Three Strategies of Huang Shigong - One of the Seven Military Classic of Ancient China
The Three Strategies of Huang Shigong (黄石公三略) is a text on military strategy, one of the Seven Military Classics of ancient China.
History and authorship
Like the Six Secret Teachings, the Three Strategies is commonly attributed to Jiang Ziya, also known as Taigong. However, four other theories on the origins of the work have been put forth. The first is that the text was actually written and compiled by later followers of Taigong, rather than by the man himself. Another theory is that Huang Shigong himself may have written the text. Conservative classical scholars have declared the book a forgery. The final view is that the text was written around the end of the Former Han Dynasty by a reclusive follower of the Huang-Lao school of thought.
As its title would suggest, the Three Strategies of Huang Shigong is organized into three sections, which can be interpreted as a hierarchy of importance or as simple indicators of position in the work. The work itself states that all three types of strategy are necessary for different styles of government. Much of the work is concerned with administrative control, but some important tactical concepts are also developed. Generals are placed in a high position, and must be unquestioned once they assume command. Attacks should be swift and decisive.
There are three points which should be mastered:
1. Alternate hard and soft approaches. This means a leader must be both benevolent and awe-inspiring according to what is appropriate. This links to the second principle-
2. Act according to the actual circumstances. Avoid responses which are based on imagination, memory of the past, or habits acquired in other circumstances. You must rely only on observation and perception and be willing to modify plans at any time.
3.Employ only the capable. This requires an accurate insight into others.
Each of these principles have deep and various implications.