4. Tactical Dispositions


The general who is skilled in defense hides in the most secret recesses of the earth;

Literally, "hides under the ninth earth," which is a metaphor indicating the utmost secrecy and concealment, so that the enemy may not know his whereabouts."

he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven.

Another metaphor, implying that he falls on his adversary like a thunderbolt, against which there is no time to prepare. This is the opinion of most of the commentators.

Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves; on the other, a victory that is complete.

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