The 36 Strategies

Separate Their Power-Source To Fill Your Advantage-Source


Lure The Tiger Out Of The Mountain

Means that you never must attack an strong enemy directly, but first you have to lure him away from his source of strength and then take advantage of your own source of power and then attack your enemy and that leads to victory.

Never directly attack a well-entrenched opponent. Instead lure him away from his stronghold and separate him from his source of strength.

Use unfavourable natural conditions to trap the enemy in a difficult position. Use deception to lure him out. In an offensive that involves great risk lure the enemy to come out against you.


Three Kingdoms Period China

In the year 199, Sun Ce had consolidated his newly conquered territories in the south and his next goal was the prosperous area of Lujiang to the north.

However, Lujiang had a professional army and was well defended. In addition it also had the advantage of terrain, being accessible only through a couple of easily defended passes. Sun Ce's advisors cautioned against moving directly against such a well-entrenched and powerful state so they devised another scheme.

Sun Ce sent an emissary laden with gifts and a letter to the king of Lujiang, Liu Xun. The letter praised the King's military skills and begged for his assistance. Sun Ce wrote: " For years the state of Shangliao has invaded my territory unhindered and carried away booty, yet we are too weak to launch a retaliatory raid. If Your Majesty would attack Shangliao we would give assistance and you could annex the state for yourself."

Flattered and covetous of increasing his domains, The king of Lujiang disregarded the advice of his counselors and attacked the state of Shangliao.

Several weeks later, while the king of Lujiang was busy laying siege to Shangliao's capital, Sun Ce attacked the almost undefended Lujiang and easily seized the capital. Without the expected support from Sun Ce, The king of Lujiang failed to take the capital of Shangliao and he returned only to find his own capital already in enemy hands. Sun Ce now had the advantage of the Lujiang terrain and the former king could do nothing but flee with his army.


Towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, after Sun Ce had consolidated his rule south of the Yangtze River, he made plans to move northwards.

Lujiang was prosperous and fertile. It was not easy to penetrate and had good defences, victory was not easy for a head-on attack. It's ruler Liu Xun had lofty ambitions but little ability and loved wealth.

Sun Ce and his advisors hatched a clever plot. In the year AD 199, Sun Ce sent men to deliver gifts and a letter to Liu Xun. In the letter, he wrote, "Your lordship has widespread fame and a powerful army. I'd like to befriend you. Compared to you, I am puny. We have been invaded many times by Shangliao but have been unable to retaliate. If you help us, you will be able to take Shangliao."

Liu Xun possessed fertile land and a strong army, and he was also keen to boost his power and control of neighbouring territories. His officials warned him, "Shangliao is well-fortified. Sun Ce's army might invade us while you're away.". But Liu Xun ignored them.

As a result, Sun Ce easily seized control of Lujiang. Liu Xun failed to take Shangliao and lost his base as well. He led his army to join Cao Cao.


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