The strategy of sudden withdrawal

February 12, 2018

When one has every reason to advance and seize ground. But suddenly one stops does a u turn and suddenly shows no further interest in either advancing or seizing more lands…..this can only cause your enemy to speculate no end on the why’s…..given more time this prevailing mood of speculation will be transformed into a thick fog of uncertainty. Uncertainly leads to confusion that can only dissolve the resolve and surefootedness of your enemy …..when the level of confusion is at the highest…turn around rapidly without warning and attack decisively.

You will win!


‘In the art of war never ever be predictable. Always make it difficult for your enemy to fathom your next move. Instead zig-zag and should you decide to go from point A to B. Take the long and windy road even if it takes longer and is riskier. By doing just this. You will not only disrupt the rhythm of your enemy, but you will also force him to devote valuable resources to track you.

Once rythmm is thrown out of sync, it is very difficult for the other side to proceed confidently. Suddenly his movements will be laboured and jerky. Given more time, he will harried endless by anxiety and imaginary fears that will suddenly appear realer than real.

In the vermillion book of the martial discipline of Ho Kuen – in chapter seven. There is the art of the motionless warrior.

This chapter is often misunderstood and elided…as it only has two stanza’s. The first is very unassuming, it describes how one would go about adopting a defensive posture…the second stanza seems out of place. And for over three centuries it was even considered a printing error where many publishers even corrected much to the consternation of many who are familiar with this Chinese martial arts…as the second stanza describes how chilies should be sunned and for how long.

I will leave all that you…the perceptive reader to read into further.

Let me press on.

In this exercise the master will accept a challenge from an eager exponent. However just before the bout begins. The master will take a sip of tea. Then the tension is slowly fanned again like white hot coals and just when it is about to explode…again the master will raise his finger and this time, he will pretend to sneeze and this will happen again and again…till at some point the exponent would be so exhausted by this emotional rollercoaster ride that all he can do is feel very lost and demoralised….and that is the point when the master will unleash his fist of fury.

Research and study this well. As this applies to diplomacy when dealing with adversaries that have a habit of breaking covenants and whipping up trouble. The strategy of the motionless warrior can also be used against argumentative people in office or difficult customers…..keep breaking off the conversation just at the point of highest tension. Then return to it again with enthuism…do the same again and again. Soon their resilience and resolve will begin to dissolve…..that is when you must attack decisively.’

Note of caution: This strategy should only be used sparingly. As over or indiscrimate use will likely wear out the result to the point of uselessness.

Case study and how and when to use this strategy:

Recently woody Goh made public his concern that he was ‘watching’ that nothing seems to be happening with Singapore’s PM succession plan. Mini Lee overacted and issued a barbed repartee to the effect….’it would take longer and woody was talking only as a watcher and not a doer.’

To my understanding this was a squandered opportunity to test out the strengths and weaknesses of future Singapore PM…as what it would have introduced into the testing arena is the element of uncertainty.

Had mini Lee shut his mouth and just responded by ignoring woody…he would have set into motion the strategy of the motionless warrior and this itself would heighten the pressure on the PM candidates…they would feel the stress and they would have to react..from their reaction we would be able to read their character under three criterias, their ability to scale threats and opportunities, craft strategy and quality of execution.’

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