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The 36 Strategies! : 10 Questions

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  • #31
    Dear Sifu,

    Thank you so much for creating this thread! it has been marvelous to read so far.

    I have a love of strategies and great stories of strategy but when I first looked into the 36 Strategies, it was a struggle to equate them into modern life situations.

    Of course, after reading Sigung's answers they seem so obvious!

    Thank you deeply for sharing your answers Sigung.

    WSS,
    Peter Clayton
    Shaolin Wahnam Ireland
    "Though one man may conquer in battle a thousand men a thousand times over, it is he who conquers himself that is the greatest of conquerors". - Dhammapada.

    Comment


    • #32
      With each answer Sifu provides I get more excited about this course and the entire Ireland event.
      Anthony S

      Western USA

      http://elitechikung.com/

      Visit Anthony Spinicchia’s web site with information on qigong healing.

      His book, The Wonders of Chi Kung:Unlocking Glowing Health and Vitality, 3rd Edition, can be found by clicking here

      The e-book edition can be found at www.amazon.com kindle store

      Comment


      • #33
        Great

        This is great.
        Love the questions and the answers!
        I am sure this will be an awesome course.
        Jeroen

        Comment


        • #34
          Question/Answer 5

          My Dear Family,

          I am really happy that you are all enjoying Sifu's answers,he is so kind to take the time to answer our questions to help deepen our understanding.

          Dear Anthony, it will be a pleasure to welcome you to Ireland, you are so going to have a magical time here

          Dear Jeron, 'Awesome' it will be for sure!

          Sifu has asked a question at the end of this Q&A series, lets see who can answer correctly

          So to Q5. Thank you Mark for your great question, which has, once again, given us a great answer from Sifu!


          Question 5

          What is the relationship between the 36 Strategies and other Chinese classics such as the Yi Jing, the Art of War, the Dao De Jing, the four great Chinese literature classics, or others?

          Sifu Mark Blohm



          Answer

          They are related because these classics are mentioned in the Thirty Six Strategies. On the other hand, we may say they are not related because one does not need to know any of the classics to apply and benefit from the 36 strategies.

          The name Thirty Six is taken from Sun Tzu’s Art of War, which mentions word by word as follows:

          Six six thrity six. Calculation inside is technique. Technique inside is calculation. Yin yang change law. Opportunity is inside. Opportunity cannot be nothing. Nothing means fail to hit.

          The meaning of the description above is as follows:

          Six times six is thirty six. When we calculate the pros and cons of a situation, we need strategies. When we use strategies we must make calculations. The universal law of change is such. Opportunities are found in every situation. When planning a strategy, one must consider benefit. If there is no benefit, the strategy is not useful.

          In Yi Jing (I Ching) terminology, “six” refers to a broken line, and “nine” refers to an unbroken line. Three broken or unbroken lines form a trigram, known as “gua” There are eight such trigrams, or “bagua”.

          Two trigrams placed one on top of another form a hexagram. Thus the eight trigrams or bagua form sixty four hexagrams, which constitute the basis of Yi Jing.

          “Six six” refers to six broken lines, which form the hexagram called “kun”, which represents “earth”. On the other hand, six unbroken lines form the hexagram called “chien”, which represents “heaven”. “Kun” symbolizes extreme yin, while “chien” symbolizes extreme yang.

          “Six times six is thirty six” may be interpreted as there are countless situations on earth, thirty six being taken to mean infinite. Hence the 36 strategies can be used to meet any situation in life.

          Situations are constantly changing. This is a universal law. When facing any situation, we must consider its pros and cons, which leads to using strategies. Reversely, in using any strategy we must consider the pros and cons of the situation.

          There are opportunities in every situation. This is what we mean by saying that every problem is an opportunity for improvement. If we calculate the pros and cons, we can always work out advantages, which will lead to benefit. We must bear in mind the benefit when we plan a strategy. A strategy that does not bring benefit is futile.

          The hallmark of Dao De Jing (Tao Te Ching) is flow, which is also the hallmark of the 36 strategies. Even when we are at a position of strength, we try to win the situation in a pleasant way instead of bulldozing over opponents.

          A good example is the strategy, Borrow Knife to Kill Another”, which is frequently used by big companies. These big companies are at a position of strength. Even when other people or their employees object to their policies, they can still implement them if the policies bring them profits. But they would not bulldoze them even when they can.

          What do they do? Their objective is to make profits, not to please other people or their employees. So they use one of the 36 strategies. They use consultants. In fact, they already have the “solutions” to their “problem”. They supply the solutions to the consultants to make it appear that the consultants recommend the policies which actually came from their board of directors.

          All the four great Chinese literature classics – Romance of Three Kingdoms, Dream of the Red Chamber, Journey to the West, and Water Margins – contain a lot of stories using the 36 strategies.

          Here is a story from Dream of the Red Chamber applying the strategy “Fake Madness Not Insane”.

          Madame Jia, the head of an important household, invited all female relatives to a party in her huge mansion to celebrate the 15th night of the Chinese New Year. After a sumptuous meal, Madame Jia chatted heartily with her guests.

          Wang Xi Fong, a very intelligent lady known for her humour, suggested they paly a game called “order of the flower drum”, which is similar to our modern musical chair. A flower was passed round while someone played a drum. When the drumming stopped, whoever was holding the flower would have to tell a humorous story to make people laugh.

          It so happened that in the first round when the drumming stopped, Madame Jia was holding the flower.

          “I’m not good at telling humorous stories, but I’ll try” Madame Jia said. “At a party celebrating the 15th night of the New Year, someone drank the urine of the Great Sage Equal to Heaven.”

          Everybody laughed., including Wang Xi Fong who pretended not to know its hidden meaning, though she knew very well Madame Jia was making fun of her.

          According to a legend, anyone who drank the urine of Monkey God, bestowed by the Jade Emperor as the Great Sage Equal to Heaven, would be very flippant with his or her mouth.

          Then the game continued. Meanwhile someone secretly communicated with the drummer that the drummer would stop on hearing her gently cough. This was because everyone wanted Wang Xi Fong to tell stories, as her stories would make people roll on the floor.

          Accordingly, the drumming stopped when Wang Xi Fong was holding the flower. She knew it was a trick but she pretended not to know.

          So Wang Xi Fong set out to tell a story. But it was badly narrated and nobody laughed.

          Wang Xi Fong was very smart. She rather offended the whole party than Madame Jia. She did not want to appear cleverer than her important host.

          Within a short period Wang Xi Fong used the strategy, Fake Madness but Not Insane, three times. Do you know when were the other two times?

          <End>

          Dream of the Red Chamber- A Chinese Classic
          Books don't mean a lot unless you open them, Hearts are the same.......


          Valentine's Smile from the Heart 2019 IRELAND - world renowned Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit.

          -A FEAST OF SHAOLIN transmitted by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit FEBRUARY 16TH -19TH 2019
          GENERATING ENERGY FLOW
          ONE FINGER SHOOTING ZEN
          THE INCREDIBLE 3 DAY INTENSIVE ZEN COURSE .

          Sifujoan@gmail.com

          Comment


          • #35
            Awesome thread. I'm really enjoying the examples of the strategies.

            My guess as one of the answers to the question is that she used the strategy when she laughed at the joke pretending not to notice that she was being made fun of.
            Adam Bailey
            Shaolin WahNam USA

            Comment


            • #36
              Sifu, thank you for this intriguing answer.

              Dear Adam,

              Good find! as for the second...

              someone secretly communicated with the drummer that the drummer would stop on hearing her gently cough
              Perhaps the "someone" was Wang Xi Fong herself or another acting on her command.
              Last edited by Mark Blohm; 17th January 2013, 09:02 AM.
              少林華南台灣 Shaolin Wahnam Taiwan

              Facebook

              "Then how could chi kung overcome diseases where the cause is unknown or when there is no cure? The question is actually incorrect. The expressions "the cause is unknown" and "there is no cure" are applicable only in the Western medical paradigm. The expressions no longer hold true in the chi kung paradigm. In the chi kung paradigm the cause is known, and there is a cure."

              -Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

              Comment


              • #37
                Dear Family,


                As it was Wang Xi Fong's Idea to play the game in the first place I think this was the first time she used this strategy and the second time she used it was as Siheng Adam said to laugh at the joke that was targeted at her. I also thought that the Strategy Siheng Mark mentioned might of been one so I can't decide between the two.

                Maybe Siheng's Adam and Mark's are the two other times.

                The reason I think she used the strategy right at the start was to discover what Madame Jia really thought of her (know your enemy).

                Shaoilin Salute,
                Brendan

                Comment


                • #38
                  After reading back over my post my first choice wasn't a very good one.

                  The other two times were as my two Siheng's said.

                  Ahh live and learn

                  Brendan

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Q&amp;a 6

                    My Dear Family,

                    Thank you again for your lovely comments and for attempting to answer Sifu's question. He will get back to us later on that.

                    So on to Question 6. Thank you Sifu, again I love the explanation of the strategies.


                    Question 6

                    What benefits and advantages are there, for Entrepreneurs and established Business people, to have an in depth knowledge of the 36 strategies as taught by a Shaolin Grandmaster?

                    Sifu Joan Browne


                    Answer

                    Entrepreneurs and established business people can benefit a lot to have an in-depth knowledge of the 36 strategies. Indeed all of them are using these strategies though some may not be aware of it. Having an in-depth knowledge of the strategies will enhance their application of and benefit from the strategies.

                    Many entrepreneurs and business people, especially outside China and Chinese speaking countries, may not have heard of the 36 strategies, though most of them are familiar with the Art of War. In practical terms these 36 strategies may even be more useful.

                    This is because the strategies described in the Art of War are overall plans, like being guided by a noble vision, having good leadership, and studying the market, whereas the 36 strategies are specific tricks or tools to attain desirable results. Companies already have their policies, which determine their overall strategies. But changing situations occur all the time which need tricks or tools to overcome them. Hence, the 36 strategies, which are actually tricks, are relatively more useful than the strategies in the Art of War, which are overall principles.

                    All the 36 strategies are useful to entrepreneurs and business people. Here we shall examine a few examples, which are Use Rest to Wait for Labour, Sound East Strike West, and From Nothing Born Something.

                    The strategy, Use Rest to Wait for Labour, which means conserve your energy while letting the enemy tire himself in action, originated from an event during the Warring Period in China in the year 684 BC. The state of Qi planned an attack on the state of Lu.

                    As the Qi army was superior, the King of Lu was anxious and consulted his ministers. But no one could come up with a feasible plan. At last the ministers suggested to the King to seek the help of a sage called Cao Gui.

                    Cao Gui accompanied the King and his army to the battle front. The Qi general sounded his battle drums, led his army to the front of the high wall of the Lu fort, and issued a challenge for battle. The King of Lu gathered his army and was about to respond. But Cao Gui stopped him.

                    The Qi army made a lot of noise in front of the fort, but Cao Gui ignored them, though the King of Lu was very nervous. Seeing no response from the Lu army, the Qi army returned to their camp, but not before making a grand show of strength and teasing the Lu army.

                    After a few days the Qi general sounded his battle drums again, led his army to the fort and issued another challenge for battle. Again Cao Gui ignored the Qi army, though the Lu army was ready to fight. The Qi army again made a lot of noise and teasing outside the fort, but finally they returned to their camp.

                    After a few more days, the Qi army came again, more for teasing and making noise than for a battle. But to their utter surprise, this time the Lu army rushed out fiercely to slaughter them. The Qi army was ill prepared. The Qi soldiers dropped their weapons and ran for their lives.

                    The King of Lu ordered his soldiers to give chase. But Cao Gui stopped them. He came down from his chariot and examined the retreating tracks of the Qi army. Then he said, “Yes, now we can chase after and destroy the Qi army.” The battle was a disaster for the Qi army, despite being superior to the Lu.

                    After the resounding victory, the King of Lu asked Cao Gui, “Why didn’t you respond to the challenge to battle the first two times, and why did you stop me from chasing after the Qi army at first?”

                    “The first time the Qi soldiers were in high spirit for battle, so we didn’t fight them. We wanted to wear them down. The second time they were also in high spirit, but we wore them down further. When they came the third time, they were not ready to fight, while we have built up the fighting spirit of our soldiers. It was the best time to fight.”

                    “When they ran, I wanted to make sure it was not a trap. So I examined their retreating tracks and found them in disorder, which show that their retreat was unplanned. Then it was safe to give chase.”
                    Successful entrepreneurs and business people make use of this strategy of Use Rest to Wait for Labour, or conserving our energy while letting our opponents tire themselves in unfruitful activities, to make huge profits. A good example is the City Development Limited of Singapore. It waited for its competitors to tire themselves, through economic downturn and poor management, before it made its move. In 1989 it had only 6 hotels. By 1987 it had 62!

                    Another example was Raffles Holdings also of Singapore. In 1997 it bought the world famous Four Seasons Hotel in Hamburg for 80 million deutsche marks, which was about one-third the price its previous owner had paid a few years earlier.

                    The strategy, Sound East Strike West, is often used by entrepreneurs and business people. They send out false signals to disguise their real intentions. In 1995 Cycle and Carriage expected new models of the E series of Mercedes cars to arrive, but it had to clear off its old models to make space for the new ones. So not only it offered its E series of Mercedes cars for sale at slashed price but augmented its features as a masterpiece model. The strategy was very successful.

                    Another example was the acquisition of Yeo Hup Seng, a manufacturing company, by Far East Organization. Far East Organization is a major property developer with hardly any experience in manufacturing. Yet it paid a high price to acquire Yeo Hup Seng. What Far East Organization was interested in was the land Yeo Hup Seng owned. Not surprisingly, soon after its acquisition by Far East Organization, Yeo Hup Seng diversified into property development.

                    Another strategy often used in business is From Nothing is Born Something. The bidding for special car plate numbers and telephone numbers is a good example. These numbers have to be given out anyway, but by creating a demand for them the relevant authorities or agencies can make a big fortune. For example, in 1993 the car plate number 2 belonging to the Hong Kong government was sold to a businessman for HK$9.5 million!

                    Another example of this strategy of creating something from nothing is a listed company buying back its own share. This is one way to return surplus funds to its shareholders. It is also a good strategy to create an impression that supply is insufficient to meet demand, thus pushing up the price of its shares.

                    This strategy should be an inspiration to our instructors and healers. If entrepreneurs and business people can create a demand for their products or service when there is actually none, and make a fortune, our instructors and healers should not have difficulty getting many students and patients when the demand for genuine arts and overcoming illness is real. Understanding the 36 strategies will be a great help.

                    Note: The examples of City Development Limited, Raffles Holdings, Far East Organization, Yeo Hup Seng and other illustrations are taken from “39 Strategies of the Chinese” by Wee Chong Hou and Lan Luh Luh.

                    End

                    Below picture of Ng Teng Fong- Far East Organisation (http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_...011-01-21.html) If you would like to read this story (Joan)
                    Books don't mean a lot unless you open them, Hearts are the same.......


                    Valentine's Smile from the Heart 2019 IRELAND - world renowned Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit.

                    -A FEAST OF SHAOLIN transmitted by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit FEBRUARY 16TH -19TH 2019
                    GENERATING ENERGY FLOW
                    ONE FINGER SHOOTING ZEN
                    THE INCREDIBLE 3 DAY INTENSIVE ZEN COURSE .

                    Sifujoan@gmail.com

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Dear Sifu,

                      This is a brilliant story of the sage Cao Gui and his use of the strategy Use Rest To Wait for Labour.

                      From Nothing is Born Something is certainly a strategy I would like to learn to apply in my own work.

                      It is simply amazing to see all these strategies being used in so many places.

                      Thank you Sigung for giving us so many examples and wonderful stories of these strategies.

                      Thank you Sifu for asking this question.

                      Shaolin Salute,
                      Dominic.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Dear Sifu,

                        These are very deep insights. It is a masterpiece.

                        So many benefits for daily life.
                        少林華南台灣 Shaolin Wahnam Taiwan

                        Facebook

                        "Then how could chi kung overcome diseases where the cause is unknown or when there is no cure? The question is actually incorrect. The expressions "the cause is unknown" and "there is no cure" are applicable only in the Western medical paradigm. The expressions no longer hold true in the chi kung paradigm. In the chi kung paradigm the cause is known, and there is a cure."

                        -Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Dear Sigung, Dear Siguma,

                          Thank you for these Question & Answers. I very much enjoy reading through them and start to see how much these 36 strategies can bring to our daily life.

                          As for the answer to Q5 - Fake Madness but Not Insane - my guess is:
                          1. when Wang Xi Fong laughed, pretending not to know its hidden meaning, though she knew it.
                          2. when Wang Xi Fong knew that the drumming where stopped because of a trick but pretended not to know.


                          The story reminded me of a business situation, where we were discussing a contract with a partner. The discussion was in English, but my superior's English was not very good, yet he was convinced it was. During the discussion, he misunderstood some of the points that were discussed. Knowing that they would be crucial for the contract, but not wanting to expose his weak language skills, I pretended to not understand. Thus the points were discussed more in detail and could be clarified.
                          Maybe I used "Fake Madness but Not Insane"?

                          Andrea
                          Enjoy some Wahnam Tai Chi Chuan & Qi Gong!

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                          • #43
                            Q&amp;a 7

                            Dear Mark, Andrea and Dominic,

                            Thank you for your wonderful comments. I am sure we will be returning to this thread over and over again in the coming years It is very special!

                            On to Question 7. Thank you Wuji, we have another fantastic answer from Sifu Mile Bhuiochas Sifu.

                            Question 7

                            A common saying is that of the 36 strategies, running is the best 三十六计, 走为上计). How true is that in kungfu application and combat? Some commentators have translated the text to explain "running" as yielding in order to attack (以退为进)while others have interpreted this to mean to retire at one's peak or victory. I would like to humbly seek Sifu's views on this strategy. Also, would running away be the best strategy in some cases?

                            Sifu Zhang Wuji


                            Answer

                            “Shang ji” means superior strategy, but is sometimes mis-interpreted as the best strategy. Hence, the expression means that of the 36 strategies, running away or escape is a superior strategy. It is the best choice in a situation where beginning or continuing to fight will end with sure defeat.

                            This philosophy is important. In some culture, it is considered cowardly to run away. A samurai, for example, would kill himself if he failed in his mission rather than escape to fight again. In kungfu culture the values are different. It would be silly to kill himself. He should escape, and fight again, not any time but when he found himself in a strong position.

                            In combat, both in real fighting or figuratively as in business, when an opponent is definitely stronger and you are sure to lose if you fight, you have three options – to surrender, to negotiate for peace, or to escape. To surrender concedes total defeat, and you are at the mercy of the opponent. To negotiate means that you still have a chance to fight but usually are in a disadvantageous position. Escape does not indicate defeat; it shows you are smart to conserve your energy or resources so that you can fight again when conditions are more favorable.

                            This strategy originated from the story of hong men yan, or the Feast of the Hong Gate in 206 BC. Chu Xiang Yu and Liu Bang combined forces to defeat the Qin Dynasty (of Shi Huang Ti). Xiang Yu’s force was superior but he was suspicious of Liu Bang, and wanted to eliminate him. So he threw a grand feast at Hong Gate and invited Liu Bang to attend, with the intention to assassinate him. Liu Bang knew the scheme but was in a dilemma. If he attended he could be killed, but if he did not attend he would give Xiang Yu an excuse to kill him.

                            But his advisor, Zhang Liang, who was another great strategist in Chinese warring history, advised him to attend. During the feast, one of Xiang Yu’s generals gave a sword demonstration, but the real objective was to assassinate Liu Bang. Zhang Liang asked one of Liu Bang’s generals to give a simultaneous sword demonstration too. The real objective was to provide bodily cover for Liu Bang, giving no chance for assassination by the enemy general.

                            Liu Bang pretended to be drunk, and asked leave to go to the toilet. As he could hardly walk, his general and Zhang Liang escorted him. The real intention, of course, was to protect him. Later only Zhang Liang returned to the feast.

                            “My great Lord,” Zhang Liang addressed Chu Xiang Yu, “my master is not good at drinking. He has to return home early.”

                            Chu Xiang Yu regretted this fatal mistake. Years later Liu Bang reversed his fortunes and with the strategies of Zhang Liang eliminated the force of Xiang Yu and drove him to the edge of a river. There was a lone boat with a solitary boatman. Xiang Yu thought he was lucky, and ordered the boatman to take him across the river.

                            When they reached the middle of the river, the boatman removed his disguise. He was none other than Zhang Liang. In his bravado, which was typical of his character, Xiang Yu killed himself. I could not help thinking that had Xiang Yu attended the 36 Strategies Course in Ireland, or even had just read this answer, he might escape to fight another day.

                            Liu Bang became the first Emperor of the famous Han Dynasty. Soon, Zhang Liang took leave from the Emperor to retire to the countryside. He changed his name and lived inconspicuous amongst unnamed folks. Just as Zhang Liang had anticipated, not long after that Liu Bang started eliminating those who helped him to the throne.

                            In this short story, Zhang In kungfu application and combat, escape here does not mean that while fighting you turn your back and run. This will expose your back to your opponent, which is giving him a free offer. In the past, opponents might send secret weapons like flying daggers after the escapee.

                            It means you escape the situation which may lead to fighting. You escape before a possible combat begins. If you know that the chance of winning is slim, you may escape by saying, “This is not a good place for fighting, it is too public” or “It is our school policy not to accept personal challenges. I shall report it to my Grandmaster and let him decide whether to take up your challenge”.

                            “Running” may be interpreted differently by different commentators, like yielding in order to attack as in Taijiquan Pushing Hands. But I would not interpret it in this way. The Chinese term for “yielding” here is “hua” which means “neutralize. It is not “zou” which means “running”.

                            This is different from “escaping in order to attack”, or “using retreat as a means to advance”. This, in fact, is implied in the Escape strategy. This attacking or advancing after escaping or retreating, may be immediate as in some kungfu patterns, such as Fierce Tiger Descends Mountain in Shaolin and Green Dragon Shoots Pearl in Taijiquan, or after some time as in the case of Liu Bang.

                            Yes, the Escape strategy can be used to mean retiring at one’s peak or victory. That was what Zhang Liang did. That was also what the great statesman, Li Kuan Yew, of Singapore did. The difference was that Zhang Liang escaped from possible persecution, whereas Li Kuan Yew retired from glorious achievements.

                            Running away is usually not a good strategy in most cases. There are 35 other excellent strategies to use. But when he is sure to be defeated, escaping (but not necessarily running away) is the best strategy in that situation, though it may not be the best of the 36 strategies. Indeed, I believe one should use the Escape strategy when the other 35 do not serve the purpose in question. It is not for no reason why it is listed as the last of the 36 strategies. Liang applied “Escape is a superior strategy” twice. Do you know when?


                            END

                            Below a picture of Xiang Yu
                            Books don't mean a lot unless you open them, Hearts are the same.......


                            Valentine's Smile from the Heart 2019 IRELAND - world renowned Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit.

                            -A FEAST OF SHAOLIN transmitted by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit FEBRUARY 16TH -19TH 2019
                            GENERATING ENERGY FLOW
                            ONE FINGER SHOOTING ZEN
                            THE INCREDIBLE 3 DAY INTENSIVE ZEN COURSE .

                            Sifujoan@gmail.com

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Correction to Answer 7.

                              My Dear Family,

                              Sifu has very kindly sent me a slight correction to paragraphs 11 & 12 above. I have reposted the correct version below.

                              Also the answers to Question 5 will be posted tomorrow If you still want to try your hand at answering it, please do and have fun. Don't forget the question in paragraph 11 below also!


                              Question 7

                              A common saying is that of the 36 strategies, running is the best 三十六计, 走为上计). How true is that in kungfu application and combat? Some commentators have translated the text to explain "running" as yielding in order to attack (以退为进)while others have interpreted this to mean to retire at one's peak or victory. I would like to humbly seek Sifu's views on this strategy. Also, would running away be the best strategy in some cases?

                              Sifu Zhang Wuji


                              Answer

                              “Shang ji” means superior strategy, but is sometimes mis-interpreted as the best strategy. Hence, the expression means that of the 36 strategies, running away or escape is a superior strategy. It is the best choice in a situation where beginning or continuing to fight will end with sure defeat.

                              This philosophy is important. In some culture, it is considered cowardly to run away. A samurai, for example, would kill himself if he failed in his mission rather than escape to fight again. In kungfu culture the values are different. It would be silly to kill himself. He should escape, and fight again, not any time but when he found himself in a strong position.

                              In combat, both in real fighting or figuratively as in business, when an opponent is definitely stronger and you are sure to lose if you fight, you have three options – to surrender, to negotiate for peace, or to escape. To surrender concedes total defeat, and you are at the mercy of the opponent. To negotiate means that you still have a chance to fight but usually are in a disadvantageous position. Escape does not indicate defeat; it shows you are smart to conserve your energy or resources so that you can fight again when conditions are more favorable.

                              This strategy originated from the story of hong men yan, or the Feast of the Hong Gate in 206 BC. Chu Xiang Yu and Liu Bang combined forces to defeat the Qin Dynasty (of Shi Huang Ti). Xiang Yu’s force was superior but he was suspicious of Liu Bang, and wanted to eliminate him. So he threw a grand feast at Hong Gate and invited Liu Bang to attend, with the intention to assassinate him. Liu Bang knew the scheme but was in a dilemma. If he attended he could be killed, but if he did not attend he would give Xiang Yu an excuse to kill him.

                              But his advisor, Zhang Liang, who was another great strategist in Chinese warring history, advised him to attend. During the feast, one of Xiang Yu’s generals gave a sword demonstration, but the real objective was to assassinate Liu Bang. Zhang Liang asked one of Liu Bang’s generals to give a simultaneous sword demonstration too. The real objective was to provide bodily cover for Liu Bang, giving no chance for assassination by the enemy general.

                              Liu Bang pretended to be drunk, and asked leave to go to the toilet. As he could hardly walk, his general and Zhang Liang escorted him. The real intention, of course, was to protect him. Later only Zhang Liang returned to the feast.

                              “My great Lord,” Zhang Liang addressed Chu Xiang Yu, “my master is not good at drinking. He has to return home early.”

                              Chu Xiang Yu regretted this fatal mistake. Years later Liu Bang reversed his fortunes and with the strategies of Zhang Liang eliminated the force of Xiang Yu and drove him to the edge of a river. There was a lone boat with a solitary boatman. Xiang Yu thought he was lucky, and ordered the boatman to take him across the river.

                              When they reached the middle of the river, the boatman removed his disguise. He was none other than Zhang Liang. In his bravado, which was typical of his character, Xiang Yu killed himself. I could not help thinking that had Xiang Yu attended the 36 Strategies Course in Ireland, or even had just read this answer, he might escape to fight another day.

                              Liu Bang became the first Emperor of the famous Han Dynasty. Soon, Zhang Liang took leave from the Emperor to retire to the countryside. He changed his name and lived inconspicuous amongst unnamed folks. Just as Zhang Liang had anticipated, not long after that Liu Bang started eliminating those who helped him to the throne.

                              In this short story, Zhang Liang applied “Escape is a superior strategy” twice. Do you know when?

                              In kungfu application and combat, escape here does not mean that while fighting you turn your back and run. This will expose your back to your opponent, which is giving him a free offer. In the past, opponents might send secret weapons like flying daggers after the escapee.

                              It means you escape the situation which may lead to fighting. You escape before a possible combat begins. If you know that the chance of winning is slim, you may escape by saying, “This is not a good place for fighting, it is too public” or “It is our school policy not to accept personal challenges. I shall report it to my Grandmaster and let him decide whether to take up your challenge”.

                              “Running” may be interpreted differently by different commentators, like yielding in order to attack as in Taijiquan Pushing Hands. But I would not interpret it in this way. The Chinese term for “yielding” here is “hua” which means “neutralize. It is not “zou” which means “running”.

                              This is different from “escaping in order to attack”, or “using retreat as a means to advance”. This, in fact, is implied in the Escape strategy. This attacking or advancing after escaping or retreating, may be immediate as in some kungfu patterns, such as Fierce Tiger Descends Mountain in Shaolin and Green Dragon Shoots Pearl in Taijiquan, or after some time as in the case of Liu Bang.

                              Yes, the Escape strategy can be used to mean retiring at one’s peak or victory. That was what Zhang Liang did. That was also what the great statesman, Li Kuan Yew, of Singapore did. The difference was that Zhang Liang escaped from possible persecution, whereas Li Kuan Yew retired from glorious achievements.

                              Running away is usually not a good strategy in most cases. There are 35 other excellent strategies to use. But when he is sure to be defeated, escaping (but not necessarily running away) is the best strategy in that situation, though it may not be the best of the 36 strategies. Indeed, I believe one should use the Escape strategy when the other 35 do not serve the purpose in question. It is not for no reason why it is listed as the last of the 36 strategies.

                              END
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                              • #45
                                Thank you Sitaigung

                                I am sorry to be late to make another question however when I read Sitaigung answer I found my own answer. ( My question was releated to the main reason to use the 36 strategies) Sitaigung share this part it causes a great impact on me.
                                A main reason is that since actively putting our Shaolin Wahnam philosophy into daily life, I do not have any problems. What other people regard as problems, I regard as opportunities for improvement, which is quoted from Emiko who mentioned this some years ago.
                                Another important reason is that, regardless of whether we call them problems or opportunities for improvement, I look at them with a Zen state of mind. The solution often appears immediately, without the need to think of suitable


                                Warm regards and Thank you again Sitaigung and Sipagung Joan

                                Kenya
                                Sifu Kenya Araujo
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