Military Proverbs

    Keywords: Tactics, Strategy, Proverb

Military proverbs and wisdom by (ancient) warlords, that apply to go.

See also: Art of War, Secret Art of War: 36 Stratagems, On War/ClausewitzOnGo, go proverbs, old mottos.


If you know yourself as well as your enemy,
then you do not need to fear the result of 100 battles.

  -- by Sun Tzu

Who gathers first at the battle arena, expecting the enemy, is relaxed.
Who arrives last and throws himself into a battle too fast, will exhaust.

  -- by Sun Tzu

Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.

  -- by Sun Tzu, Art of War, Chapter 1

The highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans.
The next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces.
The next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field.
And the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.

  -- by Sun Tzu, Art of War, Chapter 3

13. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.

14. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.

15. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

  -- by Sun Tzu, Art of War, Chapter 4

Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it.

  -- by Sun Tzu, Art of War, Chapter 5

Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected.

  -- by Sun Tzu, Art of War, Chapter 6

No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen.

  -- by Sun Tzu, Art of War, Chapter 12

Don't move unless you see an advantage,
Don't use your troops unless there is something to be gained.
Don't fight unless the position is critical.

  -- by Sun Tzu, Art of War, Chapter 12

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Military Proverbs last edited by tapir on June 18, 2012 - 18:27
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