Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.
It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus doubled agents are recruited and used.
If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.
Balk the enemy's power; force him to reveal himself.
Victory usually goes to the army who has better trained officers and men.
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.
To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.
Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.
A good commander is benevolent and unconcerned with fame.
Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
Sun Tzu — quotes and aphorisms
Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.
Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy.
If your opponent is of choleric temper, irritate him.
Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.
Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.
If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.