Thursday, June 17, 2004

Sun Tzu Art of War

Sun Tzu is the author of a Chinese ancient script of the art of war. What amaze me is that, this art of war, which were produced long before the birth of Jesus Christ (2000 BC), is still being used in today's world. It's application not only limited to war stratergies, but also may be applied to other forms of competition, such in the business world or so. Let's look at a brief story of Sun Tzu, the great ancient Chinese general.

The 13 chapter of the art of war he written, had brought the attention of the King. The King than wanted to put the Sun Tzu art of war theory into test and so he called Sun Tzu, and asked if he would agree to apply his theory to women. As the answer given by him were affirmative, arrangements were made to bring 180 ladies out of the palace. Two of the ladies were the favorite concubines of the King.

Sun Tzu than divided the ladies into two groups, where each of the two favorite concubines of the King lead each group. The ladies were instructed to get their spears, and line up according to their groups. Sun Tzu than started by giving a briefing on his instructions.

"When I say 'eyes front' you must look forward. When I say 'turn left', you must turn to face to your left. When I say 'turn right, you must turn to face to your right. And when I say 'About turn', you must turn right round towards your back." Sun Tzu asked if his instructions were clear, and the girls replied yes.

Bye the sound of the drums, Sun Tzu shout his command of 'Turn Right'. However, there was no respond from the girls, except for they only burst out into laughters. Sun Tzu than explained to them, that if the words of the command was not clear, and the troops does not follow the command properly, than it is the fault of the commander. How ever, if the words of the command is clear, but nevertheless the troops still does not follow the command, than the leader of the troops is to be blamed.

So he continued drilling again. By the sound of the drums, he shout his command of 'Turn Left'. Again, there was no respond from the girls, except for they only burst out in laughters. Sun Tzu than repeat his explanations: If the words of the command is unclear and the troops does not follow the command properly, it is the fault of the commander. How ever, this time, the command was loud and clear. Thus it is the fault of the leader of the troops. So, these leaders should be executed, and he ordered that the two favorite concubines, who were the leaders of each troops to be beheaded.

The King, watching the scene from the top of a raised pavilion was greatly alarmed of the order of Sun Tzu to execute his favorite concubines. The King quickly sent one of his servants to send a message to Sun Tzu that, the two concubines are his favorites. And if they are beheaded, the meals of the palace would loose its savor. The King than asked that Sun Tzu would not behead the two concubines.

Nevertheless, Sun Tzu replied back, stating that the king once gave an order and it is the commander's responsibility to perform the order up till to the end. He said that he would be un able to pull back the order of the King, and so, the two concubines would still be beheaded.

Watching their leaders being executed, the other girls were shocked. Sun Tzu installed new leaders for each of the groups to replace the two beheaded concubines. The drill continued, and there on, every command made by Sun Tzu were followed by them immediately without making any noise. Satisfied with the troops, Sun Tzu than sent message to the King. "Your troops, Sire, are now properly drilled and disciplined. They are ready for your majesty's inspection. They can be put to any use that their sovereign may desire; bid them go through fire and water, and they will not disobey.

But the King replied "Let the general cease drilling and return to camp. As for us, we have no wish to come down and inspect the troops."

Responding to the statement of the King, Sun Tzu replied " The King is only fond of words, but cannot translate them into deeds."

After that, Ho Lu saw that Sun Tzu is the one which have the power and ability to control and command troops. He was than appointed to be a general. During that period of time when Sun Tzu was the general, the empire became an undefeatable empire, while they keep on defeating other empires.

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