Archive for June, 2010

How Wall Street Uses Sun Tzu’s Concept of “Making Your Enemy Surrender Without Fighting”

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010


Sun Tzu says, “Make your enemy surrender without physical fighting.”  It is the ultimate goal of all warfare.  What it means and how it works is that the first objective is to create psychological intimidation.  Tactics that shake the enemy’s confidence, create fear uncertainty, and doubt are always the first steps. 

The next tactic is to present the intimidated enemy an “offer they can’t refuse.”  Human greed takes over, and the net result is that the enemy surrenders without a fight. In warfare, the weaker country has, in effect, been acquired by the stronger country. The weaker one ends up merged with the victor, and eventually loses its own identity.

It could be said that Wall Street itself can draw you in with its dreams of wealth, acquire your finances, and then sooner or later, spit you right out.  Your money has merged with theirs.

(Excerpted from  Part One of the book, The Art of War Applied to Wall Street).

What are the author’s sources?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

One of the readers has asked an excellent question:  “What are your sources of information for this material?”

The sources for the insight into

The Art of War

material are within the author himself .  They are the result of the author’s exposure to all forms of Chinese culture, including

    The Art of War

through many generations of family in China. Personal reading and rereading, with an eye for the less-obvious meaning, is the typical approach of a scholar.

In addition, the author’s lifelong practice and teaching of martial arts has been a great source of understanding all the subtlties of the principles on the personal, physical level.  His appreciation of strategy stems from having been a Chinese Chess player since the age of six.

The portion of the upcoming book that is a translation of the original

    Art of War

(not a reworking of the Giles work) is going to yield interesting insights. The original Chinese text is included for verification.

The other portion of the book, The Art of War principles applied to investing in the Stock Market, is the result of the author’s long experience in testing Sun Tzu’s philosophy in a tough arena!

Thank you for your encouragement and incentive to bring this information to the public…..Y.K. Wong, author

Y.k. Wong

Next blog: A preview of how Art of War principles relate to Wall Street!

Sun Tzu’s “Weakness” and “Strength”

Friday, June 18th, 2010

The words ”weakness” and “strength” are typically used in English translations of The Art of War.  However, these words are inadequate terms for the full meaning that Sun Tzu intended.

The Chinese words are hoi [empty/lacking a molecular structure] and sut [solid/ having a material molecular structure].  For example, air could be perceived as “soft,” or as not having a material structure.

Air is not seen, yet anyone who has experienced a hurricane or tornado knows that it certainly has power as well as extraordinary flexibility!  The most gentle breeze on an early summer morning has the potential to transform into the mid-day tornado.

On the other hand, consider the diamond, which is one of the hardest substances.  A “flexible diamond” would best describe Sun Tzu’s ideal of ”strength.”

So–strong as a diamond, and as flexible as water–is the model of Sun Tzu’s concept of “strength”.

Hoi/sut has even more extensions in meaning.  The combined polarity of the two words also denotes a capability of “moving from zero to 100″ instantaneously.  And it also means the converse: having the capability of shifting “from 100 to zero” instantaneously.

Therefore, when passages in The Art of War discuss shifts from “strength” to “weakness”, or vice-versa, this instantaneous shift is what Sun Tzu had in mind.

For example, a military force may display what appears as “weakness” to the adversary, who moves in to engage, only to discover that the apparent “weakness” has shifted into a full force that wipes them out.

In other words, “Nothing is what it seems.”  Pure Daoist philosophy.

(Excerpted from Part Two: New Translation of  “The Art of War,” from the book The Art of War Applied to Wall Street).

Historic Background of the “Five Elements”

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Originally, the references to “Five Elements” emerged 2,000 BC, before the  Xia Dynasty.  Before Xia established himself as king, he was chief of engineering for flood control.  The continent was experiencing flooding similar to that which Noah dealt with when he built the famous Ark.

The “Five Elements” originally referred to different landforms that required special means of controlling the floodwaters.  Some situations required the use of fire to build water-diverting structures, others required metal such as iron (”gold”), others used earthen dams, and others required wooden frameworks of some kind.  And of course, the water itself is the fifth element.

Eventually the term “Five Elements” was adopted as a framework to describe the principles of various disciplines such as medicine, martial arts, and philosophy.

Based on the application, more of one of the elements may be brought in to balance a situation, and a transformation from one element to another seems to occur.

Sun Tzu made use of the concept of “Five Elements” to refer to the transformations that military forces can utilize to take the best advantage of a given situation.  It was a concept that Sun Tzu’s contemporaries easily understood to describe spontaneous shifting of maneuvers on the battlefield.

Currently in the field of martial arts it has become popular to discuss “Five Elements” in regard to Chi Kung, in which it is perceived as some esoteric knowledge about utilization of chi energy. Unfortunately there is a lot of misconception and misunderstanding of this even in China today.