If you are near the enemy, make him believe you are far from him.If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.
Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
It does not take sharp eyes to see the sun and the moon, nor does it take sharp ears to hear the thunderclap. Wisdom is not obvious. You must see the subtle and notice the hidden to be victorious.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first then seek to win.
War is based on deception.
Appraise war in terms of the fundamental factors. The first of these factors is moral influence.
Don't flail against the world, use it. Flexibility is the operative principle in the art of war.
Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.
The ruler cannot mobilize the army out of personal anger. The general cannot engage in battle because of personal frustration. Anger can revert to happiness, annoyance can revert to joy, but a vanquished state cannot be revived, the dead cannot be brought back to life.
Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.
Nothing is more difficult than the art of maneuvering for advantageous positions.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
All warfare is based on deception. There is no place where espionage is not used. Offer the enemy bait to lure him.
To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle, but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting.
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.