The Martial strategy of Sun Tzu…Waging War Part I….

The Martial strategy of Sun Tzu…Waging War Part I….



In war let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.


Did you see the McGregor/Mayweather fight?  What happened was a perfect example of having a bad strategy (and horrible coaching as well) in a fight.  It is obvious that McGregors plan was to simply knock Mayweather out early in the fight.  Can we really even begin to call that a strategy?  Not only is it putting all your eggs in the proverbial basket but he was relying on a single weapon, his straight left to bring him to victory.  Does anyone with any intelligence enter into a battle with only one weapon and one plan?  Well…. Yes!  In fact I would say that most people do not even have that!


When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped.  If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to strain.

Sun Tzu


The problem was that McGregors only weapon did not work which made his one and only plan a utter failure.  He spent all of his energy in the early rounds trying to knock Mayweather out and by the tenth round he was totally out of gas.  Although I do agree with many that the ref called the fight a bit early, but it was clear that McGregor was not going to be capable of continuing for much longer.  This post is not really about this fight.  I am just using it because it is a readily available example of poor strategy.  My main focus is the Martial artist in a self-defense situation.  McGregor had a huge advantage over you for a number of reasons:

He knew this was a boxing match.

He knew this boxing match was twelve rounds.

He knew he was not a boxer.

He knew Mayweather was an experienced undefeated boxing champion.

Clearly McGregor was not following SunTzu’s suggestions given in this post. If he had I feel that it could have been a totally different outcome. I don’t want to get into all the things he could of done because he was aware of all the things above.  Let’s just say that actually training for a full 12 round fight and developing a strategy based on Mayweathers weaknesses would have been a good start!   The point here is that the things that McGregor needed to do were obvious to any experienced fighter or coach.  He chose a bad strategy and he lost because of it, plain and simple.

Sun Tzu when facing an invading army did not have that luxury.  He may have known little or nothing about the enemy that was attacking him.  This means that he had to have a strategy that was not only well thought out but was adaptable as situations changed and he became more knowledgeable about his enemy.   In self-defense situations you are much more like Sun Tzu then McGregor:


You have no idea who the person is that is attacking you.

You do not know what their intention is.

You do not know what their abilities are.

You do not know what weapons they may have.

You are not necessarily in a known environment, like a ring.

You are often taken by surprise and do not have a lot of time to prepare.

Lastly if you lose the result may be someone you care about or your own death!


Thus it may be known that the leader of armies is the arbiter of the people’s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or peril.

Sun Tzu


You are the “leader” and the “people or nation”  is either you or someone you may be protecting. I have mentioned in past blogs “The way you practice is the way you fight”.  This is why it is important that if you are training in the Martial arts for self-defense to pick a school that teaches in that manner.  If you are training in a school that is sport orientated the skills you will learn just do not cross over.   Of course you may say a punch is a punch and a kick is a kick but in reality there is much more to it than that.  Yes knowing anything is probably better than knowing nothing as long as what you have learned has not given you a false sense of security.   In the next installment we will look at what the differences are between standard, sport martial arts training and training for self-defense.  Your choice could determine if you win or lose, live or die.


Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

Sun Tzu

3 thoughts on “The Martial strategy of Sun Tzu…Waging War Part I….

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