Chapter 1: Winning Stratagems 胜战计

声东击西 shēnɡdōnɡ-jīxī
Make a sound in the east, then strike in the west


In any battle the element of surprise can provide an overwhelming advantage. Even when face to face with an enemy, surprise can still be employed by attacking where he least expects it. To do this you must create an expectation in the enemy's mind through the use of a feint.

At the end of the Eastern Han, there was a peasant uprising that became known as the "Yellow Scarves Rebellion" (黄巾起义 huánɡjīnqǐyì).The government sent Zhu Jun (朱隽 Zhū Jùn) to suppress the insurgents of the Yellow Scarves Rebellion who were then approaching Wan Cheng (宛城 wǎnchénɡ). Zhu Jun's army scored an advantage: they had heavily barricaded Wan Cheng. Radicals of the Yellow Scarves Rebellion were packed together like turtles in a jar (瓮中之鳖 wènɡzhōnɡzhībiē) and appeared to be in great disarray. Zhun Jun said that his army was to attack the southwest part of Wan Cheng and then created a big display to mislead (误导 wùdǎo) the Yellow Scarves Rebellion. When the news reached them, the Yellow Scarves Rebellion was thrown into chaos. The entire army rushed to the southwest to defend themselves. But little did they know that the message sent by Zhu Jun was bogus. It was created to deceive them. His intended target (目标 mùbiāo) was the city's northeast where, as it turned out, no one was present to defend. Wan Cheng was overpowered and taken into possession by Zhu Jun soon.

The idea here is to get the enemy to focus his forces in a location, and then attack elsewhere which would be weakly defended.