out laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.
Chia Lin notes that he only overthrows the 國, that is, the Government, but does no harm to individuals. The classical instance is Wu Wang, who after having put an end to the Yin dynasty was acclaimed “Father and mother of the people.”
7. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete.
Owing to the double meanings of 兵, 頓 [=鈍] and 利, the latter part of the sentence is susceptible of quite a different meaning: “And thus, the weapon not being blunted by use, its keenness remains perfect.” Chang Yü says that 利 is “the advantage of a prosperous kingdom and a strong army.”
This is the method of attacking by stratagem.
8. It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy's one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him;
Straightaway, without waiting for any further advantage.
if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.
Note that 之 does not refer to the enemy, as in the two preceding clauses. This sudden change of object is quite common in Chinese. Tu Mu takes exception to the saying; and at first sight, indeed, it appears to violate a fundamental principle of war. Ts‘ao Kung, however, gives a clue to Sun Tzŭ’s meaning: 以二敵一則一術爲正一術爲奇 “Being two to the enemy’s one, we may use one part of our army in the regular way, and the other for some special diversion.” [For explanation of 正 and 奇, see V. 3, note.] Chang Yü thus further elucidates the point: “If our force is twice as numerous as that of the enemy, it should be split up into two divisions, one to meet the enemy in front, and one to fall upon his rear; if he replies to the frontal attack, he may be crushed from behind; if to the rearward attack, he may be crushed in front. This is what is meant by saying that “one part may be used in the regular way, and the other for some special diversion.” Tu Mu does not understand that dividing one’s army is simply an irregular, just as concentrating it is the regular, strategical method, and he is too hasty in calling this a mistake.”