Sunday, February 1, 2009

Applying SunZi Principles in a Competitive Arena

A drafted post that was lost in the archives.

When a visiting team enters the home territory of their opposition, they must remember the following: "... In dispersive ground the opposition must unify the determination of the army. ... Ground equally accessible to both the enemy and me is communicating. ... Do not attack an enemy who occupies key ground; in communicating ground do not allow your formations to become separated. ... In difficult ground, press on; in encircled ground, devise stratagems; in death (desperate) ground, fight. ... " --- Sun Zi AoW, Chapter 11 Nine Grounds

Dispersive ground
is a competing situation where a competitor attempts to challenge you before your preparation is completed .

Key ground is a competing situation where one secures great advantage by having the expediency of utilizing the resources at hand.

Communicating ground
is a competing situation where you and your competitor(s) are able to advance and retreat easily. The challenge is to secure the space of one's terrain with maximum efficiency, speed and the least amount of resources, without exposing one's weakness.

Difficult ground is a competing situation where you or your competitor encounter major barriers. The challenging part of this situation is deciding whether to advance or retreat.

Serious ground
is a competing situation where you or your competitor have gain significant ground in the terrain of their competing arena. The two challenging points of this situation is: (1) the risk of running out of resources and provisions; and (2) determining how to secure more resources as one progress along .

Encircled ground
is a competitive situation where you or your competitor are almost out of resources. The recommended protocol is to study the strategic positioning of the "encircling" player, pinpoint weaknesses and devise stratagems to avoid the state of desperation.

Death ground is a competitive situation where the encircled competitor is at a desperate situation. In order to gain new momentum and life, he or she focuses on fast wins through direct confrontation. Any delayed strategic action would guarantee the end of their endeavor.


Following are the steps that we recommend to the advantageous competitor:
  • Force the Dispersive circumstance into the heart of the opposition by commanding the Key ground and controlling the Communicating ground;
  • Move intensively fast; and
  • Secure the Serious ground while understanding that the grand settings behind the goal must not be destroyed.
This is the essence of Sunzi strategic concepts.

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NFL says Patriots claim of extra crowd noise unsubstantiated news services

Updated: November 5, 2007, 3:21 PM ET

The NFL says no artificial crowd noise was pumped into the RCA Dome on Sunday during the New England-Indianapolis game, despite claims otherwise by Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft.

"CBS has informed us that the unusual audio moment heard by fans during the Patriots-Colts telecast was the result of tape feedback in the CBS production truck and was isolated to the CBS broadcast," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday. "It was in no way related to any sound within the stadium and could not be heard in the stadium." Yahoo! Sports reported earlier that the NFL was looking into charges Kraft made after Sunday's 24-20 New England win. Kraft told NFL vice president of security Milt Ahlerich -- the same man involved in confiscating the Patriots' videotape made in a Week 2 game against the New York Jets that cost Belichick $500,000, the Patriots $250,000 and a first-round draft pick -- that he felt there was extra noise in the stadium. Aiello said, according to Yahoo!: "We're aware of it and we're looking into it. It may just be the TV feed from CBS, but we're checking it out." Monday, he said that was indeed the case. Kraft is the latest in a line of people who have accused the Colts of enhancing crowd noise in their domed stadium. It has never been proven.


q: How do you stop the opposition from utilizing this advantage?
a: From another Chinese strategy classic, "one uses 'Yin' (soft) methods to counter the opponent's 'Yang' (hard) methods."

q: What soft method could the Patriots have used to shut down the channeled loud noise?
De-accelerate the pace of the game by implementing a "long and tedious no-huddle run first" attack. The slower the game gets, the more bored the crowd becomes. Once one gets two long consecutive scoring drives and if the opposition fails in their scoring. Most likely, the crowd will no longer be involved in the game.

Water (soft methods) can isolate an enemy but cannot destroy his supplies or equipment (team unity or fan support). ... Those who use fire (hard methods) to assist their attacks are intelligent; those who use inundations (a combination of soft and hard methods) are powerful.
- Sun Tzu's The Art of War: Chapter 12 Attack by Fire (Use of Influence)

More examples on the maneuvering of Yin and Yang tactics will be covered in our Strategic Assessment book.

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