Strategist Sun Wu and the Art of War-Sequel І
Sun Wu (also known honorifically as Sun Zi), the famous military theorist of the late Spring and Autumn Period, was born in the State of Qi. He later traveled to the State of Wu and was employed by King Helü. As the state gained ever greater sway and the king's grip on power further strengthened, Helü became plagued by ambitions to expand his influence abroad and seek hegemony. But he was fully aware that he must first conquer the powerful Chu State before his dream could come true.
When Sun Wu arrived in Wu, Helü received him on the recommendation of Prime Minister Wu Zixu. Doubtful about his abilities, the king asked him to conduct military training for the court ladies. Sun grouped the ladies into two teams, each headed by a favorite concubine of Helü. After giving his instructions, he ordered the ladies to start training. However, they refused to follow his orders despite repeated injunctions. He then ordered the two team leaders to be executed and appointed two new ones in their place. In the end, he succeeded in turning the delicate, pampered court ladies into well-disciplined fighters.
Although he had lost two favorite concubines, King Helü became convinced that Sun was a gifted commander. He appointed him as the general of the Wu State, charging him with duties essential to the state and its military.
In the autumn of 511 BC, Wu launched an assault against Chu. This campaign gave practical meaning to the words from The Art of War, "Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected." Sun first deployed a contingent in Yicheng (southeast of today's Boxian County, Anhui Province). When Chu forces marched toward the city to wage major battle, Wu troops crossed the Huaishui River to the Qian (southeast of today's Huoxian County, Anhui Province) - Liu region (today's Liu'an City, Anhui Province). The troops withdrew again before Chu reinforcements arrived in the region.