
    and his forces being thus distributed in many directions,
    the numbers we shall have to face at any given point will
    be proportionately few.
  Queen of Spades; 7 of Spades; Ace of Clubs; 8 of Clubs; 6 of Clubs;
 17. For should the enemy strengthen his van,
    he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear,
    he will weaken his van; should he strengthen his left,
    he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right,
    he will weaken his left.  If he sends reinforcements everywhere,
    he will everywhere be weak.
  7 of Spades; Queen of Clubs;
 18. Numerical weakness comes from having to prepare
    against possible attacks; numerical strength, from compelling
    our adversary to make these preparations against us.
  Queen of Spades; 7 of Spades;
 19. Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle,
    we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order
    to fight.
 20. But if neither time nor place be known,
    then the left wing will be impotent to succor the right,
    the right equally impotent to succor the left, the van
    unable to relieve the rear, or the rear to support the van. 
    How much more so if the furthest portions of the army are
    anything under a hundred LI apart, and even the nearest
    are separated by several LI!
  8 of Clubs; 6 of Clubs;
 21. Though according to my estimate the soldiers
    of Yueh exceed our own in number, that shall advantage
    them nothing in the matter of victory.  I say then
    that victory can be achieved.
 22. Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may
    prevent him from fighting.  Scheme so as to discover
    his plans and the likelihood of their success.
  10 of Spades; 3 of Clubs; King of Hearts; 10 of Hearts; 8 of Hearts; 
 23. Rouse him, and learn the principle of his
    activity or inactivity.  Force him to reveal himself,
    so as to find out his vulnerable spots.
  8 of Hearts;
 24. Carefully compare the opposing army with your own,
    so that you may know where strength is superabundant
    and where it is deficient.
 25. In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch
    you can attain is to conceal them; conceal your dispositions,
    and you will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies,
    from the machinations of the wisest brains.
  8 of Clubs; King of Hearts; 6 of Hearts;
 26. How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy's
    own tactics--that is what the multitude cannot comprehend.
  It is the tactics that an enemy uses that allows the 
  strategies described on the cards to work.
27. All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer,
    but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory
    is evolved.
  It is the combination of strategies described on the cards 
  that is unique to you.
 28. Do not repeat the tactics which have gained
    you one victory, but let your methods be regulated
    by the infinite variety of circumstances.
  7 of Spades;
29. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its
    natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards.
30. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong
    and to strike at what is weak.
 Jack of Spades; Queen of Diamonds; 8 of Diamonds; 
 Jack of Hearts;
31. Water shapes its course according to the nature
    of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works
    out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
 It is the tactics that an enemy uses that allows the 
 strategies described on the cards to work.
32. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape,
    so in warfare there are no constant conditions.
33. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his
    opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called
    a heaven-born captain.
34. The five elements (water, fire, wood, metal, earth)
    are not always equally predominant; the four seasons make
    way for each other in turn.  There are short days and long;
    the moon has its periods of waning and waxing.
 VII. MANEUVERING                     
 1. Sun Tzu said:  In war, the general receives his commands 
from the sovereign.
 5 of Spades;
 2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces,
    he must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof
    before pitching his camp.
 3. After that, comes tactical maneuvering,
    than which there is nothing more difficult. 
    The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists
    in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.
 4. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route,
    after enticing the enemy out of the way, and though starting
    after him, to contrive to reach the goal before him,
    shows knowledge of the artifice of deviation.
 5. Maneuvering with an army is advantageous;
    with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.
 6. If you set a fully equipped army in march in order
    to snatch an advantage, the chances are that you will be
    too late.  On the other hand, to detach a flying column
    for the purpose involves the sacrifice of its baggage
    and stores.
 7. Thus, if you order your men to roll up their
    buff-coats, and make forced marches without halting day
    or night, covering double the usual distance at a stretch,
    doing a hundred LI in order to wrest an advantage,
    the leaders of all your three divisions will fall into
    the hands of the enemy.
 8. The stronger men will be in front, the jaded
    ones will fall behind, and on this plan only one-tenth
    of your army will reach its destination.
 9. If you march fifty LI in order to outmaneuver
    the enemy, you will lose the leader of your first division,
    and only half your force will reach the goal.
10. If you march thirty LI with the same object,
    two-thirds of your army will arrive.
11. We may take it then that an army without its
    baggage-train is lost; without provisions it is lost;
    without bases of supply it is lost.
12. We cannot enter into alliances until we are
    acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.
 3 of Spades; 4 of Diamonds; 7 of Clubs; 4 of Clubs; 10 of Hearts; 3 of Hearts;
13. We are not fit to lead an army on the march
    unless we are familiar with the face of the country--its
    mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices,
    its marshes and swamps.
14. We shall be unable to turn natural advantage
    to account unless we make use of local guides.
15. In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed.
 8 of Spades;
16. Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops,
    must be decided by circumstances.
17. Let your rapidity be that of the wind,
    your compactness that of the forest.
 Queen of Clubs;
18. In raiding and plundering be like fire,
    is immovability like a mountain.
19. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night,
    and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
 Queen of Spades; Jack of Spades; Jack of Diamonds; 
 8 of Clubs; 6 of Clubs; King of Hearts; 10 of Hearts;
20. When you plunder a countryside, let the spoil be
    divided amongst your men; when you capture new territory,
    cut it up into allotments for the benefit of the soldiery.
 Ace of Clubs;
21. Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.
22. He will conquer who has learnt the artifice
    of deviation.  Such is the art of maneuvering.
23. The Book of Army Management says:  On the field
    of battle, the spoken word does not carry far enough: 
    hence the institution of gongs and drums.  Nor can ordinary
    objects be seen clearly enough:  hence the institution
    of banners and flags.
24. Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means
    whereby the ears and eyes of the host may be focused
    on one particular point.
25. The host thus forming a single united body,
    is it impossible either for the brave to advance alone,
    or for the cowardly to retreat alone.  This is the art
    of handling large masses of men.
26. In night-fighting, then, make much use of signal-fires
    and drums, and in fighting by day, of flags and banners,
    as a means of influencing the ears and eyes of your army.
27. A whole army may be robbed of its spirit;
    a commander-in-chief may be robbed of his presence of mind.
 9 of Spades; 5 of Spades; 7 of Diamonds; 6 of Clubs; 3 of Clubs;
28. Now a soldier's spirit is keenest in the morning;
    by noonday it has begun to flag; and in the evening,
    his mind is bent only on returning to camp.
29. A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when
    its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish
    and inclined to return.  This is the art of studying moods.
 7 of Diamonds;
30. Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance
    of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy:--this is the art
    of retaining self-possession.
 3 of Spades, 10 of Clubs, 9 of Clubs, 3 of Clubs; King of Hearts; 10 of Hearts;
31. To be near the goal while the enemy is still
    far from it, to wait at ease while the enemy is
    toiling and struggling, to be well-fed while the enemy
    is famished:--this is the art of husbanding one's strength.
 9 of Spades; 6 of Spades; 10 of Diamonds; 2 of Diamonds; King of Clubs; 10 of Clubs; 9 of Clubs; Ace of Hearts; 
32. To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose
    banners are in perfect order, to refrain from attacking
    an army drawn up in calm and confident array:--this
    is the art of studying circumstances.
 Ace of Diamonds; 10 of Clubs; 2 of Clubs; 9 of Hearts; 2 of Hearts;
33. It is a military axiom not to advance uphill
    against the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill.
34. Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight;
    do not attack soldiers whose temper is keen.
 6 of Diamonds;
35. Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. 
    Do not interfere with an army that is returning home.
 7 of Diamonds;
36. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. 
    Do not press a desperate foe too hard.
 7 of Diamonds; Black Joker;
37. Such is the art of warfare.
 VIII. VARIATION IN TACTICS                    
 1. Sun Tzu said:  In war, the general receives
    his commands from the sovereign, collects his army
    and concentrates his forces
 2. When in difficult country, do not encamp.  In country
    where high roads intersect, join hands with your allies. 
    Do not linger in dangerously isolated positions. 
    In hemmed-in situations, you must resort to stratagem. 
    In desperate position, you must fight.
 3. There are roads which must not be followed,
    armies which must be not attacked, towns which must
    be besieged, positions which must not be contested,
    commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.
 8 of Spades; Ace of Clubs; 4 of Clubs; Ace of Diamonds; 2 of Hearts; Black Joker
 4. The general who thoroughly understands the advantages
    that accompany variation of tactics knows how to handle
    his troops.
 5. The general who does not understand these, may be well
    acquainted with the configuration of the country, yet he
    will not be able to turn his knowledge to practical account.
 6. So, the student of war who is unversed in the art
    of war of varying his plans, even though he be acquainted
    with the Five Advantages, will fail to make the best use
    of his men.
 7. Hence in the wise leader's plans, considerations of
    advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together.
 8. If our expectation of advantage be tempered in
    this way, we may succeed in accomplishing the essential
    part of our schemes.
 9. If, on the other hand, in the midst of difficulties
    we are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate
    ourselves from misfortune.
 Ace of Spades; Black Joker; Red Joker; Jack of Spades; 8 of Spades; 
 Queen of Diamonds; King of Diamonds; 7 of Clubs; Queen of Hearts; 
10. Reduce the hostile chiefs by inflicting damage
    on them; and make trouble for them, and keep them
    constantly engaged; hold out specious allurements,
    and make them rush to any given point.
 9 of Spades; 5 of Spades; 5 of Diamonds; 2 of Diamonds; 3 of Clubs;
11. The art of war teaches us to rely not on the
    likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness
    to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking,
    but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.
 Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Hearts;
12. There are five dangerous faults which may affect
    a general:
    (1) Recklessness, which leads to destruction;
    (2) cowardice, which leads to capture;
    (3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults;
    (4) a delicacy of honor which is sensitive to shame;
    (5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him
        to worry and trouble.
 5 of Spades;
13. These are the five besetting sins of a general,
    ruinous to the conduct of war.
14. When an army is overthrown and its leader slain,
    the cause will surely be found among these five
    dangerous faults.  Let them be a subject of meditation.
 IX.  THE ARMY ON THE MARCH                    
 1. Sun Tzu said:  We come now to the question of
    encamping the army, and observing signs of the enemy. 
    Pass quickly over mountains, and keep in the neighborhood
    of valleys.
 2. Camp in high places, facing the sun.  Do not climb
    heights in order to fight.  So much for mountain warfare.
 3. After crossing a river, you should get far away
    from it.
 4. When an invading force crosses a river in its
    onward march, do not advance to meet it in mid-stream.
    It will be best to let half the army get across,
    and then deliver your attack.
 5. If you are anxious to fight, you should not go
    to meet the invader near a river which he has to cross.
 6. Moor your craft higher up than the enemy, and facing
    the sun.  Do not move up-stream to meet the enemy. 
    So much for river warfare.
 7. In crossing salt-marshes, your sole concern
    should be to get over them quickly, without any delay.
 8. If forced to fight in a salt-marsh, you should
    have water and grass near you, and get your back
    to a clump of trees.  So much for operations in salt-marches.
 9. In dry, level country, take up an easily accessible
    position with rising ground to your right and on your rear,
    so that the danger may be in front, and safety lie behind. 
    So much for campaigning in flat country.
10. These are the four useful branches of military
    knowledge which enabled the Yellow Emperor to vanquish
    four several sovereigns.
11. All armies prefer high ground to low and sunny
    places to dark.
12. If you are careful of your men, and camp on hard
    ground, the army will be free from disease of every kind,
    and this will spell victory.
13. When you come to a hill or a bank, occupy the
    sunny side, with the slope on your right rear. 
    Thus you will at once act for the benefit of your soldiers
    and utilize the natural advantages of the ground.
14. When, in consequence of heavy rains up-country,
    a river which you wish to ford is swollen and flecked
    with foam, you must wait until it subsides.
15. Country in which there are precipitous cliffs
    with torrents running between, deep natural hollows,
    confined places, tangled thickets, quagmires and crevasses,
    should be left with all possible speed and not approached.
16. While we keep away from such places, we should
    get the enemy to approach them; while we face them,
    we should let the enemy have them on his rear.
 8 of Diamonds; 7 of Diamonds; 5 of Diamonds;
17. If in the neighborhood of your camp there should
    be any hilly country, ponds surrounded by aquatic grass,
    hollow basins filled with reeds, or woods with thick
    undergrowth, they must be carefully routed out and searched;
    for these are places where men in ambush or insidious
    spies are likely to be lurking.
18. When the enemy is close at hand and remains quiet,
    he is relying on the natural strength of his position.
19. When he keeps aloof and tries to provoke a battle,
    he is anxious for the other side to advance.
20. If his place of encampment is easy of access,
    he is tendering a bait.
 4 of Hearts;
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.
22. The rising of birds in their flight is the sign
    of an ambuscade.  Startled beasts indicate that a sudden
    attack is coming.
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.
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.
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.
26. Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant
    indicate a plot.
 3 of Spades; 4 of Clubs; 10 of Hearts; 3 of Hearts; Black Joker;
27. When there is much running about and the soldiers
    fall into rank, it means that the critical moment has come.
28. When some are seen advancing and some retreating,
    it is a lure.
29. When the soldiers stand leaning on their spears,
    they are faint from want of food.
30. If those who are sent to draw water begin
    by drinking themselves, the army is suffering from thirst.
31. If the enemy sees an advantage to be gained and
    makes no effort to secure it, the soldiers are exhausted.
32. If birds gather on any spot, it is unoccupied. 
    Clamor by night betokens nervousness.
33. If there is disturbance in the camp, the general's
    authority is weak.  If the banners and flags are shifted
    about, sedition is afoot.  If the officers are angry,
    it means that the men are weary.
 9 of Clubs;
34. When an army feeds its horses with grain and kills
    its cattle for food, and when the men do not hang their
    cooking-pots over the camp-fires, showing that they
    will not return to their tents, you may know that they
    are determined to fight to the death.
 Ace of Spades;
35. The sight of men whispering together in small
    knots or speaking in subdued tones points to disaffection
    amongst the rank and file.
 9 of Clubs;
36. Too frequent rewards signify that the enemy is
    at the end of his resources; too many punishments betray
    a condition of dire distress.
 9 of Clubs;
37. To begin by bluster, but afterwards to take fright
    at the enemy's numbers, shows a supreme lack of intelligence.
38. When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths,
    it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce.
 5 of Diamonds;
39. If the enemy's troops march up angrily and remain
    facing ours for a long time without either joining
    battle or taking themselves off again, the situation
    is one that demands great vigilance and circumspection.
40. If our troops are no more in number than the enemy,
    that is amply sufficient; it only means that no direct attack
    can be made.  What we can do is simply to concentrate all
    our available strength, keep a close watch on the enemy,
    and obtain reinforcements.
41. He who exercises no forethought but makes light
    of his opponents is sure to be captured by them.
42. If soldiers are punished before they have grown
    attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and,
    unless submissive, then will be practically useless. 
    If, when the soldiers have become attached to you,
    punishments are not enforced, they will still be unless.
43. Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first
    instance with humanity, but kept under control by means
    of iron discipline.  This is a certain road to victory.
 Ace of Clubs;
44. If in training soldiers commands are habitually
    enforced, the army will be well-disciplined; if not,
    its discipline will be bad.
45. If a general shows confidence in his men but always
    insists on his orders being obeyed, the gain will be mutual.
 X. TERRAIN                     
 1. Sun Tzu said:  We may distinguish six kinds of terrain,
    to wit:  (1) Accessible ground; (2) entangling ground;
    (3) temporizing ground; (4) narrow passes; (5) precipitous
    heights; (6) positions at a great distance from the enemy.
 2. Ground which can be freely traversed by both sides
    is called accessible.
 3. With regard to ground of this nature, be before
    the enemy in occupying the raised and sunny spots,
    and carefully guard your line of supplies.  Then you
    will be able to fight with advantage.
 4. Ground which can be abandoned but is hard
    to re-occupy is called entangling.
 5. From a position of this sort, if the enemy
    is unprepared, you may sally forth and defeat him. 
    But if the enemy is prepared for your coming, and you
    fail to defeat him, then, return being impossible,
    disaster will ensue.
 3 of Diamonds;
 6. When the position is such that neither side will gain
    by making the first move, it is called temporizing ground.
 7. In a position of this sort, even though the enemy
    should offer us an attractive bait, it will be advisable
    not to stir forth, but rather to retreat, thus enticing
    the enemy in his turn; then, when part of his army has
    come out, we may deliver our attack with advantage.
 8 of Diamonds;
 8. With regard to narrow passes, if you can occupy
    them first, let them be strongly garrisoned and await
    the advent of the enemy.
 King of Clubs;
 9. Should the army forestall you in occupying a pass,
    do not go after him if the pass is fully garrisoned,
    but only if it is weakly garrisoned.
 Queen of Spades;
10. With regard to precipitous heights, if you are
    beforehand with your adversary, you should occupy the
    raised and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up.
 King of Clubs; 8 of Diamonds;
11. If the enemy has occupied them before you,
    do not follow him, but retreat and try to entice him away.
 8 of Diamonds;
12. If you are situated at a great distance from
    the enemy, and the strength of the two armies is equal,
    it is not easy to provoke a battle, and fighting will be
    to your disadvantage.
13. These six are the principles connected with Earth. 
    The general who has attained a responsible post must be
    careful to study them.
14. Now an army is exposed to six several calamities,
    not arising from natural causes, but from faults
    for which the general is responsible.  These are: 
    (1) Flight; (2) insubordination; (3) collapse; (4) ruin;
    (5) disorganization; (6) rout.
15. Other conditions being equal, if one force is
    hurled against another ten times its size, the result
    will be the flight of the former.
 Queen of Spades;
16. When the common soldiers are too strong and
    their officers too weak, the result is insubordination. 
    When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers
    too weak, the result is collapse.
 Ace of Spades;
17. When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate,
    and on meeting the enemy give battle on their own account
    from a feeling of resentment, before the commander-in-chief
    can tell whether or no he is in a position to fight,
    the result is ruin.
 Ace of Spades;
18. When the general is weak and without authority;
    when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there
    are no fixes duties assigned to officers and men,
    and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner,
    the result is utter disorganization.
 Ace of Spades;
19. When a general, unable to estimate the enemy's
    strength, allows an inferior force to engage a larger one,
    or hurls a weak detachment against a powerful one,
    and neglects to place picked soldiers in the front rank,
    the result must be rout.
 Ace of Spades; 10 of Spades;
20. These are six ways of courting defeat, which must
    be carefully noted by the general who has attained
    a responsible post.
 Ace of Spades;
21. The natural formation of the country is the soldier's
    best ally; but a power of estimating the adversary,
    of controlling the forces of victory, and of shrewdly
    calculating difficulties, dangers and distances,
    constitutes the test of a great general.
 Ace of Spades;
22. He who knows these things, and in fighting puts
    his knowledge into practice, will win his battles. 
    He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely
    be defeated.
 Ace of Spades;
23. If fighting is sure to result in victory,
    then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it;
    if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not
    fight even at the ruler's bidding.
24. The general who advances without coveting fame
    and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only
    thought is to protect his country and do good service
    for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
 Issue of Leadership
25. Regard your soldiers as your children, and they
    will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them
    as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you
    even unto death.
 Issue of Leadership
26. If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make
    your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce
    your commands; and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: 
    then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children;
    they are useless for any practical purpose.
 Issue of Leadership
27. If we know that our own men are in a condition
    to attack, but are unaware that the enemy is not open
    to attack, we have gone only halfway towards victory.
 Issue of Leadership
28. If we know that the enemy is open to attack,
    but are unaware that our own men are not in a condition
    to attack, we have gone only halfway towards victory.
 Issue of Leadership
29. If we know that the enemy is open to attack,
    and also know that our men are in a condition to attack,
    but are unaware that the nature of the ground makes
    fighting impracticable, we have still gone only halfway
    towards victory.
 Issue of Leadership
30. Hence the experienced soldier, once in motion,
    is never bewildered; once he has broken camp, he is never
    at a loss.
 Issue of Leadership
31. Hence the saying:  If you know the enemy and
    know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt;
    if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your
    victory complete.
 Issue of Leadership
 XI. THE NINE SITUATIONS                     
 1. Sun Tzu said:  The art of war recognizes nine varieties of ground:
    (1) Dispersive ground; (2) facile ground; (3) contentious ground;
    (4) open ground; (5) ground of intersecting highways;
    (6) serious ground; (7) difficult ground; (8) hemmed-in ground;
    (9) desperate ground.
 2. When a chieftain is fighting in his own territory,
    it is dispersive ground.
 3. When he has penetrated into hostile territory,
    but to no great distance, it is facile ground.
 4. Ground the possession of which imports great
    advantage to either side, is contentious ground.
 5. Ground on which each side has liberty of movement
    is open ground.
 6. Ground which forms the key to three contiguous states,
    so that he who occupies it first has most of the Empire
    at his command, is a ground of intersecting highways.
 7. When an army has penetrated into the heart of a
    hostile country, leaving a number of fortified cities
    in its rear, it is serious ground.
 8. Mountain forests, rugged steeps, marshes and fens--all
    country that is hard to traverse:  this is difficult ground.
 9. Ground which is reached through narrow gorges,
    and from which we can only retire by tortuous paths,
    so that a small number of the enemy would suffice to crush
    a large body of our men:  this is hemmed in ground.
10. Ground on which we can only be saved from
    destruction by fighting without delay, is desperate ground.
11. On dispersive ground, therefore, fight not. 
    On facile ground, halt not.  On contentious ground,
    attack not.
12. On open ground, do not try to block the enemy's way. 
    On the ground of intersecting highways, join hands
    with your allies.
13. On serious ground, gather in plunder. 
    In difficult ground, keep steadily on the march.
14. On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem. 
    On desperate ground, fight.
15. Those who were called skillful leaders of old knew
    how to drive a wedge between the enemy's front and rear;
    to prevent co-operation between his large and small divisions;
    to hinder the good troops from rescuing the bad,
    the officers from rallying their men.
 Ace of Diamonds;
16. When the enemy's men were united, they managed
    to keep them in disorder.
17. When it was to their advantage, they made
    a forward move; when otherwise, they stopped still.
18. If asked how to cope with a great host of the enemy
    in orderly array and on the point of marching to the attack,
    I should say:  "Begin by seizing something which your
    opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will."
 King of Spades; Jack of Diamonds; 5 of Diamonds; 10 of Clubs;
19. Rapidity is the essence of war:  take advantage of
    the enemy's unreadiness, make your way by unexpected routes,
    and attack unguarded spots.
 Queen of Clubs; 6 of Clubs;
20. The following are the principles to be observed
    by an invading force:  The further you penetrate into
    a country, the greater will be the solidarity of your troops,
    and thus the defenders will not prevail against you.
 Ace of Diamonds; King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
21. Make forays in fertile country in order to supply
    your army with food.
22. Carefully study the well-being of your men,
    and do not overtax them.  Concentrate your energy and hoard
    your strength.  Keep your army continually on the move,
    and devise unfathomable plans.
 Queen of Clubs; 9 of Hearts;
23. Throw your soldiers into positions whence there
    is no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. 
    If they will face death, there is nothing they may
    not achieve.  Officers and men alike will put forth
    their uttermost strength.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
24. Soldiers when in desperate straits lose
    the sense of fear.  If there is no place of refuge,
    they will stand firm.  If they are in hostile country,
    they will show a stubborn front.  If there is no help
    for it, they will fight hard.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
25. Thus, without waiting to be marshaled, the soldiers
    will be constantly on the qui vive; without waiting to
    be asked, they will do your will; without restrictions,
    they will be faithful; without giving orders, they can
    be trusted.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
26. Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with
    superstitious doubts.  Then, until death itself comes,
    no calamity need be feared.
27. If our soldiers are not overburdened with money,
    it is not because they have a distaste for riches;
    if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they
    are disinclined to longevity.
28. On the day they are ordered out to battle,
    your soldiers may weep, those sitting up bedewing
    their garments, and those lying down letting the tears run
    down their cheeks.  But let them once be brought to bay,
    and they will display the courage of a Chu or a Kuei.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds; 7 of Hearts; Red Joker;
29. The skillful tactician may be likened to the
    shuai-jan. Now the shuai-jan is a snake that is found
    in the ChUng mountains.  Strike at its head, and you
    will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you
    will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle,
    and you will be attacked by head and tail both.
30. Asked if an army can be made to imitate the shuai-jan,
    I should answer, Yes.  For the men of Wu and the men
    of Yueh are enemies; yet if they are crossing a river
    in the same boat and are caught by a storm, they will come
    to each other's assistance just as the left hand helps the right.
 King of Diamonds; 
31. Hence it is not enough to put one's trust
    in the tethering of horses, and the burying of chariot
    wheels in the ground
32. The principle on which to manage an army is to set
    up one standard of courage which all must reach.
 7 of Hearts;
33. How to make the best of both strong and weak--that
    is a question involving the proper use of ground.
34. Thus the skillful general conducts his army just
    as though he were leading a single man, willy-nilly, by
    the hand.
35. It is the business of a general to be quiet and thus
    ensure secrecy; upright and just, and thus maintain order.
36. He must be able to mystify his officers and men
    by false reports and appearances, and thus keep them
    in total ignorance.
37. By altering his arrangements and changing
    his plans, he keeps the enemy without definite knowledge. 
    By shifting his camp and taking circuitous routes,
    he prevents the enemy from anticipating his purpose.
 6 of Spades;
38. At the critical moment, the leader of an army
    acts like one who has climbed up a height and then kicks
    away the ladder behind him.  He carries his men deep
    into hostile territory before he shows his hand.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
39. He burns his boats and breaks his cooking-pots;
    like a shepherd driving a flock of sheep, he drives
    his men this way and that, and nothing knows whither he
    is going.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
40. To muster his host and bring it into danger:--this
    may be termed the business of the general.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds; Red Joker;
41. The different measures suited to the nine
    varieties of ground; the expediency of aggressive or
    defensive tactics; and the fundamental laws of human nature: 
    these are things that must most certainly be studied.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
42. When invading hostile territory, the general
    principle is, that penetrating deeply brings cohesion;
    penetrating but a short way means dispersion.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
43. When you leave your own country behind, and take
    your army across neighborhood territory, you find yourself
    on critical ground.  When there are means of communication
    on all four sides, the ground is one of intersecting highways.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
44. When you penetrate deeply into a country, it is
    serious ground.  When you penetrate but a little way,
    it is facile ground.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
45. When you have the enemy's strongholds on your rear,
    and narrow passes in front, it is hemmed-in ground. 
    When there is no place of refuge at all, it is desperate ground.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
46. Therefore, on dispersive ground, I would inspire
    my men with unity of purpose.  On facile ground, I would
    see that there is close connection between all parts
    of my army.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
47. On contentious ground, I would hurry up my rear.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
48. On open ground, I would keep a vigilant eye
    on my defenses.  On ground of intersecting highways,
    I would consolidate my alliances.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
49. On serious ground, I would try to ensure
    a continuous stream of supplies.  On difficult ground,
    I would keep pushing on along the road.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
50. On hemmed-in ground, I would block any way
    of retreat.  On desperate ground, I would proclaim
    to my soldiers the hopelessness of saving their lives.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
51. For it is the soldier's disposition to offer
    an obstinate resistance when surrounded, to fight hard
    when he cannot help himself, and to obey promptly when he
    has fallen into danger.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
52. We cannot enter into alliance with neighboring
    princes until we are acquainted with their designs.  We are
    not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar
    with the face of the country--its mountains and forests,
    its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps. 
    We shall be unable to turn natural advantages to account
    unless we make use of local guides.
 Ace of Clubs;
53. To be ignored of any one of the following four
    or five principles does not befit a warlike prince.
54. When a warlike prince attacks a powerful state,
    his generalship shows itself in preventing the concentration
    of the enemy's forces.  He overawes his opponents,
    and their allies are prevented from joining against him.
 4 of Spades; Ace of Diamonds;
55. Hence he does not strive to ally himself with all
    and sundry, nor does he foster the power of other states. 
    He carries out his own secret designs, keeping his
    antagonists in awe.  Thus he is able to capture their
    cities and overthrow their kingdoms.
 7 of Clubs;
56. Bestow rewards without regard to rule,
    issue orders without regard to previous arrangements;
    and you will be able to handle a whole army as though
    you had to do with but a single man.
57. Confront your soldiers with the deed itself;
    never let them know your design.  When the outlook is bright,
    bring it before their eyes; but tell them nothing when
    the situation is gloomy.
58. Place your army in deadly peril, and it will survive;
    plunge it into desperate straits, and it will come off
    in safety.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
59. For it is precisely when a force has fallen into
    harm's way that is capable of striking a blow for victory.
 King of Diamonds; 3 of Diamonds;
60. Success in warfare is gained by carefully
    accommodating ourselves to the enemy's purpose.
 King of Spades;
61. By persistently hanging on the enemy's flank, we shall
    succeed in the long run in killing the commander-in-chief.
 9 of Spades;
62. This is called ability to accomplish a thing
    by sheer cunning.
63. On the day that you take up your command,
    block the frontier passes, destroy the official tallies,
    and stop the passage of all emissaries.
 Ace of Diamonds;
64. Be stern in the council-chamber, so that you
    may control the situation.
65. If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.
 Ace of Spades; 3 of Spades; Ace of Clubs;
66. Forestall your opponent by seizing what he holds dear,
    and subtly contrive to time his arrival on the ground.
 10 of Spades; King of Diamonds; Jack of Diamonds; 10 of Clubs;
67. Walk in the path defined by rule, and accommodate
    yourself to the enemy until you can fight a decisive battle.
 4 of Diamonds; King of Hearts; 10 of Hearts;
68. At first, then, exhibit the coyness of a maiden,
    until the enemy gives you an opening; afterwards emulate
    the rapidity of a running hare, and it will be too late
    for the enemy to oppose you.
 Jack of Diamonds; 8 of Diamonds; 10 of Clubs; 2 of Clubs; 
 10 of Hearts; 5 of Hearts; 2 of Hearts;
 XII. THE ATTACK BY FIRE                    
 1. Sun Tzu said:  There are five ways of attacking
    with fire.  The first is to burn soldiers in their camp;
    the second is to burn stores; the third is to burn
    baggage trains; the fourth is to burn arsenals and magazines;
    the fifth is to hurl dropping fire amongst the enemy.
 Ace of Spades; Queen of Diamonds;
 2. In order to carry out an attack, we must have
    means available.  The material for raising fire should
    always be kept in readiness.
 3. There is a proper season for making attacks with fire,
    and special days for starting a conflagration.
 4. The proper season is when the weather is very dry;
    the special days are those when the moon is in the
    constellations of the Sieve, the Wall, the Wing
    or the Cross-bar; for these four are all days of rising wind.
 5. In attacking with fire, one should be prepared
    to meet five possible developments:
 6. (1) When fire breaks out inside to enemy's camp,
    respond at once with an attack from without.
 7. (2) If there is an outbreak of fire, but the enemy's
    soldiers remain quiet, bide your time and do not attack.
 8. (3) When the force of the flames has reached its height,
    follow it up with an attack, if that is practicable;
    if not, stay where you are.
 9. (4) If it is possible to make an assault with fire
    from without, do not wait for it to break out within,
    but deliver your attack at a favorable moment.
10. (5) When you start a fire, be to windward of it. 
    Do not attack from the leeward.
11. A wind that rises in the daytime lasts long,
    but a night breeze soon falls.
12. In every army, the five developments connected with
    fire must be known, the movements of the stars calculated,
    and a watch kept for the proper days.
13. Hence those who use fire as an aid to the attack show intelligence;
    those who use water as an aid to the attack gain an accession of strength.
14. By means of water, an enemy may be intercepted,
    but not robbed of all his belongings.
15. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his
    battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating
    the spirit of enterprise; for the result is waste of time
    and general stagnation.
16. Hence the saying:  The enlightened ruler lays his
    plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.
17. Move not unless you see an advantage; use not
    your troops unless there is something to be gained;
    fight not unless the position is critical.
18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely
    to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight
    a battle simply out of pique.
19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move;
    if not, stay where you are.
20. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may
    be succeeded by content.
21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can
    never come again into being; nor can the dead ever
    be brought back to life.
22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful,
    and the good general full of caution.  This is the way
    to keep a country at peace and an army intact.
 XIII. THE USE OF SPIES                     
 1. Sun Tzu said:  Raising a host of a hundred thousand
    men and marching them great distances entails heavy loss
    on the people and a drain on the resources of the State. 
    The daily expenditure will amount to a thousand ounces
    of silver.  There will be commotion at home and abroad,
    and men will drop down exhausted on the highways. 
    As many as seven hundred thousand families will be impeded
    in their labor.
 2. Hostile armies may face each other for years,
    striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. 
    This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy's
    condition simply because one grudges the outlay of a hundred
    ounces of silver in honors and emoluments, is the height
    of inhumanity.
 3. One who acts thus is no leader of men, no present
    help to his sovereign, no master of victory.
 4. Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good
    general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond
    the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge.
 Ace of Spades; Ace of Diamonds; Ace of Clubs; Ace of Hearts; King of Spades; 10 of Spades;
 5. Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits;
    it cannot be obtained inductively from experience,
    nor by any deductive calculation.
 6. Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only
    be obtained from other men.
 Jack of Spades; 3 of Spades; Ace of Clubs; 4 of Clubs; 
King of Hearts; 10 of Hearts; 3 of Hearts;
 7. Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five classes: 
    (1) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted spies;
    (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies.
 8. When these five kinds of spy are all at work,
    none can discover the secret system.  This is called "divine
    manipulation of the threads."  It is the sovereign's
    most precious faculty.
 9. Having local spies means employing the services
    of the inhabitants of a district.
 Six of Spades;
10. Having inward spies, making use of officials
    of the enemy.
 Six of Spades;
11. Having converted spies, getting hold of the enemy's
    spies and using them for our own purposes.
 3 of Clubs;
12. Having doomed spies, doing certain things openly
    for purposes of deception, and allowing our spies to know
    of them and report them to the enemy.
 3 of Clubs;
13. Surviving spies, finally, are those who bring
    back news from the enemy's camp.
 King of Hearts; Ten of Hearts;
14. Hence it is that which none in the whole army are
    more intimate relations to be maintained than with spies. 
    None should be more liberally rewarded.  In no other
    business should greater secrecy be preserved.
 Ace of Clubs;
15. Spies cannot be usefully employed without a certain
    intuitive sagacity.
16. They cannot be properly managed without benevolence
    and straightforwardness.
17. Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make
    certain of the truth of their reports.
18. Be subtle! be subtle! and use your spies for every
    kind of business.
19. If a secret piece of news is divulged by a spy
    before the time is ripe, he must be put to death together
    with the man to whom the secret was told.
 Ace of Spades;
20. Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm
    a city, or to assassinate an individual, it is always
    necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants,
    the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general
    in command.  Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these.
21. The enemy's spies who have come to spy on us
    must be sought out, tempted with bribes, led away and
    comfortably housed.  Thus they will become converted
    spies and available for our service.
 Ace of Clubs; 3 of Clubs;
22. It is through the information brought by the
    converted spy that we are able to acquire and employ
    local and inward spies.
23. It is owing to his information, again, that we can
    cause the doomed spy to carry false tidings to the enemy.
 8 of Clubs; 3 of Clubs;
24. Lastly, it is by his information that the surviving
    spy can be used on appointed occasions.
25. The end and aim of spying in all its five varieties
    is knowledge of the enemy; and this knowledge can only
    be derived, in the first instance, from the converted spy. 
    Hence it is essential that the converted spy be treated
    with the utmost liberality.
 8 of Spades; Ace of Clubs;
26. Of old, the rise of the Yin dynasty was due to I
    Chih who had served under the Hsia.  Likewise, the rise
    of the Chou dynasty was due to Lu Ya who had served
    under the Yin.
27. Hence it is only the enlightened ruler and the
    wise general who will use the highest intelligence of
    the army for purposes of spying and thereby they achieve
    great results.  Spies are a most important element in water,
    because on them depends an army's ability to move.