The Art of War


Sun Tzu lived approximately two thousand years ago—if in fact he lived at all. In those times, generally, works like The Art of War were passed along by word of mouth by enlightened people and in time the lessons became corrupted. Taught in Sun Tzu’s name, these lessons are fundamental for intelligent people who seek an understanding of conquest and the application of it, according to their own goals. In this work you will learn how people are to be treated and dealt with. The work was written for men in command and leaders of states. It is for the ambitious and strong spirited; do not seek morality lessons here.

Sun Tzu has been translated and interpreted countless times by people with little knowledge of true combat reality on either the physical or mental level. It has been called any number of things, but it still remains a guide for the control of people, places, and things. It can be construed as mortal-combat specific or as a general guide to management-aggressive, high-minded, goal-oriented management.

Most translations and interpretations maintain a poetic approach that really do not pertain to the times we are living in. There is a tendency to maintain a “mystique” regarding ancient knowledge. This is quaint, relative to today’s aggressive personality. We are living in a global network and must think in decisive terms if we are to succeed in our various business dealings-which can take place in a boardroom, a courtroom, a barroom, or the battlefield, wherever you may choose.

In my interpretation, I detail the actions necessary to maintain control of an environment. Obviously, the explanations must be put into the context of the reader’s experience. It is, therefore, a real-time book. My work is thoroughly grounded in experience and is the product of intense meditation on the precepts first suggested by Sun Tzu. A hard-nosed, cold-blooded mentality is essential to personal development both on the field of battle and at the negotiating table, and if you wish to succeed in such situations, you must act accordingly. This mentality is required if you truly desire to be one among the few.

I leave out the commentaries by alleged ancient masters as to what Sun Tzu supposedly meant. These commentaries were generally given as edifications by others so they could tell you their ideas. In reality, who cares what Ch’en Fu thinks about Sun Tzu’s hidden meaning about the jade stalk in the midst of the enemy’s goldfish pond? We are grown-up and intelligent enough to develop our own understanding without the need for quaint allegories. There is nothing sacred here. I find that approach unnecessary, limiting, and a waste of time to the educated reader. The only comments and clarifications you will ever need should be your own and they should be based on your understanding and application of the knowledge. You should make notes for your own personal needs.

Interpretations and translations of ancient works will come and go. Some will remain in force and others will fall by the wayside. It does not matter what happens to a work as long as that work is done with sincerity and a knowledge of the truth of the matter. The attitudes and ideas that I discuss require understanding and insight on the part of the reader. This book is a philosophy of management; it is not about how to change a lightbulb, although, in the final analysis, it could be. How you use the information is the only aspect of the work that should have any functional value for you. As a student, what you consider right or wrong, correct, or incorrect, can only be determined by yourself.

A word about my selection of terms. I use the rank of “warlord” because I feel that it is this person who is generally in charge of the “campaign to maintain,” regardless of gender or specific titles such as boss, president, king, etc. I preserve the identification of all involved in a masculine format. This is not to belittle women, and no offense is intended. However, the tenor of “war” is mostly of male “feather flashing,” irrespective of the fact that I personally realize the superiority of women in many matters of leadership. The term “ruler” is generically used where perhaps “prince,” “king,” or “empress” could also have been used.

I leave it to you to judge the work on its own merits. If you follow the precepts laid out for you then you will see radical changes in the manner in which you conduct your life-on every level. As an acknowledged and world-recognized martial arts master, a Hanshi, I am thoroughly aware of my responsibility for the interpretation of this doctrine, and I have made it incumbent upon myself to explain Sun Tzu’s tenets as I perceive them in a definitive manner.

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