6. Weak Points And Strong
- Sun Tzu said: Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.
Conserve your energy. Make the opponent exert more energy. Don't fully commit until their energy is flagging.
- Therefore the clever combatant imposes their will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on them.
You define the arena. "Don't box a boxer. Don't wrestle a wrestler." This is a common strategy in MMA.
- By holding out advantages to themselves, they can cause the enemy to approach of its own accord; or, by inflicting damage, they can make it impossible for the enemy to draw near.
Don't charge in, make the opponent initiate so you can riposte cleanly. If they're crowding you, strike at grievous targets, such as the knees or eyes. (Musashi talked about stabbing at the face, which is not an optimal choice, except to deter or unsettle your opponent.)
- If the enemy is taking his ease, they can can harass him;
A common strategy—throwing feints and weak strikes to annoy and force the opponent to defend. Don't let them rest, and try to piss them off to degrade their decision-making.
- You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.
No brainer—attack openings—people often drop their guard. Don't drop your guard—be conservative and disciplined.
- Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected.
Attack openings, but then quickly attack new openings when they move to defend.
- You may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if you make for the enemy's weak points; you may retire and be safe from pursuit if your movements are more rapid than those of the enemy.
This is actually a fairly good description of the tai chi notion of "pushing toward the center", but it has general applicability. Also explicates the tai chi notion of already moving force into the next vector "before the opponent" when countering. More concretely, even if you begin to step back just after an opponent steps forward, you can arrive at your new position more quickly.
Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.
He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.
Be flexible! Be able to do a little of everything. (It is said of GTA that it is not the best FPS, or the best driving game, or the best flying game, but is has all three, and thereby dominates:)
- All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.