36 Ji Introduction Table of content – Thirty-Six Strategies

A recently uncovered notebook of 36 proverbs commented as military tactics that helps dealing with conflicts. Tr. Verstappen (en), Doc Mac Jr (fr).

36ji I. 2.

Besiege Wei to Rescue Zhao

When the enemy is too strong to attack directly, then attack something he holds dear. Know that in all things he cannot be superior. Somewhere there is a gap in the armour, a weakness that can be attacked instead.

Warring States Era China

This strategy derives its name from a famous incident that occurred in 354 BC. At this time one of China's most renowned strategists, Sun Bin (A descendent of the even then famous Sun Zi) was an advisor to the king of Qi. Sun had earlier been at the court of Wei but another minister, Pang Juan, became jealous of Sun's cleverness. Through court intrigues he had Sun framed as a spy, sentenced to mutilation, and imprisoned. Sun escaped and fled to Qi. Several years later the king of Wei appointed the same Pang Juan as commander of the army and sent him to attack the capital of Zhao. The king of Zhao immediately appealed to Qi for help. The king of Qi consulted his advisors who all spoke in favour of rushing to aid their ally, only Sun Bin recommended against attacking. Sun advised: " To intervene between two warring armies is like trying to divert a tidal way by standing in its path. It would be better to wait until both armies have worn themselves out." The king agreed to wait.

The siege of Zhao had lasted more than a year when Sun Bin decided the time was ripe to come to Zhao's aid. The king of Qi appointed prince Tian Ji as general and Sun as military advisor. Tian Ji wanted to attack the Wei forces directly to lift the siege of Zhao, but again Sun advised against direct intervention saying: " Since most of Wei's troops are out of the country engaged in the siege, their own defence must be weak. By attacking the capital of Wei, we will force the Wei army to return to defend their own capital thereby lifting the siege of Zhao while destroying the Wei forces in turn." Tian Ji agreed to the plan and divided his army into two parts, one to attack the capital of Wei, and the other to prepare an ambush along the route to the capital.

When the Wei general Pang Juan heard that the capital was being attacked, he rushed his army back to defend the capital. Weakened and exhausted from the year long siege and the forced march, the Wei troops were completely caught by surprise in the ambush and suffered heavy losses. Chao was thus rescued while Pang Juan barely escaped back to Wei to recoup his losses. Sun Pin would later defeat his nemesis Pang Juan using another classic strategy.


« Assiéger Wei pour secourir Zhao »

Attaque un point faible de l'adversaire
(ex : un de ses lieutenants), divise et règne

Au lieu d'attaquer la tête la première un ennemi puissant et concentré, fragmentez-le en petits groupes vulnérables. Au lieu de frapper le premier, attendez votre heure et frappez seulement après que l'ennemi ait d'abord frappé.

Cette stratégie conseille de soulager les assiégés en assiégeant la base des assiégeants. Quand l'ennemi déploie ses forces principales pour attaquer un état voisin mais rencontre une résistance opiniâtre, la meilleure voie pour aider ce voisin est de lancer une invasion vers le territoire ennemi. La force principale de l'ennemi n'aura d'autre choix que de rentrer à double vitesse, une embuscade peut alors être effectivement conduite pour remporter une victoire décisive.

Dans un sens plus large, la stratégie indique de concentrer vos forces pour attaquer le point faible de l'ennemi. Dans la littérature militaire chinoise, combattre l'ennemi est souvent assimilé à la régulation des rivières. Quand l'ennemi est furieux et surpuissant comme un flot déchaîné, on doit éviter une confrontation de face et attendre jusqu'à ce qu'il ait perdu son élan, comme mener le flot dans une rivière dégagée pour le calmer et le rendre contrôlable. Comme pour un ennemi mineur, on peut construire une « digue » pour stopper son mouvement et attaquer ses points faibles et l'anéantir.

Doc Mac Jr


Read up on it, the web page is correct, its just in a style that is not very common now, being replaced by Pinyin
Anon. – 1 – 2006/12/06
hiya, thanks for all these translations, but there are some errors in 36 ji, number 21..

In it, it was said that Liu Bei is Chang Fei's general, this is wrong, Liu Bei is ruler of Shu and Zhang Fei, the 3rd sworn brother of Liu Bei (Guan Yu is the 2nd), is a general of Shu.

During Zhang Fei's single handed face off with CaoCao's men at Chang Pan bridge, he shouted 3 challenges and Cao Cao's men did not respond to any of it. on the 3rd challenge, one of Cao Cao's men was shocked and fell off his horse and was killed instantly.

After CaoCao's retreat, Zhang Fei (sadly) torn down the bridge and went to regroup with Liu Bei. Cao Cao, after hearing that the bridge was torn down, knew he was tricked and continued chasing them, but they were already in Jiang Ling (not Chian Ling)

Nice site... really.. It's from the bottom of my heart :)
Andy Lai Chonghua – 1 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 20 quotes I Ching hexagram 17
gbog – 0 Yijing 17 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 21 quotes I Ching hexagram 18
gbog – 1 Yijing 18 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 22 quotes I Ching hexagram 23
gbog – 2 Yijing 23 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 23 quotes I Ching hexagram 38
gbog – 3 Yijing 38 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 24 quotes I Ching hexagram 47
gbog – 4 Yijing 47 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 25 quotes I Ching hexagram 64 (second stroke)
gbog – 5 Yijing 64 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 26 quotes I Ching hexagram 7
gbog – 6 Yijing 7 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 27 quotes I Ching hexagram 3 (image)
gbog – 7 Yijing 3 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 28 quotes I Ching hexagram 21 (third line)
gbog – 8 Yijing 21 – 2005/12/02
[Xref] Strategy 29 quotes I Ching hexagram 53 (upper line)
gbog – 9 Yijing 53 – 2005/12/02
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