The Art of War

Posted: 25th September 2011 by Duality in Dynamics

I love military history.  Love it.  At one point growing up I was so into it I could tell you the number of aircraft on each Japanese aircraft carrier that was involved in the Battle of Midway.  Yeah…I’ve always been a geek.  I’ve always been drawn to the fine details of the battle.  Understanding what happened and why.  Usually what you find is the deciding factor of the battle happened long before it took place.  Its understanding where those dominoes fit that separates the good leaders from the great ones.  And its helped me quite a bit in understanding how to Dom properly.

If you asked me to list the most inspirational books I’ve ever read in my life, Sun Tzu’s Art of War would easily be in the top 5.  It was written as a guideline for winning battles, but the great thing about it is its worded in a way that any battle applies.  If you’re a Dom and you haven’t read this book, you absolutely need to fix that.  The basic principles in it that I use the most are understanding that if your opponent has raw emotions to use that against them and the other is if you know yourself, but don’t know you’re opponent or if you know your opponent but don’t know yourself you are only half as likely to win a battle then if you know yourself and your opponent.  The first one is really common sense.  Like using the fact that someone has an anger management issue against them.  The second one sounds easier then it really is.  I mean, how well do you truly know yourself and know your partner?  Think about times that things went wrong in a scene.  Think about the reasons why.  What you’re going to find is there was a misunderstanding about what you wanted or what they wanted or both.  That’s where that second principle comes into play.

So yeah, I highly recommend reading that book.  Besides, Sun Tzu was a straight up Dom.  There’s a famous story about him being hired by a king to lead his armies.  Sun Tzu boasted to the king that he could train any force and make them an effective army.  The king, figuring on calling his bluff, challenged him to turn his rather large number of concubines into a unit that could do some basic drills.  Sun Tzu agreed on some conditions.  And they were the same conditions he would ask for if he led the army.  The biggest being that the army was Sun Tzu’s domain.  The king could not question what actions he did on any level.  Strategy, logistics, discipline…whatever.  The king agreed.  So Sun Tzu gets them all out in the courtyard and teaches them some drill moves.  The concubines, of course, all giggle at the very strange man.  Sun Tzu then asks which three were the king’s favorites.  He points them out.  Sun Tzu has them beheaded in front of the entire group.  The king, of course, protested greatly over this but Sun Tzu reminded him that he agreed to his rules.  After the beheading the concubines suddenly became very attentive and learned the drill to perfection.  Am I saying Doms should cut their subs heads off?  No.  You’re talking about a time period of somewhere between 722 BC and 481 BC as to when he lived.  They aren’t sure the exact date, but sometime in there.  It was a completely different world, culture…everything.  But the discipline he instilled?  Total Dom like.

The question then becomes, how do you take this and apply it to Grace?  Its not easy, but its what Doms do.  I have to understand her wants and needs.  I have to balance them with my wants and needs.  By understanding those as much as possible it allows the relationship as a whole to have the proper balance it has to have.  Honesty is the biggest factor.  She can’t lie to me, but perhaps more importantly I can’t lie to myself.  I have to be true to what I want.  I have to demand the same kind of truthfulness from myself as I demand from Grace.  On top of that, by watching Grace and seeing how she reacts to different stimuli, I can file away what causes a more extreme emotion to surface and use that against her.  In a fight, the person who gets pushed back on their heels is, from that moment on, playing defense.  They are not dictating what is going on, they are reacting to what you are doing.  So long as you keep them on their heels, you control the scene.  Be it Dom/sub or otherwise.  Grace knows which buttons to push on me to get a reaction.  I have to learn to either ignore it or quickly figure out why she’s wanting me on my heels and, most importantly, where she is going with it.  The sooner I can short circuit that, the better.  And the more abruptly I can shut her down, the less likely it will be that she will try to push me in the future.  Unless its what I want her to do, of course.