Forms And Dispositions - Chapter 4 SUN TZU The Art Of War (How To Win CEO)

A victorious army is like pent-up water crashing a thousand fathoms into a gorge.

Forms and Dispositions – Chapter 4 SUN TZU The Art Of War

The Art Of War,    The Art Of War Chapter 4. And by the way, this translation is by John Minford and is The Art Of War published by Penguin Books. We've done three chapters so far. So what I'm going to do is just quickly review them. Then I'm going to go into 22 verses, about Forms And Dispositions,  now that's really 22 separate points, but they do merge into one another - and I'm going to go through them swiftly as poetry rather than dwelling on them.

At least that's what I hope I'm going to do.

Okay. So we've done, three chapters so far.  The first chapter of The Art Of War - is the Making of Plans, which is about calculations, calculations in the temple.  The second chapter is about the Waging of War. And one key point that the text makes is to prize victory, not a protracted campaign. And the third chapter was about the Strategic Offensive, which can be summarized as know the enemy know yourself and victory is never in doubt.


So the 22  are: Master Sun said, of old, the skillful warrior first ensured his own invulnerability. Then he waited for the enemies vulnerability; invulnerability rests with self; vulnerability with the enemy.

The skillful warrior can achieve his own invulnerability; but he can never bring about the enemies vulnerability.

Hence the saying 'one can know victory and yet not achieve it.'

Invulnerability is a defence; vulnerability is attack. Defence implies lack; attack implies abundance. A skillful defender hides beneath the nine-fold earth; a skillful attacker moves above the nine-fold heaven. Thus they achieve protection and victory intact.


To foresee the ordinary victory of the common man is no true skill.    To be victorious in battle and to be acclaimed for one's skill is no true skill. To lift autumn fur is no strength; to see sun and moon is no perception; to hear thunder is no quickness of hearing.

The skillful warrior of old won easy victories. The victories of the skillful warrior are not extraordinary victories. They bring neither fame for wisdom nor merit for valor. His victories are flawless; his victory is flawless because it is inevitable. He vanquishes an already defeated enemy.

 The skillful warrior takes his stand on invulnerable ground. He lets slip no chance of defeating the enemy. The victorious army is victorious first and seeks battle later. The defeated army does battle fast and seeks victory later.

The strategist cultivates the way and preserves the law; thus he is master of victory and defeat..

Five Steps

In War, there are five steps: measurement, estimation, calculation, comparison, victory. Earth determines measurement, measurement determines estimation, estimation determines calculation, calculation determines comparison, comparison determines victory.

A victorious army is like a pound weight in the scale against a grain.

A defeated army is like a grain in the scale against a pound weight.

A victorious army is like pent-up water crashing a thousand fathoms into a gorge.

This is all a matter of forms and dispositions.

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