The Art of War #1

Chapter One: Laying Plans

Sun Tsu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.

It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

These are:
(1) The Moral Law;
(2) Heaven;
(3) Earth;
(4) The Commander;
(5) Method and Discipline.

The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.

Earth compromises distances, great and small, open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.

The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness.

By Method and Discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.

The five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.

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Dragon Pole

As far back as 3000 B.C., the staff and the long pole were used in hunting as well as in battle. The staff is a stick between five and six feet in length, both ends of the same diameter. The long pole can be as long as 13 feet, with one end tapered. These weapons were easy to construct and were very popular in ancient days.

With the discovery of bronze and iron, the staff and long pole were modified into weapons such as spears, Kwan Dao (big choppers), and various versions of the long stick with metal casting at the end.

The use of the staff and long pole was also popular among the Shaolin monks during the early Sung Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279). During that time the monks were involved in helping the first emperor, Sung, establish his kingdom. The staff and long pole were used extensively by the monks, who, because of their religion, did not like sharp edged weapons that would inflict undue injury to their enemies. Even after the Sung Dynasty, the Shaolin monks continued to favour the use of the staff and long pole. In the Manchu Dynasty (1644-1911), the monks used these weapons to defend themselves from the Manchu Government’s siege on the Shaolin Temple.

There were many forms of staff and long pole in the Shaolin style, but the most effective was the “Look Dim Boon Grun” ie. Six-and-a-half-Strike Dragon Pole, originated by Grandmaster Gee Sin.

According to Chinese legend, Grandmaster Gee Sin was also one of the five Grandmasters who developed the Wing Chun style. But Yim Wing Chun, who became the only heir to the Wing Chun style, and after whom it was named, did not learn the dragon pole as part of her Wing Chun training. She completed her training with Grandmaster Ng Mui, having learned only the empty-hand techniques and the butterfly swords which she passed on to her husband Leung Bok Cho.

The Dragon Pole descended from Grandmaster Gee Sin through three generations of his disciples to Wong Wah Bo, and was reunited with the Wing Chun style by another twist of fate. Yim Wing Chun’s husband, Leung Bok Cho, in searching for someone to whom he could pass on the Wing Chun system chose on of his nephews. Coincidentally, this also turned out to be Wong Wah Bo, the third generation heir to the dragon pole techniques of Grandmaster Gee Sin.

Wong Wah Bo was a very popular opera star on a floating opera barge called The Red Boat. One day, Leung Bok Cho went to the Red Boat to see the opera. Leung and Wong got together after the show, and came to the agreement that they would have a friendly martial arts contest. If Leung could defeat Wong easily, then Wong would undertake to learn the Wing Chun system.

The two confronted each other on the stage of The Red Boat. Wong was armed with a 12 foot dragon pole and Leung had a pair of butterfly swords each measuring 14 inches. Since Wong considered himself as having the advantage, he asked Leung to attack first. Leung brandished the pair of butterfly swords to begin his attack. Wong was very cautious in defending because the swords were sharp and Leung’s technique was very tight and swift. Though he fought with all his might, Wong found it very difficult to fend off Leung’s attack. He was forced to retreat to the edge of the stage. Now, Wong could not use the most deadly technique of the Six-and-a-Half-Strike Dragon Pole to deal with the situation. When Leung aimed a double slash with both swords at Wong’s head, Wong raised his pole in a technique called Bong Kwan – (Wing block) to neutralize the assault, and followed up with a lower jab to Leung’s leg. This was one of the most efficient dragon pole techniques in the Six-and-a-Half-Strike Dragon Pole because block and counterattack were almost simultaneous. Wong used it quickly and thought this would surely bring a speedy victory. Nevertheless, quite unexpectedly, Wong felt something cold touch his hand. He looked down and found the sharp edge of a butterfly sword resting on his wrist. He had no alternative. He dropped the dragon pole and admitted defeat. Wong fell to his knees and begged to be Leung’s student so that he could learn the Wing Chun system.

From that brief encounter Leung realized that he had chosen well and that Wong had the potential of becoming the best. After Wong mastered Wing Chun, he improved the Six-and-a-Half-Strike Dragon Pole by combining it with Wing Chun and making its techniques much more effective.

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Make Me Smarter #22

Make Me Smarter #22: Grave robbers once stole Charlie Chaplin’s body.

Charlie Chaplin may have become famous for making people laugh, but what happened to his body after the performer’s death is downright creepy. Following Chaplin’s passing on Christmas Day in 1977, his remains were laid to rest in a cemetery in the Swiss village of Corsier-sur-Vevey, which lies in the hills above Lake Geneva. However, just a few months later, on March 2, 1978, two men stole the body and contacted Chaplin’s widow, Oona, to demand $600,000 for the return of the corpse while also threatening her children. A police investigation resulted in the arrest and conviction of the robbers and the recovery of the body, which was later reburied in a concrete grave.

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Watching TV Can Reduce the Risk of Divorce

One of the primary problems that destroys romantic relationships is poor communication – specifically on the subject of the relationship itself. When you and your partner avoid sharing your feelings and concerns about your relationship, it’s nearly impossible to find solutions that will bring you closer together and form a stronger connection where both parties’ needs are being met. And while this type of open, often vulnerable, communication can be difficult, there are ways to make it less intimidating. In fact, there’s one very easy way to lower your risk of divorce, according to an Oct. 2020 meta-analysis published in Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science: watch TV shows and movies featuring couples and talk about them.

For a 2013 study, psychologists looked at 174 couples to see how effective certain activities were at improving their relationships. The researchers divided the couples into four groups, assigning each group to either complete the highly regarded premarital relationship enhancement program (PREP); attend workshops offered by CARE, a program designed to build empathy and compassion; watch movies and discuss the onscreen relationships depicted; or do none of the above.

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Perception is…

Perception is how we see the world around us…and what we make that mean.

Our perceptions can empower us and be a huge source of strength – and equally can seriously hinder us, becoming a massive weakness.

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Make Me Smarter #21

Make Me Smarter #21: In Northwest Territories, Canada, some car license plates are shaped like a polar bear.

Take a trip up to Northwest Territories, Canada, and you’ll notice something about the cars that any nature-lover would appreciate: The territory has license plates that are shaped like polar bears. And while the government considered a new design years ago, the animal-inspired plates can still be spotted on vehicles traveling around the country.

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Make Me Smarter #20

Make Me Smarter #20: The word “friends” is said in every episode of the show Friends.

Thanks to modern streaming services, you can watch an episode (or five) of Friends whenever you’d like. And if you’re observant, you might notice that the word “friends” is said in every single one of the 236 episodes of the show, according to Cosmopolitan.

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Wash the dishes to wash the dishes

Is your daily routine mindful or mindless?

Do you serve a customer to make money? Or do you serve a customer to serve a customer? Do you wash dishes to get them clean? Or do you wash the dishes to wash the dishes?

Here’s a story from Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, about ‘washing the dishes to wash the dishes’ and the difference between mindful and mindless:

“In the United States, I have a close friend named Jim Forest… Last winter, Jim came to visit. I usually wash the dishes after we’ve finished the evening meal, before sitting down and drinking tea with everyone else.

One night, Jim asked if he might do the dishes. I said, “Go ahead, but
if you wash the dishes you must know the way to wash them.” Jim replied, “Come on, you think I don’t know how to wash the dishes?” I answered, “There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes
in order to wash the dishes.”

Jim was delighted and said, “I choose the second way-to wash the dishes to wash the dishes.” From then on, Jim knew how to wash the dishes. I transferred the “responsibility” to him for an entire week.

If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.”

What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes.
In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink.

If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Are you focusing more at being successful, or being mindful? It is a conscious choice that shows up in your daily routine – Being present in every moment shows up in the quality of your products, your service, your communication.

Being aware leads to care. It’s the contrast of being careful and being careless. This care becomes quality, and that’s why greater mindfulness leads to greater success.

Your daily routine isn’t a means to an end. It’s an opportunity to experience the miracle of life every day.

“Be here now.” – Ram Dass

(Written by Roger Hamilton)

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Make Me Smarter #19

Make Me Smarter #19: Violet Jessop survived three of the largest ship disasters in history.

Violet Jessop may be one of the luckiest or unluckiest women in history, depending on how you look at it. The ocean liner stewardess not only survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, but she was also present during the Olympic ship collision in 1911 and on board during the sinking of the Britannic in 1916 (Olympic and Britannic were Titanic’s sister ships). Miraculously, none of the disasters could take Jessop down and she lived to be 83, passing away in 1971.

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Speech and Deception: Pauses

Speech and Deception: Pauses

The most common vocal deception clues are pauses, being too long or too frequent. Suspicion is aroused when a person hesitates when starting to speak (particularly if the start is answering a question). Too many shorter pauses may also cause suspicion. When written, pauses are usually indicated with three full stops that look like this …

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