The art of war chapter 6 (孙子兵法第六章) in English and Chinese

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The art of war chapter 6 : Weak Points and Strong, in English and Chinese with PinYin:

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Author Sun Tzu.

虚实第六
VI. Weak Points and Strong

孙子曰:凡先处战地而待敌者佚,后处战地而趋战者劳。
Sūn zǐ yuē: Fán xiān chù zhàn dì ér dài dí zhě yì, hòu chǔ zhàn dì ér qū zhàn zhě láo.
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.

故善战者,致人而不致于人。能使敌人自至者,利之也;能使敌人不得至者,害之也。
Gù shànz hàn zhě, zhì rén ér bùzhì yú rén. Néng shǐ dírén zì zhì zhě, lìzhī yě; néng shǐ dírén bù dé zhì zhě, hài zhī yě.
Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.
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.

故敌佚能劳之,饱能饥之,安能动之。出其所必趋,趋其所不意。
Gù dí yì néng láo zhī, bǎo néng jī zhī, ān néng dòng zhī. Chū qí suǒ bì qū, qū qí suǒ bù yì.
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.
Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected.

行千里而不劳者,行于无人之地也;攻而必取者,攻其所不守也。守而必固者,守其所必攻也。
Xíng qiān lǐ ér bù láo zhě, xíng yú wú rén zhī dì yě; gōng ér bì qǔ zhě, gōng qí suǒ bù shǒu yě. Shǒu ér bì gù zhě, shǒu qí suǒ bì gōng yě.
An army may march great distances without distress, if it marches through country where the enemy is not.
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.

故善攻者,敌不知其所守;善守者,敌不知其所攻。微乎微乎,至于无形;神乎神乎,至于无声,故能为敌之司命。
Gù shàn gōng zhě, dí bùzhī qí suǒ shǒu; shànshǒu zhě, dí bùzhī qí suǒ gōng. Wēi hū wēi hū, zhìyú wúxíng; shén hū shén hū, zhìyú wúshēng, gù néng wéi dí zhī sī mìng.
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.
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.

进而不可御者,冲其虚也;退而不可追者,速而不可及也。
Jìn’ér bùkě yù zhě, chōng qí xū yě; tuì ér bùkě zhuī zhě, sù ér bùkě jí yě.
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.

故我欲战,敌虽高垒深沟,不得不与我战者,攻其所必救也;
Gùwǒ yù zhàn, dí suī gāo lěi shēn gōu, bùdé bù yǔ wǒ zhàn zhě, gōng qí suǒ bì jiù yě;
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.

我不欲战,虽画地而守之,敌不得与我战者,乖其所之也。
Wǒ bù yù zhàn, suī huà dì ér shǒuzhī, dí bùdé yǔ wǒ zhàn zhě, guāi qí suǒ zhī yě.
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.

故形人而我无形,则我专而敌分。
Gù xíng rén ér wǒ wú xíng, zé wǒ zhuān ér dí fēn.
By discovering the enemy’s dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the enemy’s must be divided.

我专为一,敌分为十,是以十攻其一也。则我众敌寡,能以众击寡者,则吾之所与战者约矣。
Wǒ zhuān wéi yī, dí fēn wéi shí, shì yǐ shí gōng qí yī yě. Zé wǒ zhòng dí guǎ, néng yǐ zhòng jī guǎ zhě, zé wú zhī suǒ yǔ zhàn zhě yuē yǐ.
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.
And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits.

吾所与战之地不可知,不可知则敌所备者多,敌所备者多,则吾所与战者寡矣。
Wú suǒ yǔ zhàn zhī dì bùkě zhī, bùkě zhī zé dí suǒ bèi zhě duō, dí suǒ bèi zhě duō, zé wú suǒ yǔ zhàn zhě guǎ yǐ.
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.

故备前则后寡,备后则前寡,备左则右寡,备右则左寡,无所不备,则无所不寡。
Gù bèi qián zé hòu guǎ, bèi hòu zé qián guǎ, bèi zuǒ zé yòu guǎ, bèi yòu zé zuǒ guǎ, wú suǒ bù bèi, zé wú suǒ bù guǎ.
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.

寡者,备人者也;众者,使人备己者也。故知战之地,知战之日,则可千里而会战;
Guǎ zhě, bèi rén zhě yě; zhòng zhě, shǐ rén bèi jǐ zhě yě. Gùzhī zhàn zhī dì, zhī zhàn zhī rì, zé kě qiānlǐ ér huìzhàn;
Numerical weakness comes from having to prepare against possible attacks; numerical strength, from compelling our adversary to make these preparations against us.
Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight.

不知战之地,不知战日,则左不能救右,右不能救左,前不能救后,后不能救前,而况远者数十里,近者数里乎!
Bùzhī zhàn zhī dì, bùzhī zhàn rì, zé zuǒ bu néng jiù yòu, yòu bùnéng jiù zuǒ, qián bùnéng jiù hòu, hòu bùnéng jiù qián, érkuàng yuǎn zhě shù shí lǐ, jìn zhě shù lǐ hū!
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!

以吾度之,越人之兵虽多,亦奚益于胜哉!故曰:胜可为也。
Yǐ wú dù zhī, yuè rén zhī bīng suī duō, yì xī yì yú shèng zāi! Gù yuē: Shèng kě wéi yě.
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.

敌虽众,可使无斗。故策之而知得失之计,
Dí suī zhòng, kě shǐ wú dòu. Gù cè zhī ér zhī déshī zhī jì,
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.

候之而知动静之理,形之而知死生之地,角之而知有余不足之处。
Hòu zhī ér zhī dòngjìng zhī lǐ, xíng zhī ér zhī sǐshēng zhī dì, jiǎo zhī ér zhī yǒuyú bùzú zhī chù.
Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.
Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.

故形兵之极,至于无形。无形则深间不能窥,智者不能谋。
Gù xíng bīng zhī jí, zhìyú wúxíng. Wúxíng zé shēn jiān bùnéng kuī, zhìzhě bùnéng móu.
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.

因形而措胜于众,众不能知。人皆知我所以胜之形,而莫知吾所以制胜之形。
How victory may be produced for them out of the enemy’s own tactics–that is what the multitude cannot comprehend.
All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.

故其战胜不复,而应形于无穷。
Gù qí zhànshèng bù fù, ér yīng xíng yú wúqióng.
Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.

夫兵形象水,水之行避高而趋下,兵之形避实而击虚;
Fū bīng xíngxiàng shuǐ, shuǐ zhī xíng bì gāo ér qū xià, bīng zhī xíng bì shí ér jī xū;
Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards.
So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

水因地而制流,兵因敌而制胜。故兵无常势,水无常形。
Shuǐ yīn dì ér zhì liú, bīng yīn dí ér zhìshèng. Gù bīng wúcháng shì, shuǐ wúcháng xíng.
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.
Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.

能因敌变化而取胜者,谓之神。
Néng yīn dí biànhuà ér qǔshèng zhě, wèi zhī shén.
He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.

故五行无常胜,四时无常位,日有短长,月有死生。
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.


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