Rhythm in strategy

There is rhythm in everything, however, the rhythm in strategy, in particular, cannot be mastered without a great deal of hard practice.

Among the rhythms readily noticeable in our lives are the exquisite rhythms in dancing and accomplished pipe or string playing. Timing and rhythm are also involved in the military arts, shooting bows and guns, and riding horses. In all skills and abilities there is timing.

There is also rhythm in the Void.

There is a rhythm in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is a rhythm in the Way of the merchant, of becoming rich and of losing one's fortune, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling rhythm. You must be able to discern this. In strategy there are various considerations. From the outset you must attune to your opponent, then you must learn to disconcert him. It is crucial to know the applicable rhythm and the inapplicable rhythm, and from among the large and small rhythms and the fast and slow rhythms find the relevant rhythm. You must see the rhythm of distance, and the rhythm of reversal. This is the main thing in strategy. It is especially important to understand the rhythms of reversal; otherwise your strategy will be unreliable.

In combat, you must learn the rhythm of each opponent, and use the rhythms that your opponents don't expect. You win by creating formless rhythms out of the rhythm of the Void.

All the five books are chiefly concerned with rhythm. You must train sufficiently to appreciate this.

If you practice diligently day and night in the strategy outlined above, your spirit will naturally broaden. Thus you will come to comprehend large scale strategy and the strategy of one on one combat. This is recorded for the first time in these five volumes of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void.

Those who sincerely desire to learn my way of strategy will follow these rules for learning the art:

Do not harbor sinister designs. Think honestly and truthfully.
The Way is in training. One must continue to train.
Cultivate a wide range of interests in the ten skills and ten arts. Then one can definitely find the benefits of hyoho and develop oneself.
Be knowledgeable in a variety of occupations, and learn the thinking of people who work in them.
Know the difference between loss and gain in worldly matters.
Nurture the ability to perceive the truth in all matters. It is important to build up an intuitive judgment and understand true values.
Be aware of those things which cannot be easily seen with the eye. Develop intuitive judgment and a mind that freely controls one's body.
Do not be negligent, but pay attention even to the smallest details. Keep them in mind all the time, so as to avoid unexpected failure.
Do not engage in useless activity. Do not argue about useless things. Concentrate on your duties.
It is important to start by setting these broad principles in your heart, and train in the Way of strategy. If you do not look at things in a larger context it will be difficult for you to master strategy. If you learn and attain these principles, you will never lose even in individual combat against twenty or thirty enemies. First of all, you must set your heart on strategy and work earnestly while sticking to the Way. With time you will be able to beat men with your hands, and to defeat people by using your eyes. When through training you become able to freely control your own body, you can conquer men with your body. And because strategy develops the mind, with sufficient training you will be able to beat people with your spirit. When you have reached this point, will it not mean that you are invincible?

Moreover, in large scale strategy the superior man will attract and keep able subordinates, bear himself correctly, govern the country and care for the people, thus preserving the ruler's discipline.

The Way of strategy is to be self-reliant, not losing at anything, to guide others, to gain benefits and honor, and to make peace with others.