The 36 Stratagems

I renamed them so they’d be easier to remember. Some of them have retained their names because my dad has told me about them for forever (i.e. Borrowed Knife and Retreat), but the others are fairly obscure to me otherwise (i.e. mulberry tree). The follow-up definitions which are in quotations are copied from one or another site; ones which aren’t are more modified by me.

The “originals” can be read here.


  1. Open Feint: “makes use of human failing to become aware of events with normal appearances”.
  2. Counter Strike: do not attack the enemy’s strong points.
  3. Borrowed Knife: use third parties.
  4. Frame Control: take the ability to determine the terms of engagement.
  5. Clean Finale: attack when the enemy has internal problems, ensure complete destruction.
  6. Hidden Feint: the standard bait-switch.


  1. Black Magic: hide that which exists, create that which does not.
  2. Decoy Feint: “deceive the enemy with a lengthy and obvious approach, then take a shortcut”
  3. Late Arrival: when an open fight is occurring, initiate when the other players are exhausted.
  4. Female Charm: “gain the enemy’s trust, then move against in secret”.
  5. Team Sacrifice: “sacrifice short term objectives for long term ones”.
  6. Liquid Form: be flexible enough to notice and take every advantage.


  1. Induce Halation: “do something unaimed but spectacular to provoke an unplanned response”.
  2. Revive Discipline: “take something discarded or forgotten and appropriate it”.
  3. Jail Bait: remove the enemy from their strong points.
  4. Plato’s Cave: channel the enemy’s thoughts and energy to escape, then seal it.
  5. Skittles Man: create completely unbalanced trades favorable to you.
  6. Critical Strike: if the enemy has a strong point with weak links, cut the links.


  1. Engine Removal: energy cannot be directed at you if the vectorizer is missing.
  2. LUCK ATR: “create confusion and utilize it”
  3. Decoy Illusion: can be flamboyant escape or doppleganger trickery
  4. Closed Room: cut off escape/communication/supply to enemy before completion.
  5. Distant Alliance: “your greatest threat is the second in your field, not the strongest from another field”.
  6. Two Betrayals: “borrow an ally’s resources to attack a common enemy, then turn on that ally”.

5 – GAIN

  1. Corrupt Logistics: an enemy cannot fight if they fail to be cohesive.
  2. Slang Slander: “without directly naming names, those accused cannot retaliate”.
  3. Drunken Fists: pretend to be crazy to change the enemy’s mental structure.
  4. Closed Cliff: make the enemy fight both you and the forces/events of nature.
  5. Placebo Pill: “make something useless look useful”, valuable, dangerous, etc.
  6. Trojan Infection: starting from the bottom, usurp control.


  1. Beauty Trap: “ruler becomes negligent, men become rowdy, women become jealous”.
  2. Open Bluff: “pretend to be calm and disrespect the enemy”.
  3. Disrupt Sensors: screw with the enemy’s information inputs.
  4. Disabled Bluff: “enemy believes you are no longer a threat”.
  5. Chain Strategems: series, not parallel.
  6. Retreat: “Surrender is defeat, compromise is half, escape is not”.

3 thoughts on “The 36 Stratagems

  1. Hi, 26/M Singaporean Chinese living in Singapore. Nice blog. Got here from Have a theory to tell you about: You may find it useful. You seem smart enough not to dismiss it immediately like most. You can find me as “jsl2837” on the forums: We could use more Asians there.

    I know this seems random, but from reading your stuff I feel like we have lots in common. In Game terms, I’m a gamma trying to become a sigma. Do you feel the same?

    • I have heard of the theory. I have also heard about the man behind Koanic Soul (or at least how people treat him, but that’s what forums are), and what I’ve seen is enough to put me off going over there. It doesn’t help that a former friend who backstabbed me worshipped him and the idea of “Thal” like some sort of New Age bible thumper. I don’t care for political correctness, but I also don’t care for fringe just because it’s fringe. The idea itself is not new. Reading biological structure for personality has been around since forever, albeit today it’s in more subtle forms like “stereotypes” for various reasons. How true this particular set of categorizations is is not clear to me. It’s clear enough that everyone who likes the theory wants to be and wants the people they know to be “Thal”, which may or may not speak to the way Koanic Soul presents himself, in any case it did not interest me enough to join a forum where my username is apparently required to have my facial structure attached to it.

      Had to look up this gamma and sigma stuff; never heard of it. At least based off of (, no, I can’t say I feel the same. I certainly have gotten girls via the sigma method, but I also have delta, gamma, and omega characteristics. Which ones I have from which category aren’t particularly relevant, important part here is that I don’t readily identify with any one in particular (though I anti-identify with the other ones). I certainly don’t identify with “gamma”, and I certainly don’t have a particular aim to become “a sigma”. Have I gotten close to a T1 girl? Yes. Did I know what I was doing? Absolutely not. The only part that’s really accurate is that “Everyone else is vaguely confused by them”, whereas gammas seem to be generally “creeps”, deltas “white knights”, and omegas “nobodies”. The way I dress and the items I own certainly place me pretty close to being a creep, but everyone I’ve ever known well has said there’s no one who thinks quite like me. Which doesn’t help me at all either with my ego (exceptionalism) or with my attempts to understand the world (understanding is drawing categories and you can’t draw a category for “exceptions”). Maybe I am but I can’t be allowed to believe that. In any case to your complete question the answer is “similar maybe, same no.”

      How is Singapore? And what are your opinions of your “ruling dynasty”? Or can you not speak of these things? I liked some highlights of Lee Kuan Yew that I saw on YouTube and I got “Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going”, but since then I’ve also read up on some of the opposition. He still seems like the most honest and intelligent politician on the planet, at least in the sense that what he does say is useful and can be used to create mental models (as opposed to most politicians whose every word is guaranteed to be PR advertising). LHL doesn’t seem to be anywhere nearly as good; reading the transcript of court case vs CSJ was fairly clear he was a step down.

      • Regarding I can sympathize with your feelings towards the vagaries of these theories. I agree with you that they are, at present, incomplete at best. They do however carry a lot of potential value in categorizing human personality types, if they turn out to be true that is. I am keeping track of developments with a critical eye. Are you willing to go into more detail regarding the site owner? I had him figured as a fundamentally good guy, with lots of spiritual zeal. I’m curious that you feel differently. Perhaps you’ve seen something I haven’t. It’s a shame about your alleged thal friend who backstabbed you. The religious fervor you described coming off of him does sound like an idealistic, socially clueless thal. The backstabbing part, not so much. I’m surprised someone who invested so much emotionally into a theory that paints thals as harmonious, trustworthy people, would betray you. This is so very ironic, and quite sad.

        Still, what little information there is on the net regarding the “melonhead” skull shape is extremely fascinating to me, not least because KS typed me as MT (melon back of head, some thal features in the front). Certainly, there seems to be innumerable millions around us who inherited that particular shape, one that unmistakably protrudes upwards and back; a smaller but still uncanny version of the horrifically oversized originals. I want to know more about this alleged race of former world-builders who, it is said, built the megalithic cities that remain all over the world (

        “Gamma male” in its simplest terms, according to Vox Day, is a male who is quite intelligent but sexually unsuccessful, and feels frustration and resentment as a result. The Gamma is not a social reject, because he could be respected by his male peers, but a sexual reject. This describes me exactly. I am well-liked by my friends and I lift weights to be strong and look strong, but have zero sexual experience because of a sheltered upbringing and introversion, which led to a fear of girls since I was a teen. So: I’m neither a lying asshole, nor do I look like an ugly troll. It is my mental approach and the way I interact with girls that make me sexually repellant. I’m more social now, but I’ve put girls aside to focus on work. Clearly, you are different from me. I’d rate you as a developing Sigma who is steadily coming into his own.

        Exceptionalism: Yeah, I get you. I have only one real-life friend who understands me fully. But on the net, I can read all this stuff by other people, and a lot of it is either reliving my past, or foreshadowing my future. The internet is like a filter for overachievers, whether it’s through sheer grit, or through being weird and special. I think in some ways, you’re just as special as you think you are. In other ways, you have more in common with others than you think you don’t. Finding the Red Pill sphere last year was a significant euphoria of “commonality” though it was not my first. Finding after that, was another one.

        Two years before the Red Pill, my good friend got me into a life coaching program. That was the prior “soul upgrade” I got before the Red Pill. That life coaching program enforced concrete actions like talking to people on the street, finding a job, and so on. It also involved a strange sort of group “processing”, as they called it, that took place in a darkened room. The aftermath of all this was like getting a glimpse of the real and the pure, but it was short-lived. I regressed back to the mean after some months. I retained the knowledge and a little of the glow, but it was not a day-and-night difference. I could have chosen to go further with it, but I didn’t like the lifestyle enforced by that place. It was intended to level you up consistently in all areas of your life, but I wanted to be left alone.

        I’m pretty comfortable answering questions about my country. I’ll be as objective as I can. Though, keep in mind I’m a young dude, so what I say about the job market or politics may be off the mark.

        Singapore: Very safe. Amenities are very good, especially the 100% potable tap water. Negatives: Overcrowded, hot, humid. Job market is suffocating, employers have all the power because there is no welfare system. There’s no way you could up and leave, then go on welfare for a while. Arguably less freedom for young men compared to the West because most live with their parents until their mid-30s, for cultural and financial reasons.

        The ruling party is not perfect, but they hold it together. I am not qualified to criticize until I’ve lived a lot more. Lee Kuan Yew: Yes, the man is very good at telling tough truths. He and the PAP pushed through lots of controversial policies soon after Singapore became independent in 1965: Broke up the leftist (Communist) opposition, started compulsory military service for all males, etc. It takes a more seasoned man to say whether their policies were, on the whole, beneficial or harmful. LHL: I feel he has a good heart, but he has a tough act to follow. I think you are much more well-read in this area. I have read neither LKY’s memoirs, nor the court transcript you mentioned. I have read some excerpts from “Hard Truths”, and I liked the blunt (but reasonable) way he explained his stand on controversial issues like homosexuality.

        You can get a pretty good sense of the situation here by reading The Observer’s blog: I heard him on a podcast he did with Davis Aurini ( Later, I found he was a member on the forums, and I said hello. We don’t talk, I just read his blog, haha. He got typed as “MT” too. Same for Aurini. Going by theories, we would be a bunch of straight-talking, fiery dudes. Can’t say I disagree.

        What little I can say on the PAP’s policies, is that military service shaped me up: Became more social, lost a lot of idiocies and fears, found a “thumos” that I lacked. (A seminal essay on “thumos”: I didn’t like it in there. I was usually either in pain, lonely-sad, or angry at someone or something. After I came out, I felt like they had forced me to grow. No way I could have recreated that rite of passage on my own. So I’m thankful, though I do not enjoy the burden: We must report to camp every year for a week or two of training, and we have to keep in shape to pass the yearly PT test.

        Military service is a very harsh wake-up call for lots of nerds like me who go in every year. Really rips you a new one. For some, it helps them find their sense of manhood, I think. There’s definitely negatives: We’ve had a few fatal accidents in the service over the last few years. Military life is an order of magnitude more humane now than in the 70s and 80s, though.

        The PAP used the military as a tool of social cohesion in addition to national defense. I became buddies with a group of hooligans that I would have avoided if I had a choice. We never became “close” close but we got along well. The government’s reasoning seems to be that all this shared pain helps the average men on the street give a shit about one another during a national crisis. I must grudgingly say it works to a large extent.

        Thanks, felt good to talk about this stuff. I’ve only scratched the surface of this blog, so I’ll read more soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s