The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win
A clever general, therefore, avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it when it is sluggish and inclined to return. This is the art of studying moods.
The rising of birds in their flight is the sign of an ambuscade. Startled beasts indicate that a sudden attack is coming.
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.
who wishes to fight must first count the cost
If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
Quão lamentável é arriscar tudo em um único combate, negligenciando a estratégia vitoriosa, e fazer com que o destino de tuas armas dependa de uma única batalha!
Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.
There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.
Attack is the secret of defense; defense is the planning of an attack.
Bravery without forethought, causes a man to fight blindly and desperately like a mad bull. Such an opponent, must not be encountered with brute force, but may be lured into an ambush and slain.
He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
If those who are sent to draw water begin by drinking themselves, the army is suffering from thirst. [One may know the condition of a whole army from the behavior of a single man.]
Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.
Begin by seizing something which your opponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will.