Sun-Tzu & The Story Of The King’s Concubines

Sun-Tzu's immortal military classic "The Art of War" has proven to be much more than a manual of war strategy

Who knew that Master Sun had Game?!?
                                              Who knew that Master Sun had Game?!?

“If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame; but if his orders ARE clear, and the
soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.”
-Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War”, written somewhere between 500 and 430, BC

For centuries, Sun-Tzu’s immortal military classic “The Art of War” has inspired countless generals and warlords on the battlefiend – from Japanese Daimyo Takeda Shingen in the 16th century, to US Army General “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf in the late 20th century, and just about every military man of note in between. It has also greatly influenced pro sports team coaches like the NFL’s New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick, and financial masters of the universe like the fictional Gordon Gekko in the film classic “Wall Street” (oh, and lest you think “that was just a movie”, real life Wall Street masters of the universe take Sun-Tzu’s 2,500 year old treatise on war very, very seriously – consider the following piece written on The Huffington Post website, “Why Business Leaders Are Obsessed With Sun Tzu’s Ancient Military Guide, “The Art of War””, Mar 24, 2014!). Written roughly five to six centuries before Jesus Christ walked the earth and before the great faith of Christianity he founded became the global mover and shaker it is today, Sun-Tzu’s treatise was already required reading among Chinese and other Pacific Rim aspiring military commanders; it is the leading chapter of the “Seven Military Classics” by Emperor Shenzong of Song in the 11th century, AD.

“The Art of War”, therefore, has a long and storied reputation for its permanance and for its broad application to matters of war, busines and commerce, politics and professional sports – but who knew that it could also have great import for amorous operations as well? How so, you may ask? Read on!

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SUN-TZU & THE STORY OF THE KING’S CONCUBINES
In order to answer the above question, we need to look back to an incident that, while not officially included in the text of “The Art of War” itself, definitely makes up a great part of the “Sun-Tzu Mystique” if you will. Legendary ancient Chinese historian Sima Qian gives the following report of what went down when Sun-Tzu was summoned to appear before King Helu of Wu, which today are the regions surrounding the cities Suzhou and Shanghai in eastern China. At the time – we’re talking about 510 BC or so – King Helu was very concerned about a larger kingdom nearby called Chu, and which had designs on conquering and annexing the much smaller Wu. King Helu had heard of a very interesting and innovative military commander who relied more on alternate tactics of intelligence gathering, deception and being faster and more agile than the enemy, than the more conventional military thinking of “might makes right”.

His name, was Sun-Tzu, of Qi State, north of Wu on the Yellow River.

This is how their meeting went down:

“He Lu said to him: “I have carefully perused your 13 chapters. May I submit your theory of managing soldiers to a slight test?”

Sun Tzu replied: “You may.”

He Lu asked: “May the test be applied to women?”

The answer was again in the affirmative, so arrangements were made to bring 180 ladies out of the Palace. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, and placed one of the King’s favorite concubines at the head of each. He then bade them all take spears in their hands, and addressed them thus: “I presume you know the difference between front and back, right hand and left hand?”

The girls replied: Yes.

Sun Tzu went on: “When I say “Eyes front,” you must look straight ahead. When I say “Left turn,” you must face towards your left hand. When I say “Right turn,” you must face towards your right hand. When I say “About turn,” you must face right round towards your back.”

Again the girls assented. The words of command having been thus explained, he set up the halberds and battle-axes in order to begin the drill. Then, to the sound of drums, he gave the order “Right turn.” But the girls only burst out laughing. Sun Tzu said: “If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the general is to blame.”

So he started drilling them again, and this time gave the order “Left turn,” whereupon the girls once more burst into fits of laughter. Sun Tzu: “If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders ARE clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.”

So saying, he ordered the leaders of the two companies to be beheaded. Now the king of Wu was watching the scene from the top of a raised pavilion; and when he saw that his favorite concubines were about to be executed, he was greatly alarmed and hurriedly sent down the following message: “We are now quite satisfied as to our general’s ability to handle troops. If We are bereft of these two concubines, our meat and drink will lose their savor. It is our wish that they shall not be beheaded.”

Sun Tzu replied: “Having once received His Majesty’s commission to be the general of his forces, there are certain commands of His Majesty which, acting in that capacity, I am unable to accept.”

Accordingly, he had the two leaders beheaded, and straightway installed the pair next in order as leaders in their place. When this had been done, the drum was sounded for the drill once more; and the girls went through all the evolutions, turning to the right or to the left, marching ahead or wheeling back, kneeling or standing, with perfect accuracy and precision, not venturing to utter a sound. Then Sun Tzu sent a messenger to the King saying: “Your soldiers, Sire, are now properly drilled and disciplined, and ready for your majesty’s inspection. They can be put to any use that their sovereign may desire; bid them go through fire and water, and they will not disobey.”

But the King replied: “Let our general cease drilling and return to camp. As for us, We have no wish to come down and inspect the troops.”

Thereupon Sun Tzu said: “The King is only fond of words, and cannot translate them into deeds.” After that, He Lu saw that Sun Tzu was one who knew how to handle an army, and finally appointed him general. In the west, he defeated the Ch`u State and forced his way into Ying, the capital; to the north he put fear into the States of Ch`i and Chin, and spread his fame abroad amongst the feudal princes. And Sun Tzu shared in the might of the King.”

This anecdote that makes up Sun-Tzu’s background, informs us about how to deal with women in our time today (and to be frank, I have to marvel how no one else has seen this!). Let’s breakdown exactly what lessons we learn from this powerful vignette in Sun-Tzu’s history, shall we?

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM SUN-TZU & THE STORY OF THE KING’S CONCUBINES
1. The first lesson to be learned here is that of communication – something Black men are NOT exactly world renowned for, especially when it comes to our social, romantic and intimate relations with the lovely ladies. Sun-Tzu makes it clear to King Helu when his commands are not followed and obey by the Sovereign’s concubines, “That if the general’s orders are clear and the troops do no obey, the fault lies with the general”. Sun-Tzu takes full responsibility for this, and is careful, deliberate and patient with the concubine commanders to be sure that they understand his orders to the letter.

This means, gentlemen, THAT YOU TOO MUST BE CLEAR IN YOUR “ORDERS” TO THE LADIES: That they understand, with crystal clear clarity, who you are, why you are there, and what you want from them. Far too many Black men are “opaque” or “vague” in this regard – often by design – which more often than not leads to confusion, disillusionment and disappointment on the part of the ladies. In this dojo, we adhere to the doctrine that the men are the leaders. Therefore, it falls to the men to lead the women effectively. YOU CANNOT BE AN EFFECTIVE LEADER IF YOU SUCK AT COMMUNICATION.

2. The second lesson we learn from Sun-Tzu here, is that if you encounter problems with women, you must first ask yourself if your “orders” have been clear – and if they are not, YOU & YOU ALONE, ARE TO BLAME. You must assume this, and make certain that your “orders” are clear and understood by the lady (or ladies) in question. DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING IN YOUR DEALINGS WITH WOMEN. In this dojo, we do not shirk personal responsibility; we embrace it. THE LORD OF ALL THE WORLDS GAVE YOU A MOUTH FOR A VERY IMPORTANT REASON. Use it!

3. The third lesson Sun-Tzu teaches us, is that when your “orders” to the lovely ladies with whom you have an amorous interest in are in fact clearly understood and they still refuse to cooperate, YOU MUST GET RID OF THEM IMMEDIATELY. Do not hesitate. Do not delay. You must execute, pardon the pun, your actions in this regard with the quickness. A gentleman has no time or inclination, to attempt to get an unruly, insubordinate woman on board with his program. Once said program is presented and clearly laidout and explained, it is her decision to get on board or not – and if she has shown, proven and demonstrated the latter, you must dump her post haste and with the quickness. Doing so will send a powerful message: That you are not a man to be trifled with, and other ladies would do well to hop-to when you say so.

4. And the final lesson we learn from Master Sun, is that YOU MUST BE A MAN OF ACTION. King Helu was a man of words – very eloquent words no doubt, but words nonetheless. Sun-Tzu, on the other hand, was a man of action – and as we have seen in his handling of the king’s concubines, there are times in life where you must be decisive in your dealings with women. Indecisive men subcommunicate to women that they are weak and thus, not to be respected and certainly not to be feared. Men of action – like Sun-Tzu – on the other hand, subcommunicate to women very directly, that they ain’t no joke to play around with, that they are men to be respected – even feared. As Niccolo Machiavelli says in his own immortal classic “The Prince”, that while it is good to be loved and respected, it is better to be feared. Women have a powerful attraction to men they respect and even to some extent, fear. “Love” if you can get it, is a very nice plus – but for men, it can be very tricky thing, due to women’s inherent fluctuating moods and fickle natures. Being a man who says what you mean, means what you say, and won’t hesitate to “go there” when and where the occasion calls for it, keeps the lovely ladies on notice and on their toes – as it should be!

SHAMELESS PLUG AD BREAK: Haven’t you heard? The wait is over, and it’s official – “The Book of Obsidian: A Manual for the 21st Century Black American Gentleman” has finally arrived and is NOW available at BookBaby, Amazon and wherever fine books are sold – get your copy NOW!!! Better yet, get your personally autographed copy – CLICK HERE for more details! OK, let’s get back to the article!

CONCLUSION
Thus, Sun-Tzu teaches us gentlemen how to go about effectively managing the ladies in our lives with precision and economy. His words continue to inform us from the grave, some 2500 years from when he walked the earth. And while there have been many amorous writers and thinkers on the Crimson Arts, I think it fair to say that none have surpassed Master Sun in this regard. He teaches us all some seriously solid Game without even trying!

Apply the lessons of Sun-Tzu to your romantic life, and watch it grow and improve!

Now adjourn your asses…

MOA

Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster, talk radio show host, commentator, newly minted dating coach and author of “The Book of Obsidian: A Manual for the 21st Century Black American Gentleman”. You can catch his daily live shows on YouTube & Mixlr, as well as his dating coach column at the Negromanosphere website. One of the “Three Kings” of the Black Manosphere, Mr. Ali has contributed to the creation and development of Black Male Media. Follow him on Instagram at @ObsidianRadio. He’s also a semi-professional pest.

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