The Outcome is Apparent

This is
Victory in warfare;
It cannot be
In advance.

Victory belongs to the side
That scores most
In the temple calculations
Before battle.
Defeat belongs to the side
That scores least
In the temple calculations
Before battle.
Most spells victory;
Least spells defeat;
None, surer defeat.
I see it in this way.
And the outcome is apparent.

At first glance at this final section of Chapter 1 – Making of Plans, Master Sun offers us a brief section of seemingly contradictory guidance – victory cannot be divulged in advance. Wha?

Yet he quickly returns to his theme – victory belongs to the combatant most prepared.

The ‘temple calculations’ wording, according to translator Minford, refers to war games, simulations of battles. The side that practices war games most, wins.

So, by keeping Your eyes open for advantageous opportunities to move forward, applying cunning and treachery, and keeping Your Enemy off balance, if you have run through every possible course of action and angle and are prepared with a devious plan for 99 & 44/100% of the infinite scenarios, the outcome is apparent.

In Summary:

In Chapter 1 Master Sun instructs that war should only be waged after careful analysis of the Five Fundamentals, and only then if You have ascertained You are stronger than Your Enemy. After deciding to proceed and before striking, You must outline a loosely held strategy and prepare for infinite situations. Exhaustive analysis and preparation complete, You move forward in Deception, keeping your enemy disturbed and surprised. And by keeping your eyes open for every opening and taking it! – the outcome is apparent. Victory is Yours.

Next time, Chapter Two – Waging of War.

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