AOW Card Deck Lesson 2: Lure The Tiger Out Of The Mountain


The eight of diamonds is the card I pulled from The Art of War Sun Tzu Strategy Deck Titled, “Lure the Tiger out Of the Mountain” Strategy, entice a formidable adversary to seek an engagement on your terms. Basis, engaging an adversary on your terms maximizes the advantages you have.

"Lure the tiger out of the mountain" is a metaphor for getting an adversary to play by your rules in the physical, mental and moral dimensions that conflict unfolds in. According to Sun Tzu, “the supreme art of war is to win without fighting.” If we are able to lure an adversary towards our advantage and avoid violent confrontations with flexibility of thought and maneuver over heightened aggressive initiatives or superhuman strength, would we not be that much more effective and safe? Obviously this is easily written but will take much effort to implement. With first class training we can implement maneuver, surprise and deception tactics in our efforts to shape and reshape the situation to one of our advantage.

“If I had to train my regiment over again, I would stress small group training and the training of the individual…
…With proper training, our Americans are better, as our people can think better as individuals. Encourage your individuals and bring them out.” ~Col. Merritt A Edson after Guadalcanal

How would you define the best form of attack or seizing the initiative? Would it be overcoming your adversary physically (attrition tactics) or bluffing him using some form of deception (maneuver tactics)? Attrition tactics focus on direct contact with an adversary and on defeating his strengths with a no retreat mentality. Maneuver on the other hand focuses the indirect approach and adversary’s weaknesses, on bypassing or demoralizing him. To do so you will need to utilize all your foundational skills. An understanding of traditional attrition based tactics and be open-minded to the some new basics that center on outmaneuvering and manipulating an adversary.

Attrition based tactics focus inwardly on ourselves and what we are to do without too much consideration as to what the adversary is thinking and intent on doing. Attrition tactics are all too often centrally controlled and dependent on policy, procedures and checklists to ensure we have all our ducks in a row while plotting out what actions we are to take. This often times if not balanced by people thinking tactically and applying tactical ideas and slows down our decision making (Boyd cycle) and hands the initiative and control of the tempo over to the adversary. Not always but quite often. The goal is to slow down and create friction in our adversary and “maneuver tactics” or a combination of maneuver and at the deceive point “attrition” helps in doing this. There is a balance to this game!

Maneuver tactics focus outward on the adversary in an effort to gather as much information about the adversary as possible so we may exploit weakness while controlling the tempo so we gain the advantage. Maneuver depends upon gathering real time information unfolding at the scene and utilizes the elements of surprise and deception in an effort to lure an adversary out of his own environment and on to ground a time and place of our choosing. Maneuvering requires decentralized control and bottoms/up thinking and decision making by those closest to the problem. Maneuver elements probe and withdraw, swarm and pull back in an effort to confuse and adversary(s) decision making cycle, enticing him to move to a weak spot or confusing him to the point he loses cohesion so he can no longer fight effectively. We can then exploit his mistakes and gain an advantage by applying the tactics that best match the situation.

According to Sun Tzu, “All warfare is based on deception.” Yet, engagements can occasionally be won without it as circumstances may dictate an attrition based approach. Utilizing maneuver however and attempting to lure an adversary through deception, false faces and the art of delay while masking our intentions helps in fooling our foe into making the first move or to let down his guard which has great benefits to the highly trained and prepared street cop. In dynamic competitive encounters real time information is, key to success. Our words and actions must misdirect and adversary as to our true abilities and intentions if we are to lure him and win on our terms.

“Maneuver means you will not only accept confusion and disorder and operate successfully within it, you will also generate confusion and disorder.” ~William S. Lind, Maneuver Warfare Handbook

Stay Oriented!