Cao Cao's commentry on "The Art of War"

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Cao Cao's commentry on "The Art of War"

Unread postby Da_Chicago_Jigalo » Wed Aug 25, 2004 1:34 am

In the book "The Art of War" written by ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu, Cao Cao translates alot of it, along with other people like Zhang Yu, Du Mu, and Mei YaoChen. This is just a topic on things that Cao Cao said in The Art of War and all that.

Here are some examples.

(Sun Tzu says:) "The difficulty of the Fray lies in making the crooked look straight"
(Cao Cao's comentary:)Make a show of being far away, then march with all speed and arrive before the enemy.

(Sun Tzu says:) "In warfare engage directly; Secure victory indirectly"
(Cao Cao's commentary:) Confront the enemy directly; attack indirectly from the flank where least expected.

Most of his commentaries on the manual are short and to the point, unlike other scholars who comment on it like Giles and Du You who go on on with paragraphs about it.
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Unread postby PrimeMinister Bu Zhi » Wed Aug 25, 2004 2:04 am

For the indirect and direct, I think Cao Cao is not 100% correct. He apparently views direct as a straight forward attack and indirect as a trap, or some sort of flank attack. But there is a meeting in both.

By what I think Sun Tzu ment about "win indirectly" is to win by gaining victory beforehand. Not to actually battle them, but to fight the enemy with your "mind" so to say. You fight with them directly, but you win with your mind, your planning and calculations, indirectly. For example, at Chibi, Zhou Yu fought with Cao Cao directly, but won through his ploy, his tricks, that Cao Cao could not see through, indirectly(the fire attack). The side that uses the most indirect approaches has a huge advantage over the side that prefers direct combat.

When you fight a battle where you have a huge numerical advantage, then you have a direct advantage. You can overcome them in direct combat.

If you however fight a battle were your opponents troops are tired and fatiuged, where your stratagies are superior, you will have the indirect advantage.

This is Chibi, Cao Cao clearly had a direct advantage but Zhou Yu had the indirect advantage. Victory tends to the indirect advantage, as the Art of War says; "Secure victory, Indirectly". So with this logic it can be seen how Zhou Yu won the battle.
Lu Xun- "After much observation of how Liu Bei had been leading troops in his career, I see that he had more failures than success; hence, he is not much of a threat."
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Unread postby Six_and_Up » Wed Aug 25, 2004 2:46 am

Cao Cao was short to the point because generals wouldn't bother to read all essays on warfare, they'd just want the point on war that Sun Tzu or Cao Cao was making. For indirect and direct, i think the point Cao Cao was making was that though we always confront the enemy in battle, campaigns are better won through attacking the 'soft' and avoiding the 'hard'. Attack supplies, use fire etc. Win without exerting oneself, thats my take on direct and indirect
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