Red Jade Martial Arts
Traditional Martial Arts for All Ages
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Sifu's Tea Table

Sifu's Tea Table

Entice the Tiger


A piece from my new book I am writing - a new interpetation of the 36 Stratagems for Martial Arts.

Entice the tiger to leave its mountain lair

  • (調虎離山/调虎离山, Diào hǔ lí shān)
  • Never directly attack an opponent whose advantage is derived from its position. Instead lure him away from his position thus separating him from his source of strength.


A simple method with many implications. In war advantage of terrain is often one of the most important things looked at. Now in martial arts training we provide our students with clean, flat, open spaces to train in without obstacles or dangers, putting everyone on a level playing field. But position always plays a part in combat, the proximity to a wall can change the ability to move, light sources can render an enemies vision useless, uneven ground can cause a trip or fall. If you are aware of the terrain and what is advantageous and dangerous you can make good decisions of whether to press forward or lure the enemy to another position. Never attack an enemy who has higher ground, the sun at his back, or is backed by his supporters, in these cases lure them out into the open.

As an example in a sporting context use the terrain to your advantage and do not allow them to use it to theirs. Claim the centre of the ring to allow yourself room to retreat and them little room to do so. Flee in fear if you need them to chase you and leave their position. When they are weak and you have the superior position, attack. Make them run into the referee or officials, circle around them to separate them from their coaches or teachers. Do not allow them to remain in a position of strength, always pull them from it. This stratagem uses feigning weakness to lure them out.