Military action is important to the
nation--it is the ground of death
and life, the path of survival and
destruction, so it is imperative to
Therefore measure in terms of five
things, use these assessments to
make comparisons, and thus find
out what the conditions are. The
five things are the way, the
weather, the terrain, the
leadership, and discipline.
The Way means inducing the people
to have the same aim as the
leadership, so that they will share
death and share life, without fear
The weather means the seasons.
The terrain is to be assessed in
terms of distance, difficulty or ease of
travel, dimension, and safety.
Leadership is a matter of intelligence,
courage, and sternness.
Discipline means organization,
chain of command, and logistics.
Every general has heard of these
five things. Those who know them
prevail, those who do not know
them do not prevail.
Therefore use these assessments
for comparison, to find out what
the conditions are. That is to say,
which political leadership has the
Way? Which general has ability?
Who has the better climate and
terrain? Whose discipline is effective?
Whose troops are the
stronger? Whose officers and soldiers
are the better trained?
Whose system of rewards and punishments
is clearer? This is how you can know who will win.
Assess the advantages in taking advice,
then structure your forces
accordingly, to supplement extraordinary
tactics. Forces are to
be structured strategically, based
on what is advantageous.
A military operation involves deception.
Even though you are competent,
appear to be incompetent.
Though effective, appear to be ineffective.
When you are going to attack
nearby, make it look as if you are
going to go a long way; when you
are going to attack far away, make
it look as if you are going just a
Draw them in with the prospect of
gain, take them in by confusion.
When they are fulfilled, be prepared
against them; when they are
strong, avoid them.
Use anger to throw them into disarray.
Use humility to make them
haughty. Tire them by flight.
Cause division among them.
Attack when they are unprepared,
make your move when they do not
The formation and procedure used
by the military should not be
The one who figures on victory at
headquarters before even doing
battle is the one who has the most
strategic factors on his side. The
one who figures on inability to
prevail at headquarters before
doing battle is the one who has the
least strategic factors on his side.
The one with many strategic
factors in his favor wins, the one with
few strategic factors in his favor
loses--how much the more so for
one with no strategic factors in his
favor. Observing the matter in this
way, I can see who will win and
who will lose.