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The 36 Secret Strategies of the Martial Arts

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Hiroshi Moriya's book is a collection of ancient Chinese maxims that encapsulate some of the Far East's most cunning tactics for battle and deception — and as such offer invaluable insights into facets of the Oriental mind.

Each of these strategies represents a distilled nugget of Chinese wisdom. Moriya, an acknowledged authority on Chinese culture and philosophy, originally published a book in Japanese in which he analyzed and explained these strategies. He then used examples from ancient and recent history to further elucidate their meaning. Now, translator William Scott Wilson makes "The 36 Secret Strategies" accessible to today's reader with his new English translation of both the Chinese maxim itself and Moriya's interpretive work.

The volume is organized into six parts (Strategies for Victory in Battle, Strategies for Engaging the Enemy, Strategies for Attack, Strategies for Ambiguous Situations, Strategies for Unified Battle, and Strategies for a Lost Battle), with six chapters in each part. Some of the ideas presented will be familiar; others will be new and counterintuitive. Short, pithy titles encapsulate each one: "Borrow a Sword to Make Your Kill", "If You Covet It, Leave It Alone," "Cast a Brick, Pull in Jade," "To Catch a Thief, Catch His King," "Send Them to the Roof, Remove the Ladder," and so on.

While these strategies offer a look into the past, they are even more valuable to today's reader for providing insights into contemporary China. And, like such other classics as "The Book of Five Rings" and "The Art of War," "The 36 Secret Strategies" gives the businessman, the diplomat, the politician, the military strategist, the martial artist, and the sports competitor keys to understanding, interpreting, and countering the actions of even the most daunting opponent.

© Japan Today

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9 Comments
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sounds like an intertesting book. Now he needs to write on on the marital arts...

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Oprah says the follow-up is better: 36 Secret Weight-Loss Strategies of the Martial Arts.

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"36 secret strategies to understand the 36 secret strategies of the martial arts"... as many other things in eastern world, over dimensioned by westerners looking for the source of all philosophies. In a place where the wars were made using wood, canes, paper and knives, these puerile tactics of disguise and hiding on a roof sound a little too useless. The basic tactic in Japan is one: hiding and attacking at somebody's back. Only works once. Read history!

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The 36 Secret Strategies of the Martial Arts: for dummies Secret 1: Watch lots of martial art movies.

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I guess the 36 secret strategies of the Martial Arts are not so secret anymore now that it's mainstreamish.

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Ho hum ... when Japan was 'No. 1' there was a slew of books about Japanese martial arts secrets and how Western businessmen could learn how to do business in Japan by reading them. Now China is the next 'big thing' and once again we get books about martial arts as a way to do business.

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The Shaolin and the Wu Tang could be dangerous!

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"The basic tactic in Japan is one: hiding and attacking at somebody's back. Only works once. Read history"

Undoubtedly a stab at humor, but if not, an amazingly naive comment considering that warfare throuhgout Japan's feudal history is riddled with the teachings of Sonshi; known to the world as Sun Tzu. In fact even the Pearl Harbor attack incorporated a feint in the Aleutians right out of 声東撃西. As to attacking someone's back, that was a big bushido no-no, which remains today as the Japanese word for betrayal; Uragiri 裏切り.

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Western audiences or in general people with high moral standards will not like traditional eastern asian thinking - hence where the image of "sneaky asian" originates from.

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