March 20th, 2013



There is a saying among soldiers:
I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest;
I dare not advance an inch but would rather withdraw a foot.

This is called marching without appearing to move,
Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm,
Capturing the enemy without attacking,
Being armed without weapons.

There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy.
By underestimating the enemy, I almost lost what I value.

Therefore when the battle is joined,
The underdog will win.
There's an old military saying:
"I'd rather face an attack
than have to make one.
I'd rather retreat a foot
than try to advance an inch."

That's the secret to moving forward
while staying put,
preparing for battle
without revealing your strength.

When you defend yourself
without any show of force,
you give your opponent
nothing to fight.

Attacking an enemy
you've underestimated
is a costly mistake.
When two forces oppose each other,
the winner is the one most reluctant to fight.

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.

Chapter 69

69.1 There are sayings on the use of arms:
       "Let us not be aggressors,
        but defend."
       "Let us not advance an inch,
       but retreat a foot."
69.2 This is called carrying out no action,
       shaking no arm,
       facing no enemy,
       wielding no weapon.
69.3 No calamity is greater
       than underestimating opponents.
        If you underestimate opponents,
       you're close to losing your treasure.
69.4 So when opposing armies clash,
       the compassionate
       are the ones who win.

Tao Teh Ching - Cleary Translation