4. Tactical Dispositions

8

To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.

As Ts`ao Kung remarks, "the thing is to see the plant before it has germinated," to foresee the event before the action has begun. Li Ch`uan alludes to the story of Han Hsin who, when about to attack the vastly superior army of Chao, which was strongly entrenched in the city of Ch`eng-an, said to his officers: "Gentlemen, we are going to annihilate the enemy, and shall meet again at dinner." The officers hardly took his words seriously, and gave a very dubious assent. But Han Hsin had already worked out in his mind the details of a clever stratagem, whereby, as he foresaw, he was able to capture the city and inflict a crushing defeat on his adversary."

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