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There is a military saying:
rather than go visiting my enemy, I would have him visit me;
before taking an inch of ground, I would retreat a foot.

This is:
maneuver without motion,
rolling up sleeves without baring arms,
capture without force,
battle without an enemy.

There is no disaster like not recognizing the enemy:
fail to respect an opponent, and you will lose your assets.
When arms are taken up, other things being equal,
the side that worries will win.

 


chapter notes:

In the first verse, the first half of the proverb is originally something like, “I dare not be the lord, but rather the host”. My understanding is that this is in the sense it is a lord’s task to visit his vassals; I have translated the underlying implication that battle on your own ground is preferable to that chosen by your enemy.

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