January 2012

The Methods of Ssu-ma

A Review



 Several weeks ago, Ralph D. Sawyer's and Mei-chün Sawyer's The Seven Military Classics of Ancient China and the text of T'ai Kung's Six Secret Teachings was the selection chosen. This week The Methods of the Ssu-ma is the shorter and strategic text of choice. In the case of strategy, and especially in the case of Chinese strategy, there are times when shorter is better. Shorter texts tend to employ fewer examples and scenarios taking less time to read; however, without these additional helps the text can quickly become enigmatic.