Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sun Bin: The Art of Warfare (Military Methods) (7)


Reducing (the number of) Stoves to Deceive the Opposition (Jian Zao Huo Di 减灶惑敌)
After the victory at Guiling, Sun Bin was now one level ahead of Pang Juan in terms of one-upmanship. Pang Juan lost his political ranking within the Wei's court and needed to avenge his loss and regain some "face."

When the opportunity to eradicate his previous loss, Pang Juan was emotionally ready. He pursued his rival with a vengeance .

Disguised as the disordered prey, Sun Bin gave the image of non-unified chaos by reducing the numbers of stoves at each daily turn.

Sun Bin assessed a succession of variables from their past situations in order to lure Pang Juan into a grand situation of coup de grace. At the end, he positioned his opportunity from the positive side of the eight and the ninth terrain (situation).

The outcome was obvious. Sun Bin prevailed and Pang Juan became an anecdote of what happens to an over-emotional rival who possessed superficial strategic skills.

Additional historical information can be found at this link.


The Art of the Strategic Power
Good strategic power is about creating a strategic situation that favors the implementer. It is usually consisted of many specific tactical situations. Positioning one's own situation while diminishing the potency of the competitor's strategic power is the process of implementing one's strategic power. The zero sum gain concept kicks in . We will touch on "the matrix of connectivity" concept that is behind the art of applying strategic power in the future.

After reading this series on Sun Bin. do you think he utilized his "strategic power" quite effectively?

Questions
So, how do you assess the strategic situation of your competition?

If so, do you know how to shape their view?

Lesson
Those who are able to recognize the configurations of the various strategic situations that are ahead of them, have an slightly advantage. Historically, it has been proven that they can overcome their adversarial situations.

Thoughts From the Compass Desk
Knowing the emotional state of Pang Juan especially after his victory at Guiling, enabled Sun Bin to use a "baiting and luring" tactic to influence his arch-rival to shrink their force (reliquishing their "sixth situational factor") while positioning them into a "heavenly trap" (You can cross reference it to "the seventh situation.")

In summary, knowing the connectivity of the various situations, does matter.

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