The Art of War (Sun)/Section VII

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VII. 軍爭篇

  1. 孫子曰凡用兵之法將受命於君
  2. 合軍聚衆交和而舍

VII. Manœuvring.

1. Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands from the sovereign.

2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his camp.


  1. 莫難於軍爭軍爭之難者以迂爲直以患爲利
3. After that, comes tactical maneuvering, than which there is nothing more difficult. The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.


  1. 故迂其途而誘之以利後人發先人至此知迂直之計者也
4. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after enticing the enemy out of the way, and though starting after him, to contrive to reach the goal before him, shows knowledge of the artifice of DEVIATION.


  1. 故軍爭爲利衆爭爲危
  2. 舉軍而爭利則不及委軍而爭利則輜重捐
  3. 是故卷甲而趨日夜不處倍道兼行百里而爭利則擒三將軍
5. Manœuvring with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.

6. If you set a fully equipped army in march in order to snatch an advantage, the chances are that you will be too late. On the other hand, to detach a flying column for the purpose involves the sacrifice of its baggage and stores.

7. Thus, if you order your men to roll up their buff-coats,

and make forced marches without halting day or night, covering double the usual distance at a stretch, doing a hundred LI in order to wrest an advantage, the leaders of all your three divisions will fall into the hands of the enemy.


  1. 勁者先罷者後其法十一而至
  2. 五十里而爭利則蹶上將軍其法半至
  3. 三十里而爭利則三分之二至
8. The stronger men will be in front, the jaded ones will fall behind, and on this plan only one-tenth of your army will reach its destination.

9. If you march fifty LI in order to outmaneuver the enemy, you will lose the leader of your first division, and only half your force will reach the goal.

10. If you march thirty LI with the same object, two-thirds of your army will arrive.


  1. 是故軍無輜重則亡無糧食則亡無委積則亡
  2. 故不知諸侯之謀者不能豫交
  3. 不知山林險阻沮澤之形者不能行軍
  4. 不用鄉導者不能得地利
11. We may take it then that an army without its baggage-train is lost; without provisions it is lost; without bases of supply it is lost.

12. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.

13. We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country--its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps.

14. We shall be unable to turn natural advantage to account unless we make use of local guides.


  1. 故兵以詐立以利動
  2. 以分合爲變者也
  3. 故其疾如風其徐如林
  4. 侵掠如火不動如山
15. In war, practice dissimulation, and you will succeed.

16. Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be decided by circumstances.

17. Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest.

18. In raiding and plundering be like fire, is immovability like a mountain.


  1. 難知如陰動如雷霆
  2. 掠鄉分衆廓地分利
19. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. 20. When you plunder a countryside, let the spoil be divided amongst your men; when you capture new territory, cut it up into allotments for the benefit of the soldiery.


  1. 懸權而動
  2. 先知迂直之計者勝此軍爭之法也
  3. 軍政曰言不相聞故爲金鼓視不相見故爲旌旗
21. Ponder and deliberate before you make a move.

22. He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation. Such is the art of maneuvering.

23. The Book of Army Management says: On the field of battle, the spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the institution of gongs and drums. Nor can ordinary objects be seen clearly enough: hence the institution of banners and flags.


  1. 夫金鼓旌旗者所以一民之耳目也
  2. 民既專一則勇者不得獨進怯者不得獨退此用衆之法也
24. Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means whereby the ears and eyes of the host may be focused on one particular point. 25. The host thus forming a single united body, is it impossible either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to retreat alone. This is the art of handling large masses of men.


  1. 故夜戰多火鼓晝戰多旌旗所以變民之耳目也
  2. 故三軍可奪氣將軍可奪心
26. In night-fighting, then, make much use of signal-fires and drums, and in fighting by day, of flags and banners, as a means of influencing the ears and eyes of your army. 27. A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; a commander-in-chief may be robbed of his presence of mind.


  1. 是故朝氣銳晝氣惰暮氣歸
  2. 故善用兵者避其銳氣擊其惰歸此治氣者也
28. Now a soldier's spirit is keenest in the morning; by noonday it has begun to flag; and in the evening, his mind is bent only on returning to camp.

29. A clever general, therefore,

avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return. This is the art of studying moods.


  1. 以治待亂以靜待譁此治心者也
  2. 以近待遠以佚待勞以飽待飢此治力者也
  3. 無要正正之旗勿擊堂堂之陣此治變者也
30. Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy:--this is the art of retaining self-possession.

31. To be near the goal while the enemy is still far from it, to wait at ease while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed while the enemy is famished:--this is the art of husbanding one's strength.

32. To refrain from intercepting an enemy whose banners are in perfect order, to refrain from attacking an army drawn up in calm and confident array: — this is the art of studying circumstances.


  1. 故用兵之法高陵勿向背邱勿逆
  2. 佯北勿從銳卒勿攻
  3. 餌兵勿食歸師勿遏
33. It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill.

34. Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do not attack soldiers whose temper is keen.

35. Do not swallow bait offered by the enemy. Do not interfere with an army that is returning home.


  1. 圍師必闕窮宼勿迫
36. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.


  1. 此用兵之法也
37. Such is the art of warfare.