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Sun Tzu Biography : Author and Military Strategist
Famous for : Being a Chinese philosopher and military strategist best known for his book called "The Art of War".
Tzu details : Born - 544 BC China / Died 496 BC China

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Sun Tzu Bio

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Sun Tzu originally named Sun Wu and also called Chang Qing, authored The Art of War in the sixth century BC. This military strategy book became one of the most influential books of war and Sun Tzu became well known as not only a military strategist but also a realist in international relations theory.

There are no exact records of Sun Tzu's birth or death. The only known records of his life were from a biography written in the 2nd century BC by a historian named Sima Qian. Sun Tzu is believed to have been born in 544 BC under the name Sun Wu, possibly in the state of Qi in ancient China. His family were members of the shi, an ancient class of landless aristocrats who lost their land during the Spring and Autumn Period of territorial consolidation. During Sun Tzu's time, most shi travelled as academic scholars, but Sun Tzu decided to work as a mercenary.

After working throughout the country, the ruling king, King Helu of Wu, hired Sun Tzu as a general in 512 BC. Sun Tzu consequently authored The Art of War, which, at the time was named Sun Tzu based on the custom to name a work after its author.

Sun Tzu's military strategy soon became legendary and he even proved his knowledge by training battalions of previously untrained female soldiers. Sun Tzu gave control of each battalion to King Helu's concubines. After they disobeyed orders and laughed at him, Sun Tzu executed two of the concubines, per military law, and finished his training with a powerful team with exceptional leadership skills.

At the time of Sun Tzu's generalship, the kingdom of Wu was considered a semi-barbaric state and incapable of military regulation or cultural power. After Sun Tzu took control, however, the military in Wu went on to conquer the state of Chu, the most powerful state in the Spring and Autumn Period in Chinese history.

After the defeat of Chu, Sun Tzu disappeared, wanting a quiet, peaceful life as opposed to one of constant conflict. His teachings, however, went on to influence not only military strategies, but also martial arts in both armed and unarmed combat. In fact, his teaching known as Bing Fa became the basis for most Asian martial arts.

Historians argue that Sun Tzu's work did not advocate war but, instead, told of strategies to employ should conflict arise. In fact, according to historians, Sun Tzu's philosophies were more about how to avoid war while still maintaining control over an enemy in tight situations rather than war itself.

Although there are no confirmations that the two met, Sun Tzu lived during the time of Confucius and may have been influenced by the man's work. It's estimated that Sun Tzu died in 496 BC in the state of Wu.

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Sun Tzu Quotes Sun Tzu Quotes

Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.
Sun Tzu - Speed - War
- Enemy - Prepared - Opportunity - Attack

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
Sun Tzu - Winning - Planning
- Battle - Losing - Enemy - Knowledge - Self Awareness

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