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The Army on the March – xing jun pian di jiu

Apr. 3, 2015

Sun Zi’s Art of War was written by Sun Wu in the final year of the Spring and Autumn

Period (770BC – 476BC).

It is not only the oldest Chinese military work in existence but also the oldest book

of military theory in the world, well-known for a long time in the history of the

military academy in China and abroad.

Sun Zi’s Art of War has altogether 13 chapters. Both concise and comprehensive,

this book sum up the experience of ancient wars, bring to light the many laws of

war which are of universal significance.

Want to know why business people like it so much? Come and learn Sun Zi’s Art of

War with eChineseLearning’s professional teachers!

xínɡ jūn piān dì jiǔ
行    军    篇  第 九

sūnzi yuē : fán chù jūn xiānɡ dí , jué shān yī ɡǔ , shì shēnɡ chù
孙子   曰 :  凡   处   军  相      敌 , 绝   山   依 谷 ,  视   生      处

ɡāo , zhàn lónɡ wú dēnɡ , cǐ chù shān zhī jūn yě 。jué shuǐ bì yuǎn
高 ,     战     隆    无   登 ,   此  处   山    之  军  也 。 绝   水  必  远

shuǐ , kè jué shuǐ ér lái ,wù yínɡ zhī yú shuǐ nèi ,lìnɡ bàn jì ér
水 ,    客  绝  水   而 来 , 勿  迎   之  于  水    内 , 令   半  济 而

jī zhī ,lì ; yù zhàn zhě ,wú fù yú shuǐ ér yínɡ kè ;shì shēnɡ chù
击 之,利;欲  战    者 ,   无 附 于  水   而 迎    客 ; 视   生      处

ɡāo , wú yínɡ shuǐ liú , cǐ chù shuǐ shànɡ zhī jūn yě 。 jué chì zé ,
高 ,    无  迎    水   流 ,  此 处   水     上     之  军   也 。 绝   斥 泽 ,

wéi jí qù wú liú ; ruò jiāo jūn yú chì zé zhī zhōnɡ , bì yī shuí
惟 亟 去  无  留 ; 若   交   军  于  斥  泽 之  中 ,      必 依 水

cǎo , ér bèi zhònɡ shù , cǐ chù chì zé zhī jūn yě 。 pínɡ lù chù yì ,
草 ,   而  背  众       树 ,  此  处  斥  泽 之  军  也 。  平   陆  处 易 ,

ér yòu bèi ɡāo ,qián sǐ hòu shēnɡ ,cǐ chù pínɡ lù zhī jūn yě 。 fán
而  右  背   高 ,   前   死  后    生 ,   此  处  平    陆  之  军 也 。 凡

cǐ sì jūn zhī lì , huánɡdì zhīsuóyǐ shènɡ sì dì yě 。
此四 军 之 利 , 黄帝       之所以    胜     四 帝 也 。

fán jūn hào ɡāo ér è  xià , ɡuì yánɡ ér jiàn yīn ,yǎnɡ shēnɡ ér chù
凡   军   好   高  而 恶 下 ,   贵  阳    而 贱   阴 ,  养      生     而  处

shí , jūn wú bǎi jí , shì wèi bì shènɡ 。qiū línɡ dī fánɡ , bì chù
实 ,  军  无  百 疾 , 是  谓  必   胜 。     丘   陵  堤  防 ,   必 处

qí yánɡ , ér yòu bèi zhī 。 cǐ bīnɡ zhī lì , dì zhī zhù yě 。 shànɡ
其 阳 ,    而  右   背  之 。  此  兵  之 利 , 地 之  助  也 。  上

yǔ , shuǐ mò zhì , yù shè zhě , dài qí dìnɡ yě 。 fán dì yǒu jué
雨 ,   水   沫  至 ,  欲  涉   者 ,  待  其 定    也 。  凡 地  有   绝

jiàn 、 tiān jǐnɡ 、 tiān láo 、 tiān luó 、 xiàn tiān 、 tiān xì ,
涧 、    天   井 、    天   牢 、    天  罗 、   陷    天 、   天  隙 ,

bì jí qù zhī , wù jìn yě 。 wú yuǎn zhī , dí jìn zhī ; wú yínɡ zhī ,
必 亟 去 之 , 勿 近 也 。  吾   远    之 , 敌 近 之 ;   吾  迎    之 ,

dí bèi zhī 。 jūn xínɡ yǒu xián zǔ 、 huánɡ jǐnɡ 、 jiā wěi 、 shān
敌 背  之 。  军   行    有    险   阻 、   潢      井 、   葭 苇 、   山

lín 、 yì huì zhě , bì jǐn fù suǒ zhī , cǐ fú jiān zhī suǒ chù yě 。
林 、 蘙 荟   者 , 必 谨 复  索  之 ,  此 伏 奸 之   所   处   也 。

dí jìn ér jìnɡ zhě , shì qí xiǎn yě ;yuǎn ér tiǎozhàn zhě ,yù rén
敌 近 而  静 者 ,    恃 其  险  也 ; 远    而  挑战       者 ,   欲 人

zhī jìn yě ; qí suǒ jū yì zhě , lì yě ; zhònɡ shù dònɡ zhě , lái
之  进 也 ; 其 所  居 易 者 , 利 也 ;   众      树    动     者 , 来

yě ;zhònɡ cǎo duō zhànɡ zhě ,yí yě ;niǎo qǐ zhě ,fú yě ;shòu hài
也 ;   众     草    多     障      者 ,疑 也 ;  鸟  起 者 , 伏 也 ; 兽    骇

zhě , fù yě ; chén ɡāo ér ruì zhě , chē lái yě ; bēi ér ɡuǎnɡ zhě ,
者 ,   覆 也 ;   尘    高  而  锐 者 ,    车 来 也 ;  卑  而  广      者 ,

tú lái yě ; sàn ér tiáo dá zhě , qiáo cǎi yě ; shǎo ér wǎnɡ lái
徒 来 也 ; 散  而  条  达  者 ,     樵   采 也 ;  少   而   往     来

zhě , yínɡ jūn yě ;cí bēi ér yì bèi zhě ,jìn yě ;cí qiánɡ ér jìn
者 ,     营  军   也 ;辞 卑 而 益 备 者 ,  进 也 ;辞  强    而 近

qū zhě , tuì yě ; qīnɡ chē xiān chū jū qí cè zhě , chén yě ; wú yuē
趋  者 ,   退 也 ;   轻   车    先   出  居 其 侧  者 ,    陈   也 ; 无 约

ér qǐnɡ hé zhě , móu yě ; bēn zǒu ér chén bīnɡ chē zhě , qī yě ;
而  请   和   者 ,  谋    也 ;   奔   走  而   陈    兵    车   者 ,  期 也 ;

bàn jìn bàn tuì zhě , yòu yě ; zhànɡ ér lì zhě ,jī yě ;jí ér xiān
半    进  半   退 者 ,    诱  也 ;   杖    而 立 者 ,饥 也;汲 而 先

yǐn zhě , kě yě ; jiàn lì ér bú jìn zhě , láo yě ; niǎo jí zhě ,
饮  者 ,   渴 也 ;  见 利 而 不 进 者 ,   劳  也 ;   鸟 集 者 ,

xū yě ;yè hū zhě ,kǒnɡ yě ;jūn rǎo zhě ,jiānɡ bú zhònɡ yě ; jīnɡ
虚 也 ; 夜 呼 者 ,    恐   也 ; 军  扰   者 ,  将    不    重     也 ;  旌

qí dònɡ zhě , luàn yě ; lì nù zhě , juàn yě ; sù mǎ ròu shí ,
旗  动     者 ,    乱   也 ;吏 怒 者 ,  倦    也 ; 粟  马  肉   食 ,

jūn wú xuán fǒu , bù fǎn qí shě zhě , qiónɡ kòu yě ; zhūn zhūn xī
军   无  悬     缻 ,   不 返  其  舍  者 ,     穷    寇   也 ;   谆    谆    翕

xī , xú yǔ rén yán zhě , shī zhònɡ yě ; shù shǎnɡ zhě , jiǒnɡ yě ;
翕 ,徐 与  人  言   者 ,    失  众      也 ;   数   赏      者 ,    窘   也 ;

shù fá zhě ,kùn yě ;xiān bào ér hòu wèi qí zhònɡ zhě , bù jīnɡ zhī
数   罚 者 ,  困   也 ; 先    暴  而  后   畏  其  众      者 ,   不  精   之

zhì yě ; lái wěi xiè zhě , yù xiū xi yě 。 bīnɡ nù ér xiānɡ yínɡ ,
至  也 ; 来  委  谢   者 ,  欲 休 息 也 。  兵   怒  而  相     迎 ,

jiǔ ér bù hé , yòu bù xiānɡ qù , bì jǐn chá zhī 。
久 而 不  合 ,  又  不   相     去 , 必 谨  察  之 。

bīnɡ fēi yì duō yě , wéi wú wǔ jìn , zú yǐ bìnɡ lì 、 liào dí 、 qǔ
兵     非 益 多   也 ,  惟  无  武 进 ,  足 以 并  力 、  料  敌 、 取

rén ér yǐ 。 fū wéi wú lǜ ér yì dí zhě , bì qín yú rén 。
人  而 已 。夫 惟  无  虑 而 易 敌 者 , 必  擒 于 人  。

zú wèi qīn fù ér fá zhī , zé bù fú , bù fú zé nán yònɡ yě ; zú yǐ
卒  未  亲  附 而 罚 之 , 则 不 服 , 不 服 则  难   用     也 ; 卒 已

qīn fù ér fá bù xínɡ ,zé bù kě yònɡ yě 。ɡù lìnɡ zhī yǐ wén ,qí zhī
亲  附 而 罚 不 行 ,   则 不 可   用    也 。 故 令   之  以  文 , 齐 之

yǐ wǔ , shì wèi bì qǔ 。 lìnɡ sù xínɡ , yǐ jiāo qí mín , zé mín fú ;
以 武 ,  是  谓 必 取 。   令   素  行 ,  以  教  其 民 ,  则  民  服 ;

lìnɡ bú sù xínɡ , yǐ jiāo qí mín , zé mín bù fú 。 lìnɡ sù xínɡ zhě ,
令   不  素  行 ,   以 教  其 民 ,   则  民  不  服 。  令  素  行   者 ,

yǔ zhònɡ xiānɡ dé yě 。
与   众      相      得  也 。

Translation:(Translated from the Chinese version By LIONEL GILES, M.A.

(1910))

IX. THE ARMY ON THE MARCH

1. Sun Tzu said: We come now to the question of encamping the army, and

observing signs of the enemy. Pass quickly over mountains, and keep in

the neighborhood of valleys.

2. Camp in high places, facing the sun. Do not climb heights in order to

fight. So much for mountain warfare.

3. After crossing a river, you should get far away from it.

4. When an invading force crosses a river in its onward march, do not

advance to meet it in mid-stream. It will be best to let half the army

get across, and then deliver your attack.

5. If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to meet the invader near

a river which he has to cross.

6. Moor your craft higher up than the enemy, and facing the sun. Do not

move up-stream to meet the enemy. So much for river warfare.

7. In crossing salt-marshes, your sole concern should be to get over them

quickly, without any delay.

8. If forced to fight in a salt-marsh, you should have water and grass

near you, and get your back to a clump of trees. So much for operations

in salt-marches.

9. In dry, level country, take up an easily accessible position with rising

ground to your right and on your rear, so that the danger may be in front,

and safety lie behind. So much for campaigning in flat country.

10. These are the four useful branches of military knowledge which enabled

the Yellow Emperor to vanquish four several sovereigns.

11. All armies prefer high ground to low and sunny places to dark.

12. If you are careful of your men, and camp on hard ground, the army will

be free from disease of every kind, and this will spell victory.

13. When you come to a hill or a bank, occupy the sunny side, with the

slope on your right rear. Thus you will at once act for the benefit of

your soldiers and utilize the natural advantages of the ground.

14. When, in consequence of heavy rains up-country, a river which you wish

to ford is swollen and flecked with foam, you must wait until it subsides.

15. Country in which there are precipitous cliffs with torrents running

between, deep natural hollows, confined places, tangled thickets,

quagmires and crevasses, should be left with all possible speed and not

approached.

16. While we keep away from such places, we should get the enemy to approach

them; while we face them, we should let the enemy have them on his rear.

17. If in the neighborhood of your camp there should be any hilly country,

ponds surrounded by aquatic grass, hollow basins filled with reeds, or

woods with thick undergrowth, they must be carefully routed out and

searched; for these are places where men in ambush or insidious spies are

likely to be lurking.

18. When the enemy is close at hand and remains quiet, he is relying on

the natural strength of his position.

19. When he keeps aloof and tries to provoke a battle, he is anxious for

the other side to advance.

20. If his place of encampment is easy of access, he is tendering a bait.

21. Movement amongst the trees of a forest shows that the enemy is

advancing. The appearance of a number of screens in the midst of thick

grass means that the enemy wants to make us suspicious.

22. The rising of birds in their flight is the sign of an ambuscade.

Startled beasts indicate that a sudden attack is coming.

23. When there is dust rising in a high column, it is the sign of chariots

advancing; when the dust is low, but spread over a wide area, it betokens

the approach of infantry. When it branches out in different directions,

it shows that parties have been sent to collect firewood. A few clouds

of dust moving to and fro signify that the army is encamping.

24. Humble words and increased preparations are signs that the enemy is

about to advance. Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack

are signs that he will retreat.

25. When the light chariots come out first and take up a position on the

wings, it is a sign that the enemy is forming for battle.

26. Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant indicate a plot.

27. When there is much running about and the soldiers fall into rank, it

means that the critical moment has come.

28. When some are seen advancing and some retreating, it is a lure.

29. When the soldiers stand leaning on their spears, they are faint from

want of food.

30. If those who are sent to draw water begin by drinking themselves, the

army is suffering from thirst.

31. If the enemy sees an advantage to be gained and makes no effort to

secure it, the soldiers are exhausted.

32. If birds gather on any spot, it is unoccupied. Clamor by night betokens

nervousness.

33. If there is disturbance in the camp, the general’s authority is weak.

If the banners and flags are shifted about, sedition is afoot. If the

officers are angry, it means that the men are weary.

34. When an army feeds its horses with grain and kills its cattle for food,

and when the men do not hang their cooking-pots over the camp-fires,

showing that they will not return to their tents, you may know that they

are determined to fight to the death.

35. The sight of men whispering together in small knots or speaking in

subdued tones points to disaffection amongst the rank and file.

36. Too frequent rewards signify that the enemy is at the end of his

resources; too many punishments betray a condition of dire distress.

37. To begin by bluster, but afterwards to take fright at the enemy’s

numbers, shows a supreme lack of intelligence.

38. When envoys are sent with compliments in their mouths, it is a sign

that the enemy wishes for a truce.

39. If the enemy’s troops march up angrily and remain facing ours for a

long time without either joining battle or taking themselves off again,

the situation is one that demands great vigilance and circumspection.

40. If our troops are no more in number than the enemy,that is amply

sufficient; it only means that no direct attack can be made. What we can

do is simply to concentrate all our available strength, keep a close watch

on the enemy, and obtain reinforcements.

41. He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is

sure to be captured by them.

42. If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they

will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be

practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you,

punishments are not enforced, they will still be unless.

43. Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity,

but kept under control by means of iron discipline. This is a certain road

to victory.

44. If in training soldiers commands are habitually enforced, the army

will be well-disciplined; if not, its discipline will be bad.

45. If a general shows confidence in his men but always insists on his

orders being obeyed, the gain will be mutual.

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