Chapters on Situations

This part of the book explores specific situations and the responses that they require in more detail. The concepts in these chapters are also briefly explained on our page on situation response.

Chapter 8, "Adapting to the Situation," focuses on the need to adapt to the conditions that you encounter. This chapter serves as the introduction to the next three long chapters. These chapters give a number of specific responses to specific situations. This chapter presents the idea that every situation is unique but that it combines familiar elements. While we must be creative and flexible, we must also work within the rules of "standard responses" and not react out of ignorance.

Chapter 9, "Armed March," describes the different situations in which you find yourselves as you move into new competitive arenas. It is the first of the three most detailed chapters. It explains both what those situations mean and how you should respond to them. Much of it focuses on evaluating the intentions of others.

Chapter 10, "Field Position," examines the three general areas of resistance (distance, dangers, and barriers) and the a six types of field positions that arise from them. This is again a long, detailed chapter filled with specific responses that must be learned. Each of the six field positions that it discusses offers certain advantages and disadvantages, both in terms of defending and advancing future positions.

Chapter 11, "Nine Terrains," describes nine common situations (or stages) in a competitive campaign and the recognition and response required in each. This is the last and the longest of the detailed chapters. These nine situations can be generally grouped into early, middle, and late-stage conditions, and they range from scattering to deadly. In each of these situations, there is one and only one appropriate response.

Chapter 12, "Attacking With Fire," discusses environmental attacks and responses. As the most deadly form of destruction in Sun Tzu's era, fire attacks are the framework for discussing both using and surviving moves aimed at the destruction of an opponent. The chapter does this systematically, examining the five targets for attack, the five types of environmental attacks, and the appropriate responses to such attacks. However, it ends with a warning about the emotional use of weapons. While competition can go this direction, it shouldn't.