VIII. THE NINE TACTICAL VARIATIONS
The words of Sun Tzu Wu the Master:
1. In general, the procedure of war is: the Leader, having received orders from his Lord, assembles the armies.
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 always roads that must be avoided; forces that must not be attacked; castles that must not be besieged; ground that must not be chosen for encounter; orders from the lord that must not be obeyed.
4. The general who knows the Nine Changes understands the use of troops; on the contrary, he who does not understand them, can make no use of his topographical knowledge.
5. In the management of armies, if the art of the Nine Changes not be understood, a knowledge of the Five Advantages is of no avail.
6. The wise leader considers well both advantage and disadvantage. He sees a way out of adversity, and on the day of victory to danger is not blind. If, in the midst of difficulties, we are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate ourselves from misfortune.
7. In reducing an enemy to submission, inflict all possible damage upon him; make him undertake useless adventures; also make neighbouring rulers move as you would desire them by tempting them with gain.
8. The Art of War teaches us not to depend on the enemy’s not coming, but rely on your own preparations; do not count on the enemy not attacking your fortress, but rather on the fact that you have made your position unassailable.
9. Generals must be on their guard against these five dangerous faults:
9.1 Recklessness, which leads to destruction; blind impetuosity, which leads to death.
9.2 Over-cautiousness, which leads to capture.
9.3 Quick temper, which can be provoked by insults.
9.4 A too rigid propriety, which invites disgrace.
9.5 Over-regard for the troops, which may cause him to make errors of judgement.
10. These five faults in the leader are disastrous in war. The overthrow of the army and the slaughter of the general arise from them. Therefore they must be carefully considered.