3. Attack by Stratagem

9

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.

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