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| 1. Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and You Cannot Lose
2. Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and Win 100 Battles
3. Know Thy Enemy, Know Thyself
4. Attack When The Enemy Has Low Morale
5. Hunt Foxes with Stealth, Hunt Wolves in the Open
| 6. True Victory is Victory Over Oneself
7. Unity / United
9. You May Learn from Victory,...
10. Advance Bravely...
|11. Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis|
12. Drain the pond to get all the fish
13. Sworn Friend / Ally
14. Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial
This is from Sun Tzu's (Sunzi's) Art of War. It means that if you know and understand the enemy, you also know yourself, and thus with this complete understanding, you cannot lose.
This proverb is often somewhat-directly translated as, "Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles without defeat".
It can also be translated as, "If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can come out of hundreds of battles without danger", or "Know your enemy, know yourself, and your victory will not be threatened".
This is the longer/full Japanese version of this proverb. This means, "Know your enemy, know yourself, and you will not fear a hundred battles".
Others will translate this as, "Know thy enemy, know thyself, yields victory in one hundred battles".
This proverb is from Sun Tzu's (Sunzi's) Art of War. It means that if you know and understand the enemy, you also know yourself. There is a secondary four characters that come after this in the Art of War (not included here) which suggest you cannot lose a battle when you follow this philosophy.
In a very literal and somewhat-boring way, this can also be translated as, "Estimate correctly one's strength as well as that of one's opponent".
This is the Japanese version of "know your enemy, know yourself". There is a longer version of this proverb which adds, "...and you can win 100 battles".
This Chinese proverb literally translates as: Avoid [your enemy's] fighting spirit [and] attack [when] his [morale is] declining.
Figuratively, this means: Avoid the enemy when his morale is high. and strike him when his morale is flagging.
This Chinese proverb literally translates as: Hunt foxes stealthily, [and] hunt wolves openly [just as they themselves do].
Figuratively, this means:
Different opponents require different appropriate strategies.
This is a suggestion that you should know your enemy, and know that each enemy is different, that therefore requires a specialized approach (attack).
See Also... Art Of War Military
This proverb is often translated as, "True victory is victory over oneself".
However, literally, Kanji by Kanji, it means, "True victory [is] my/self victory".
My Japanese friends rate this very highly for a wall scroll.
There's not a perfect match to the English word "unity" in Chinese. But this word is pretty close. It speaks to the idea of joining forces, and working as one. It could even mean to rally together to achieve a goal, or defeat a common enemy.
There are several variations of these characters such as 团结, 団結, 團結, 糰結, etc. Modern Japanese will write it 団結. Just the first Kanji varies. Click on the image of that modern Japanese first Kanji to the right if you want this version instead of the traditional one.
If you are a government spy, engaged in business espionage, or in some military intelligence department, this is both the title of what you are doing and what you are collecting about your enemy.
It is suggestive by itself of military intelligence, but applies to corporate intelligence if you are keeping an eye on your competition in business.
This Chinese proverbs literally translates as: [Even a general who has won a] hundred victories [may be] hard put to see through the enemy's [strategy], [but one who has] broken [his] arm three [times] [will] be a good doctor.
Figuratively, this means: One cannot always depend on past successes to guarantee future success, but one can always learn from lessons drawn from failure.
The first chapter of Sun Tzu's Art of War lists five key points to analyzing your situation. It reads like a 5-part military proverb. Sun Tzu says that to sharpen your skills, you must plan. To plan well, you must know your situation. Therefore, you must consider and discuss the following:
1. Philosophy and Politics: Make sure your way or your policy is agreeable among all of your troops (and the citizens of your kingdom as well). For when your soldiers believe in you and your way, they will follow you to their deaths without hesitation, and will not question your orders.
2. Heaven/Sky: Consider climate / weather. This can also mean to consider whether God is smiling on you. In the modern military, this could be waiting for clear skies so that you can have air support for an amphibious landing.
3. Ground/Earth: Consider the terrain in which the battle will take place. This includes analyzing defensible positions, exit routes, and using varying elevation to your advantage. When you plan an ambush, you must know your terrain, and the best location from which to stage that ambush. This knowledge will also help you avoid being ambushed, as you will know where the likely places in which to expect an ambush from your enemy.
4. Leadership: This applies to you as the general, and also to your lieutenants. A leader should be smart and be able to develop good strategies. Leaders should keep their word, and if they break a promise, they should punish themselves as harshly as they would punish subordinates. Leaders should be benevolent to their troops, with almost a fatherly love for them. Leaders must have the ability to make brave and fast decisions. Leaders must have steadfast principles.
5. [Military] Methods: This can also mean laws, rules, principles, model, or system. You must have an efficient organization in place to manage both your troops and supplies. In the modern military, this would be a combination of how your unit is organized, and your SOP (Standard Operating Procedure).
Notes: This is a simplistic translation and explanation. Much more is suggested in the actual text of the Art of War (Bing Fa). It would take a lot of study to master all of these aspects. In fact, these five characters can be compared to the modern military acronyms such as BAMCIS or SMEAC.
CJK notes: I have included the Japanese and Korean pronunciations, but in Chinese, Korean and Japanese, this does not make a typical phrase (with subject, verb and object) it is a list that only someone familiar with Sun Tzu's writings would understand.
In 632 BC, Duke Wen of the Kingdom of Jin was about to lead an army against the forces of the Kingdom of Chu.
The Duke asked one of his advisers, Jiu Fan, how they could possibly win the impending battle, as they were drastically outnumbered.
Jiu Fan said, "All is fair in war", and went on to suggest a plan of dishonorable tactics (cheating).
The Duke was not sure of this advice, so he asked another adviser, Yong Ji, who replied, "If you catch fish by draining the pond, you can certainly get all the fish. But there will be no fish the following year. You can cheat this one time in battle, but such tactics can only be used once, as the enemy will be wise in future encounters".
The Duke heard the words of his wiser adviser, but cheated to gain victory in the battle. However, he rewarded Yong Ji more than Jiu Fan at the victory celebration, stating that while Jiu Fan's advice gained one victory, the wise words of Yong Ji would last forever.
This Chinese idiom/proverb is still used, over 2600 years later to remind people not to burn bridges, cheat, or dishonor oneself in exchange for a short term gain, while sacrificing the future.
This is very similar to the meaning of the English phrase, "Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs".
This means a sworn friend or ally. If you stand on the same side of an issue with someone, and perhaps fight for the same cause together, this is the term you would use to describe such a partner.
There may not be a personal relationship, as this term is also used to describe whole countries that make a coalition, or fight against a common enemy.
This would be most appropriate if you are a high-level military officer, giving this wall scroll to an officer of another country as you join forces together, and go to war.
This Chinese proverb comes from an old story from some time before 476 BC. About a man named Qi Huangyang, who was commissioned by the king to select the best person for a certain job in the Imperial Court.
Qi Huangyang selected his enemy for the job. The king was very confused by the selection, but Qi Huangyang explained that he was asked to find the best person for the job, not necessarily someone that he personally liked or had a friendship with.
Later, Confucius commented on how unselfish and impartial Qi Huangyang was by saying "Da Gong Wu Si" which if you look it up in a Chinese dictionary, is generally translated as "Unselfish" or "Just and Fair".
If you translate each character, you'd have something like,
"Big/Deep Justice Without Self".
Direct translations like this leave out a lot of what the Chinese characters really say. Use your imagination, and suddenly you realize that "without self" means "without thinking about yourself in the decision" - together, these two words mean "unselfish". The first two characters serve to really drive the point home that we are talking about a concept that is similar to "blind justice".
One of my Chinese-English dictionaries translates this simply as "just and fair". So that is the short and simple version.
Note: This can be pronounced in Korean, but it's not a commonly-used term.
The scroll that I am holding in this picture is a "medium size"
4-character wall scroll.
As you can see, it is a great size to hang on your wall.
(We also offer custom wall scrolls in larger sizes)
Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.
There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.
Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.
The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.
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Adapt and Overcome|
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The following table is only helpful for those studying Chinese (or Japanese), and perhaps helps search engines to find this page when someone enters Romanized Chinese or Japanese
|Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and You Cannot Lose||知彼知己百战不殆|
|n/a||zhí bǐ zhí jī bǎi zhàn bú dài|
zhi bi zhi ji bai zhan bu dai
chih pi chih chi pai chan pu tai
|zhi2 bi3 zhi2 ji1 bai3 zhan4 bu2 dai4|
|Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself, and Win 100 Battles||敵を知り己を知れば百戦危うからず|
|teki o shi ri o no o shi re ba hya ku sen aya u ka ra zu||n/a|
|Know Thy Enemy, Know Thyself||知彼知己|
|n/a||zhí bǐ zhí jī|
zhi bi zhi ji
chih pi chih chi
|zhi2 bi3 zhi2 ji1|
|Know Thy Enemy, Know Thyself||敵を知り己を知る|
|te ki o shi ri o no re o shi ru|
|Attack When The Enemy Has Low Morale||避其锐气击其惰归|
|n/a||bì qí ruì qì jī qí duò guī|
bi qi rui qi ji qi duo gui
pi ch`i jui ch`i chi ch`i to kuei
|bi4 qi2 rui4 qi4 ji1 qi2 duo4 gui1|
pi chi jui chi chi chi to kuei
|Hunt Foxes with Stealth, Hunt Wolves in the Open||暗打狐狸明打狼|
|n/a||àn dǎ hú li míng dǎ láng|
an da hu li ming da lang
an ta hu li ming ta lang
|an4 da3 hu2 li ming2 da3 lang2|
|True Victory is Victory Over Oneself||正胜吾胜|
|masa katsu a gatsu|
|Unity / United||团结|
團結 / 糰結
|You May Learn from Victory, You Will Learn from Failure||百胜难虑敌三折乃良医|
|n/a||bǎi shèng nán lǜ dí sān zhé nǎi liáng yī|
bai sheng nan lv di san zhe nai liang yi
pai sheng nan lü ti san che nai liang i
|bai3 sheng4 nan2 lv4 di2 san1 zhe2 nai3 liang2 yi1|
|n/a||yǒng wǎng zhí qián|
yong wang zhi qian
yung wang chih ch`ien
|yong3 wang3 zhi2 qian2|
yung wang chih chien
|Art of War: 5 Points of Analysis||道天地将法|
|dou ten chi shou hou|
do ten chi sho ho
|dào tiān dì jiàng fǎ|
dao tian di jiang fa
tao t`ien ti chiang fa
|dao4 tian1 di4 jiang4 fa3|
tao tien ti chiang fa
|Drain the pond to get all the fish||竭泽而渔|
|n/a||jié zé ér yú|
jie ze er yu
chieh tse erh yü
|jie2 ze2 er2 yu2|
|Sworn Friend / Ally||盟友|
|Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial||大公无私|
|n/a||dà gōng wú sī|
da gong wu si
ta kung wu ssu
|da4 gong1 wu2 si1|
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