Archive for the 'Strategy' Category

22
Jul
09

Tiger and mountain

In Chinese there’s a popular expression “a tiger who find himself out on flat open plains can be bullied by dogs” (虎落平阳被犬欺).

Tiger is a solitary animal, whereas dogs are pack animals. The tiger has strong bones and powerful muscles, excellent for bringing down large prey. But because of the large size, it lacks endurance. So its tactic is to rely on camouflage and cover, and use sudden ambush to quickly bring down the prey. For these reasons their ideal habitat are deep mountains. Dogs by comparison, are much smaller, less explosive, but has far better endurance. It can chase down prey over long distances, especially with teamwork. Therefore it does well on flat, open areas. So this phrase means when you leave your ideal operating environment, you can fall prey even to lesser opponents.

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No weapon is perfect, ideal for all situations. Depending on the situation, we have to have the right combination of weapons and tactics. A related expression is “letting tiger go back into the mountain” (放虎归山). It means letting a dangerous opponent retreat to its native element.

21
Jul
09

If you want to catch them, set them free

欲擒故縱:
欲 (yù): desiring, wanting to (verb). The word you used 慾, is a noun. It also means desire, usually carnal desire.
擒 (qín): capture.
故 (gù): deliberately
縱 (zòng): set free

This phrase originated from 需 (xu1) 卦 (gua) in Yi Jing:

逼则反兵;走则减势。紧追勿迫,累其气力,消其斗志,散而后擒,兵不血刃。需,有孚,光。
Translation: If you press the retreating enemy such that there is no escape, they will lash out like a trapped dying animal. But if you let them run, they will exhaust themselves in the process. So when chasing retreating foes, don’t follow too closely, let them exhaust their physical energy and fighting spirit. When they lose their unit cohesion and disperse into individuals, you can capture them without even bloodying your weapons.

Explanation: Xu1 gua is made up of symbols for water and heaven. It implies rain/thunderstorm, therefore danger. Xu1 represent a scenario that, even if overall things are favorable to us, there is still danger involved, and overcoming that danger involves confidence. A lot of times, only when you have confidence can you be patient. If you can have patience, success can be yours.




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