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A leader leads by example not by force.
Art of War, Sun Tzu‘s military strategy, went on to become legendary. He demonstrated his understanding by preparing crowds of hitherto inexperienced female soldiers.
Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.
Before the period of his generalship, the kingdom he inhabited, Wu, was regarded as semi-barbaric and thus unable to be controlled. However, after Sun Tzu took control, his kingdom defeated what at that time was the most powerful state in China.
It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle.
Sun Tzu Retirement
Preferring a life of peace after this victory, Sun Tzu went into hiding. His teachings, nonetheless, went on to inspire martial arts in both armed and unarmed combats.
What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.
Sun Tzu, Art of War Quotes.
It has been argued that Sun Tzu‘s teachings did not promote war, but they rather expressed tactics to be used in case that battle begins.
There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate. Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
Sun Tzu, the Art of War quotes
While no definite proof exists that they ever met, Sun Tzu was a contemporary of Confucius and may well have come under his influence.
The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution. The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
It has been predicted that Sun Tzu died in around 496 BC in Wu.