The Objective: Achieving the State of "Know"
Thus if one knows the field of battle and knows the day of battle, he can traverse a thousand li and assemble to engage in combat. If he does not know the field of battle nor know the day for battle, then the left flank cannot aid the right nor the right flank aid the left; the front cannot aid the rear nor the rear aid the front. How much more so when the distant are some tens of li away and the near several li apart? As I analyze it, even though Yueh's army is numerous, of what great advantage is it to them for attaining victory? Thus I say victory can be achieved. Even though the enemy is more numerous, they can be forced not to fight. ...
The Process: Assess, Position and Influence
Thus critically analyze them to know the estimations for gain and loss. Stimulate them to know the patterns of their movement and stopping. Determine their disposition of force (hsing) to know the tenable and fatal terrain. Probe them to know where they have an excess, where an insufficiency.
Thus the pinnacle of military deployment approaches the formless. If it is formless, then even the deepest spy cannot discern it or the wise plans against it.
Now the army's disposition of force (hsing) is like water. Water's configuration (hsing) avoids heights and races downward. The army's disposition of force (hsing) avoids the substantial and strikes the vacuous. Water configures (hsing) its flow in accord with the terrain; the army controls its victory in accord with the enemy. Thus the army does not maintain any constant strategic configuration of power (shih), water has no constant shape (hsing). One who is able to change and transform in accord with the enemy and wrest victory is termed spiritual. Thus [none of] the five phases constantly dominates; the four seasons do not have constant positions; the sun shines for longer and shorter periods; and the moon wanes and waxes.
- Sawyer's translation
Chapter Four to Six about building the field strategy by emphasizing on the integrated qualities of formation, momentum and preparedness
Chapter Four teaches the importance of controlling the situation before the conflict begins while Chapter Five focuses on utilizing the attributes of momentum and timing and/or the elements of orthodox and unorthodox tactics to defeat the competition
The tactical objective of Chapter Six is about determining the best match-up by matching one's strengths to the weaknesses of the competition.