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Sun Bin:   The Art of Warfare (Military Methods)


After this incident, it has been said that Sun Bin retired from warfare, devoted himself to the research of military science, and completed his brilliant book Sun Bin: The Art of Warfare (Military Methods). Many scholars consider it to be a brilliant elaboration and a good supplementary text to Sun Tzu: The Art of War.

Sun Bin: The Art of Warfare (Military Methods)

This classical 16 chapters thesis inherits and advances the military thinking of Sun Pin's grandfather (or great grandfather), Sun Tzu, by covering his outlook on war, strategies and tactics, battle arrays, utilization of terrain, selection of qualified generals, and so on. He places heavy emphasis on being strategically and tactically agile when being involved in a macro-scale war. He integrates the military experiences prior to and during the mid-Warring States period (475 BC - 221 BC), with philosophy, purpose, military strategic approach, and reflections on the nature of human conflict. Sun Bin also contemplated such principal concepts as the consummate ruler, the importance of strategy and morale, and the advantages to be gained from adaptability, display, and discretion; yet these texts are clearly intended to be practical and to be used on the battlefield.

What I found interesting was that his military principles were more tactically focused than those of Sun Tzu's.

If the reader does not mind some incompleteness in its content, the mention of "Bronze-Age war chariots" and the "Chinese crossbow" snipers in a battle, this is an "above-average" book on strategy.

Based on my analysis, Sun Bin was an extremely gifted strategist. His work gives the general reader a "thoughtful" insight into the psychological and practical workings of Sun Tzu's teachings. The general reader can appreciate from this work the subtle insights into the nature of human beings in certain crisis situations. It has been said that Sun Bin was a student of Wang Xu, another great military strategic thinker and writer from ancient China. Wang Xu is reputed to have produced one of the most sophisticated treatises on strategy, The Master of (the) Demon Valley.

I believe that the chapter "Defeating Pang Juan" can be described as the "grand" overview of Sun Bin's basic theory of strategic warfare. This generalization can be summarized with this perspective "To be victorious against the major opposition, one must possess the strong character of quietly maintaining the deceptive state of shaping and influencing the opposition by avoiding direct conflicts and confrontations until the primary weak point of their opposition is pinpointed. At that stage, he or she focuses on conquering the opposition via one major battle with great speed and precision amount of force." It is a standpoint that allows the "quietly smart and steady of this world" to succeed against the "Goliath."

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