Thirty-Six Strategies

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(Redirected from 36 Strategies)

The Thirty-Six Strategies is a Chinese collection of 36 proverbs commented as militaristic tactics.

These 36 Chinese proverbs detailed 36 historical Chinese battle scenarios, predominantly taken from Chinese historical fables of the Warring States Period and the Three Kingdom Period.

Also knowns as "36 Stratagems", or "36 Tactics". They are more oral folk traditions than written document, as there had been many Chinese writers who attempted to compile the "36 Strategies" from multiple variations available in oral Chinese history.

A common Chinese saying is that, "There are only 36 Strategies under the sky", signifying that all modern and historical battle strategies are variations of the original "36".

Indeed, as recent translation of "36 Strategies" became available to Western military scholars, many similarities of classic western battle strategies to the "36 strategies" have been identified.

Recently uncovered in Mainland China, it became more and more popular inside and outside Chinese world. Often linked with Sun Tzu's Art of War, it differs from it by being only a list of "exceptions" that could occur during conflicts.

"36 Strategies" has been attributed to Sun Tzu but this is not correct and quite impossible. Sun Tzu lived during the Spring and Autumn Period of China, while most of the 36 proverbs were from times after the Spring and Autumn Period.

The 36th strategy

Out of all these, the most famous one is the 36th strategy: retreat. This is immortalized in the form of a chinese idiom:

"If All Else Fails Retreat"

External links

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