Tactical books and approaches: Understanding the benefits of Sun Tsu

A plan made is a plan failed, but plans still must be made.” (Meus, MMXVI)

Sun Tsu is a compendium of martial advice from the China of antiquity. Though often attributed by modern scholars and indoctrination schools as the work of one man, the Art of War was written by several tactical minds over the course of centuries beginning almost 2000 years ago. Initially translated into French in 1782 it was first translated into English in 1905 and over the past decades has seen several variations translated with the best current version being that produced by Dr. Lionel Giles in 1910.

This translation included the references and additions by the various other generals and martial minds involved in this extremely important manual of tactics. The Art of War, the Book of Tao, the original Rogers Rules of Ranging mixed with the various martial teachings of several important Native American leaders have been my guide in tactics and life since I was a boy. Even though as a boy I was forbidden the reading of any of these texts except for the histories of my forefathers (Native American and other) and the bible.

“They commonly form their front rank of what they call their best men, or True Highlanders, the number of which being always but few, when they form in Battalions they commonly form four deep, & these Highlanders form the front of the four, the rest being lowlanders and arrant scum.” General Hawley of the British regulars during the Jacobite Rebellion when speaking about the Highlanders.

Given that I am not a religious man my approach to life has been, over the past couple of decades, guided by tactics and planning. When I first read the story of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce I fell in love with the romanticism that was a young boys view of what was. However, I learned something early on, that the United States and British government lies, steals and cheats to get what it wants, and what it wants is what those in power now get. This I learned from the stories of my heroes, the true pioneers of this land and theirs, my ancestors, Scot/Norse and Indian.

From where this sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.” In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat

The benefits of reading, absorbing and understanding the tenants of Sun Tsu allow someone with a strong individual mind to make plans and quickly adapt them when it becomes necessary to do so. It is this that ensures the overall win that is a life lived well without regrets and without bowing to any man or woman who doesnt earn it personally. You see, above everything the one thing I have learned from my ancestors and my understanding of them is that no man or woman should be owned by, led by or attacked by another without just cause. Sun Tsu and the Art of War helps understand what true individual thinkers already know, paraphrased, “The art of war is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or ruin.”

It is my opinion based on having read and absorbed literally dozens of manuals of war and hundreds of accounts of tactics from others that The Art of War as transposed by Lionel Giles should be chief among the manuals of tactics that you read or use. I have found little in life that the use of this wonderful manual of tactics cannot be adapted too. Merged with the wisdom of the ancestors and one can easily outmaneuver the largest foes and win the most offset battles.

equipped, each with a rifle, 300 rounds of otm, and a hatchet” Rogers Rules of Ranging revised.


Free the mind and the body will follow

“I aim to misbehave”


About Jesse Mathewson

Jesse Mathewson is the author of the popular blog, jessetalksback.com and provides commentary to many varied places based on a background that includes education in criminal justice, history, religion and even insurgency tactics and tactical training. His current role in his community is as an organizer of sorts and a preacher of community solidarity and agorism. He also runs Liberty Practical Training, a self defense school specializing in the practical applications of defensive approaches versus the theoretical. As an agorist, voluntaryist and atheist his life is seen as crazy and wild by many, though once they get to know him most realize he is a bluntly honest individual who will give you the shirt off his back if he believes it is necessary to help you. Very simple, "That which is voluntary between all individuals involved is always right, if it is not voluntary, it is always wrong."
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2 Responses to Tactical books and approaches: Understanding the benefits of Sun Tsu

  1. "Doc" says:

    Great tactical book for life as well!


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