Sun Bin was a military strategist who lived during the Warring States Period. He was the hermit Guiguzi’s student. He was said to be a descendant of the renowned Sun Tzu . His brilliance outshined his classmate Pang Juan. Pang became jealous and tricked him, which resulted in his loss of knee caps in the State of Wei. He was considered by many scholars as one of the most outstanding military strategist after Sun Tzu . 316 DC Died 232 DC, Wei State, China Born
Sun Bin was believed to be a direct descendant of the distinguished military theorist Sun Tzu ( Sun Wu ) , who flourished during the mid - fourth century B . C . during China's Warring States era, a period of unprecedented violence . He was named Sun Bin in ancient historic books because he suffered corporal punishment, which is named Bin, a form of punishment in ancient China . ( Depending on the romanization, Sun Bin is also spelled as Sun Pin .)
The Warring States era was a period " … where independent nation states attempted to annihilate each other through incessant and escalating battles, and military tactics increased exponentially in sophistication and brutality ( especially with the development of new war technologies ). During mid - fourth century B . C . in China, it was common to see 80,000 soldiers perishing in a single defeat ." At the same time, these wars of appropriation reduced the number of states to a group of seven powerful states . For that era, warfare was increasingly a way of life as well as a way of death . This quality of influence is found throughout Sun Bin's book .
With assistance, Sun Bin escaped from the grasp of Pang Juan to the State of Qi . Once Sun Bin arrived at the State of Qi, he was immediately nurtured back to health and later, based on his reputation for strategic thinking, appointed to be the principal military advisor to King Wei of the Qi State .
In the Qi State , Sun Bin became a retainer (guest) in the residence of Tian Ji , a military general. Once, King Wei of Qi invited Tian Ji to a racing competition between their horses. Sun Bin suggested a strategy to Tian Ji on how to utilize his horses to his advantage, and Tian won two out of three rounds in the race. The king was impressed with Tian's victory, and Tian admitted that he won with the help of Sun Bin, and he recommended Sun as a talent to the king.
The state of Wei, which was seeking total control of China, sent an army to attack the state of Zhao under the leadership of Pang Juan. The ruler of Zhao immediately asked the ruler of the Qi state for military assistance. Sun Bin was assigned the task of saving the Zhao state. He then devised a scheme of relieving the besieged by besieging the base of the besiegers. After a long battle, the Wei army gave up attacking Zhao as expected and returned to their home state. The army of "Qi" then maneuvered ahead of them and laid an ambush on the way, inflicting a crushing defeat on the army of Wei. This was one of 36 strategies called “B esiege Wei to rescue Zhao . ”
Before the final battle, Sun Bin gave the impression of " frailty and retreat, " inducing his rival Pang Juan to pursue and attack . “ Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances , according to which the enemy will act ." --- Sun Tzu Upon the arrival at a locale called Maling (Horse Trout Way ) , Pang Juan fell into an ambush laid by the army of Qi . The army of Wei was completely annihilated and Pang Juan committed suicide by cutting his throat . The Redemption of Sun Bin
After this incident, it has been said that Sun Bin retired from warfare, devoted himself to the research of military science, and completed his brilliant book Sun Bin: The Art of Warfare (Military Methods). Many scholars consider it to be a brilliant elaboration and a good supplementary text to Sun Tzu: The Art of War .
Sun Bin ’ s Art of War is a military treatise authored by Sun Bin . The book was believed to be lost after the Han Dynasty, and although there were numerous references to it in post - contemporary texts, some historians still believed that the book was never written and could be a forgery . However, in April 1972, archaeologists excavated several fragments of scrolls from a tomb in Linyi, Shandong province . Sun Bin ’ s Art of War was found among the scrolls . Although ancient texts mention that the original Sun Bin ’ s Art of War was 89 chapters long, the rediscovered copy had 16 verifiable chapters only .
Sun Bin’s The Art of Warfare
Sun B in’s The Art of Warfare discusses and expands on how to avoid the full and attack the empty.
He accentuates the importance of understanding the “Tao” of achieving victory and avoiding defeat.
The path to victory is not straightforward. It is holistic, dynamic, and in tune with nature.
This translates into a mastery of discerning the reality on the ground , adapting to changing conditions , perceiving where an opponent is weak or in disarray , and learning how to commit a focused attack on weak points in order to gain a quick advantage.
The strategy when facing a stronger opponent is to “attack where he is not prepared and go by way of places where it would never occur to him you would go.”
#1 Capturing Pang Juan Describes the four strategies employed in the Battle of Guiling : 1. A southward march at the initial stage of the war, to avoid a decisive battle with Pang Juan. 2. Launching a false attack and feigning retreat and defeat in Pingling, which reinforced Pang Juan's determination to attack Handan. 3. Direct advance on Kaifeng ( capital city of the Wei State ) to force Pang Juan to turn back to rescue Wei. 4. Ambush at Guiling to destroy the enemy in one move .
Sun Bin’s Perception T he chapter “ Defeating Pang Juan ” can be described as the “ grand ” overview of Sun Bin ’ s basic theory of strategic warfare. This generalization can be summarized with this perspective “ To be victorious against the major opposition, one must possess the strong character of quietly maintaining the deceptive state of shaping and influencing the opposition by avoiding direct conflicts and confrontations until the primary weak point of their opposition is pinpointed. At that stage, he or she focuses on conquering the opposition via one major battle with great speed and precision amount of force .” It is a standpoint that allows the “ quietly smart and steady of this world ” to succeed against the “ Goliath .”
#2 An Audience with King Wei of Qi Sun Bin discusse d with King Wei of Qi about war and states: “ Only victory in war can bring about authority and prosperity ” . To start a war, one must have “ a storage of materials, a just cause for war ” and must “ be well- p repared before launching an attack ” . Sun also pointed out that “ Warmongers will inevitably lose and those who expect to make a fortune out of war will also suffer defeat and disgrace ” .
#3 The Questions of King Wei Sun Bin advise d King Wei and Tian Ji , engaging them in a comprehensive discussion on his basic thoughts about strategy and tactics. The chapter focuses on resolute attacks on weakly-defended key enemy positions and on the military philosophy of using Tao and flexible principles to attain victory.
#4 T'ien Chi Inquiring About Battlefield Defenses Set in the Battle of Maling , Sun Bin and Tian Ji discuss ed the problems of battlefield positions in field operations. The combination of terrain, weapons and the types of soldiers is emphasized.
#5 On Selecting the Troops Sun Bin c omment ed on the basic principles of building and training an army , and on the factors of field command that will determine victory or defeat. On the topic of building an army , Sun Bin focuses on the employment of the best soldiers in terms of field command.
#6 The Moon and Warfare “ There is nothing between Heaven and Earth more exalted than man . Warfare…man is not the sole factor. You must have the heavenly, earthly, and human advantage; that is, weather conditions, terrain, and harmonious troops.” “ One who goes to war without these factors may yet have some minor victories because he is in concert with the calendar.”
#7 The Eightfold Division of Formations Sun Bin d iscusse d the methods of a commander and the principles of battle formation . It emphasises that a commander must be well versed in both meteorology and geography . He must understand the actual situation of his enemy . In a direct battle, he knows well the basic points of the eight formations . If one is sure of victory, he will fight; if unsure he should not fight . Sun Bin sa id that an army had to take an advantageous geographical position to attack enemy in a less defensible position. When land is flat there should be more armed chariots; when terrain is difficult, more cavalry should be sent : and when is narrow and blocked, there should be more archers sent.
#8 Terrain as a Treasure You need to be aware of the terrain and its affect on your soldiers, as well as the enemy. This will allow you to fight with advantage . From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared , you may sally forth and defeat him . But if the enemy is prepared for your coming, and you fail to defeat him , then, return being impossible, disaster will ensu r e . K nowing these things is a test of a great general.
#9 Preparing the Strategic Advantage Sun Bin advis ed the commander on “ Preparing the Strategic Advantage” before enter the battlefield.
Sun Bin’s Perception Sun Bin's perception of the consummate strategist can be described in this quote : " He who has mastered this art of war knows the way of heaven and earth , has the support of the populace , and is fully aware of the enemy situation . When he needs to determine his battle array, he knows how to set up the formations . He fights when there is assurance of victory . He stops fighting when there isn't . Such a commander is a general worthy of his sovereign . … For one who has really mastered the way of warfare, his enemy can do nothing to escape death ."
#10 The Real Nature of Military " If one desires to know the reality of the military , it is through using the crossbow and bolt as a model ”
#11 Carrying out the Selection of Personnel “ The way ( dao ) to employ the military and win the allegiance of Soldiers”
#12 Sacrifice in Battle “ It ’ s not enough to win by matching the strength of forces . We can make use of our total numerical strength to annihilate the enemy . ”
#13 Raising and Keeping Morale High On the day as you are about to enter battle, make every effort to raise and keep morale high
#14 Coordinating Military Assignments
It is similar to military rules and regulations of the later ages. It may be divided
into three parts:
Regulations for army organization and command , emphasising that all types of organizations, units and systems must complete and appropriately meet the requirements for battle.
2) Regulations for military operations under different enemy situations, different terrain, and different climates . Its focus is to emphasize flexibility in command and in the employment of soldiers , and on the need to make decisions according to the situation .
3) Specific rules on marching, camping, patrolling, guarding, war ย p reparations and logistics.
#15 The Five Kinds of Training Methods Sun Bin replied, “ ... filial deference, fraternity of the younger brother and being good at one's job are the five virtues of the soldier . ”
#16 Strengthening the Military “ Having made clear the incentives of rank and salary , the soldiers will die for you . ”
Lessons Learnt from Sun Bin Sun Bin was an extremely gifted strategist . His work gives the general reader a " thoughtful " insight into the psychological and practical workings of Sun Tzu's teachings . The general reader can appreciate from this work the subtle insights into the nature of human beings in certain crisis situations .
#17 Ten Military Formations “ If a commander does not have the full confidence of his ruler , he should not take command . ”
#18 Ten Questions Sun Bin answered ten questions on warfare.
#19 Overwhelming an Armed Infantry Sun Bin decribed about t he method of overwhelming an armed infantry .
#20 The Position of Invader and Defender “ What determines victory or defeat, is the way ”
#21 The Expert Commander Even where the enemy is formidable and numerous, the expert commander can divide and split up the enemy's grades . A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates.
#22 Five Postures and Five Situations in which an Army Respects “ Treating them with deference and respect . ”
Lessons Learnt from Sun Bin “ For one who has really mastered the way of warfare, his enemy can do nothing to escape death. ” — Sun Bin
#23 Military Mistakes Battles are won by committing no mistakes .
#24 The Rightness ( yi ) of the Commander The soldiers will not die for a commander who they do not hold in awe . Thus , rightness is like the head of an army .
#25 The Excellence ( de ) of the Commander He stresses “ five factors that will lead to constant victory. ”: The commander who has won the sovereig n’ s trust and has an independent command will win. The one who knows the art of war will win . The one who gets uniform support from his soldiers will win. The one whose subordinates work in concert with each other will win . The one who is good at analysing and utilising terrain will win.
#26 Fatal Weakness of the Commander There are also five corollaries that will lead to constant defeat: The one whose command is constrained by the sovereign will be defeated. The one who does not know the art of war will be defeated . The one whose subordinates do not work in harmony will be defeated. The one who does not know to use spies will be defeated . The one who does not have the support of his soldiers will be defeated
#27 Fatal Mistakes of the Commander “ If he loses the passable way , this can lead to defeat … ”
#28 Males and Females Fortifications There is Amass troops in the ravines and increase the height of your fortifications , being silently alert without moving…The advent of extensive fortifications and walled cities during the Warring States .
Lessons Learnt from Sun Bin “ Greater powers and resources do not guarantee tactical superiority. ” — Sun Bin, The Lost Art of War
#29 Five Considerations and Nine Objectives “ If reinforcements come to their aid, we defeat the enemy a second time .”
#30 Concentrated and Sparse Troops “ A concentrated and a sparse force should be met one with the other… ”
#31 Straightforward and Surprise Operations I n war the direct method may be used for commencing battle , but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory .
#32 Ten Advantages of Using Cavalry “ Divide the chariots and cavalry that will be used in combat into 3 detachments: one on either flank and one at the rear. On flat and easy ground , make greater use of the war chariots ; on rugged terrain use more cavalry ; on terrain that is sheer and close in on both sides, use more cross-bowmen .”
#33 Attacking the Heart and Mind Concentrate every effort on first subduing Its heart -and- mind .
#34 Fragments The Sun Bin fragments refer to particular battles and individuals, who participated in them, together with the number of troops involved and the movement made .
Lessons Learnt from Sun Bin “ When conventional tactics are altered unexpectedly according to the situation, they take on the element of surprise and increase in strategic value .” — Sun Bin, The Lost Art of War