Tactical Flexibility: Fight Like Water

Every military strategist should read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. One of the most brilliant military strategists in history, Sun Tzu recognized a valuable parallel between the nature of water and the nature of a successful army. The following points are excerpt from Ch 6 of The Art of War.

  • Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.
  • Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
  • Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.
  • He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.
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