KNOWING YOURSELF IS KNOWING THE ENEMY: THE ART OF WAR
A closer analysis
Reading this, the interpretation is to know what your adversary is capable of and then you to make a plan tailored on this. There is more to it, possibly the translation from classical Chinese to English hides this depth. In actual reality, you need to know yourself first, be aware of your strength and weaknesses.
When you at one with yourself, you will then be able to detect through “sensing” or “feeling” what your adversary is doing and then know.
This may raise eyebrows. Nonetheless, its not magic and can be achieved.
In Tai Chi Chuan there is the concept of ting jin and dong jin.
Ting jin can translate to “listening energy” and dong jin “understanding energy”.
Ting jin has nothing to do with intuition and in simple words or in the simplest of understandings of this concept, it is the ability to able to detect your adversary’s intent and then understand it-dong jin. It is not about thinking what your opponent might do but feeling it as you detect their intent before it can be perceived by the eyes.
Another good example is a top athlete with a wide range of experience, regardless of the sport, usually they will feel and understand what the average athlete will not be able to see and be able to act on this.
When two adversaries make contact usually, those of skill in say Tai Chi Chuan use ting jin and dong jin to neutralise their opponent’s intent. Say it be a punch, a kick or any other attack. They can then redirect this back to their opponent.
This is all achieved by awareness, being aware of the self, allows then one being able to be aware of their external surroundings. Therefore, it is those who know themselves the best in comparison to their adversaries that will be the victor in times of conflict.