3. Attack by Stratagem


If equally matched, we can offer battle;

Li Ch`uan, followed by Ho Shih, gives the following paraphrase: "If attackers and attacked are equally matched in strength, only the able general will fight."

if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy;

The meaning, "we can WATCH the enemy," is certainly a great improvement on the above; but unfortunately there appears to be no very good authority for the variant. Chang Yu reminds us that the saying only applies if the other factors are equal; a small difference in numbers is often more than counterbalanced by superior energy and discipline.

if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.

Copy and paste to reference this passage: