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Tai Chi Philosophy
the wider culture around tai chi - philosophies, ideas  

The 36 Stratagem

It must have been well over five years ago now that, intrigued by the Chinese calligraphy within it, I borrowed from a public library a small book entitled 'The 36 Stratagem'. I regret to say that I remember not the name of the author, or indeed anything else at all about that publication; other than the fact that pronunciation of the calligraphy and primary definition of each of the 36 (as follows when you click on any of the categories below) comes also from that book.

To produce this 'rework' for viewing on screen I have reformatted here using Adobe Photoshop (a medium that I had no knowledge of at all when I first borrowed the book and copied by hand all that time ago) and thus been able to alter and even at times rotate, squew and distort those 'original copies' done at first really just for my own entertainment!

For whatever reasons (education/entertainment) these stratagem have stayed with me through various stages of personal change and development, and anytime that some dilemma large or small has inclined me to refer to these 'stratagem notes' I have somehow always become just a little more aware of my own attitude or the part that I inevitably play in the whole saga ... or at least 'got an idea'.
Those squiggles got me thinking. I hope that they do the same for you!

 

strategems 1-6: Commanding Superiority
stratagems 7-12: For Confrontation
strategems 13-18: For Attack
strategems 19-24: Confused Situations
stratagems 25-30: Gaining Ground
stratagems 31-36: Desperate Straits

The 36 Stratagem are divided into 6 basic situation category and each are specific to that situation.

It is important that that the perceived need, purpose, aims and application of any stratagem be understood and fully committed to until the desired result is attained. This is the ART of War. You should know for yourself exactly what you are doing and why; and ideally the enemy should be either confused by your actions or not know that it is you that is causing their own confusion or doubt. (The OE definition of "inscrutable" is: 'That cannot be penetrated (fig.), wholly mysterious ... "

In passing on these stratagem I do not encourage you to go to war. On the contrary I urge you to go in an awareness of your personal situation and to strive eternally for peace. Included within the pages that follow are a few quotes from Sun Zi's (transliterated, spelt and pronounced in many different ways) The Art of War. To conclude this introduction I quote the first lines of that same Classic:

"The Art of War is preparing for Peace. The Art of Peace is preparing for War".
Inscrutable!



 


 

It is important that that the perceived need, purpose, aims and application of any stratagem be understood and fully committed to until the desired result is attained. This is the ART of War. You should know for yourself exactly what you are doing and why; and ideally the enemy should be either confused by your actions or not know that it is you that is causing their own confusion or doubt.

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