11. The Nine Situations

11

On dispersive ground, therefore, fight not. On facile ground, halt not. On contentious ground, attack not.

But rather let all your energies be bent on occupying the advantageous position first. So Ts`ao Kung. Li Ch`uan and others, however, suppose the meaning to be that the enemy has already forestalled us, sot that it would be sheer madness to attack. In the SUN TZU HSU LU, when the King of Wu inquires what should be done in this case, Sun Tzu replies: "The rule with regard to contentious ground is that those in possession have the advantage over the other side. If a position of this kind is secured first by the enemy, beware of attacking him. Lure him away by pretending to flee—show your banners and sound your drums—make a dash for other places that he cannot afford to lose—trail brushwood and raise a dust—confound his ears and eyes—detach a body of your best troops, and place it secretly in ambuscade. Then your opponent will sally forth to the rescue."

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