釜底抽薪

 
fǔ dǐ chōu xīn (fu di chou xin)
steal the firewood under the pot (solve a problem thoroughly; weaken an opponent by undermining his source of power)

When faced with an enemy too powerful to engage directly you must first weaken him by undermining his foundation and attacking his source of power.

Legendary Era Japan

Japan's ancient hero Yamato Takeru was one of the eighty children of emperor Keiko. One day he was sent to kill a notorious outlaw who was such an expert swordsman that all who had gotten in his way were killed. Yamato Takeru did not intend to duel with the bandit and pretended to be ignorant of the man's reputation in order to befriend him. They became such good friends that they even went swimming together on a regular basis. When Yamato Takeru was assured the bandit harbored no suspicions he was ready to act. One day when they went swimming he brought with him a wooden sword that he hid in his travel kit. They were in the habit of racing each other around a small island but this time while they were racing Takeru let the bandit take the lead and, once he was out of sight behind the island, Takeru swam back to shore and quickly replaced the bandit's sword with the wooden one. After they had gotten dressed Takeru turned to the bandit and revealed his true purpose. The bandit immediately went for his sword, but the wooden sword had become wedged in the scabbard. While he was struggling to draw the wooden sword, Takeru took the bandit's head off in a single stroke.

Han Dynasty

During the reign of Han emperor Jing Di in the year 154 BC, the prince of Wu, Liu Bi, and the prince of Chu, Liu Wu, joined forces with seven other states to stage a rebellion. They first attacked the state of Liang.

Han Marshal Zhou Yafu felt that the Wu and Chu forces were formidable and could not be easily beaten in a clash. But if their supplies were cut off, they could be defeated and the siege of Liang would be lifted.

Zhou Yafu made a detour around the enemy and managed to arrive at Yingyang before the enemy supplies did.

Zhou Yafu himself withdrew to set up camp at Maoyi to sieze the enemy's provisioons and to seal off their supply route. He ordered his men to fix crossbows around Daying and to hold their ground when the enemy attacked.

Just as the princes of Wu and Chu were fiercely attacking Liang's capital, they recieved bad news, "Zhou Yafu had sealed off their food supply route and siezed their provisions." The rebels panicked and had to give up attacking Liang. They attacked Maoyi but failed to take it and their supplies ran out. Morale was low.

The troops were unwilling to fight and within three months, the rebellion collapsed.

Meaning: 釜:古代的一种锅;薪:柴。把柴火从锅底抽掉。比喻从根本上解决问题。

Context: 汉·董卓《上何进书》:“臣闻扬汤止沸,莫若去薪。”

Example: 如今有个道理,是“~”之法,只消央人去把告状的安抚住了,众人递个拦词便歇了。 ◎清·吴敬梓《儒林外史》第五回

Synonyms: 抽薪止沸

Antonyms: 火上浇油、沸汤沸止

Grammar: 偏正式;作谓语、定语、状语;比喻做事非常彻底

不敌其力①,而消其势②,兑下乾上之象③。

【注释】

①不敌其力:敌,动词,攻打。力,最坚强的部位。

②而消其势:势,气势—。

③兑下乾上之象:《易经》六十四卦中,《履》卦为 “兑下乾上”,上卦为乾为天.下卦为兑为泽。又,兑为 阴卦,为柔;乾为阳卦,为刚。兑在下,从循环关系和规律上说,下必冲上,于是出现“柔克刚”之象。此计正是 运用此象推理衍之,喻我取此计可胜强敌。

【按语】

水沸者,力也,火之力也,阳中之阳也,锐不可当;薪者,火之魄也,即力之势也,阴中之阴也,近而无害;故力不可当而势犹可消。尉缭子曰:“气实则斗,气夺则走。”面夺气之法,则在攻心,昔吴汉为大司马,有寇夜攻汉营,军中惊扰,汉坚卧不动,军中闻汉不动,有倾乃定。乃选精兵反击,大破之:此即不直当其力而扑消其势也。宋薛长儒为汉、湖、滑三州通判,驻汉州。州兵数百叛,开营门,谋杀知州、兵马监押,烧营以为乱。有来告者,知州、监押皆不敢出。长儒挺身徒步,自坏垣入其营中,以福祸语乱卒日:“汝辈皆有父母妻子,何故作此?叛者立于左,胁从者立于右!”于是,不与谋者数百人立于右;独主谋者十三人突门而出,散于诸村野,寻捕获。时谓非长儒,则一城涂炭矣!此即攻心夺气之用也。或日:敌与敌对,捣强敌之虚以败其将成之功也。

【解析】

锅里的水沸腾,是靠火的力量。沸腾的水和猛烈的火势是势不可挡的,而产生火的原料薪柴却是可以接近的。强大的敌人虽然—时阻挡不住,何不避其锋芒,以削弱它的气势?尉缭子说:士气旺盛,就投入战斗;士气不旺,就应该避开敌人。削弱敌人气势的最好方法是采取攻心战。所谓“攻心”,就是运用强大的政治攻势。吴汉在大敌当前时,沉着冷静,稳定了将士,乘夜反击,获得了胜利。这就是不直接阻挡敌人、用计谋扑灭敌人气势而取胜的例了。宋朝的薛长儒在叛军气势最盛之时,挺身而出,只身进入叛军之中,采用攻心战术。他用祸福的道理开导版军,要他们想想自己的前途和父母妻子的命运。叛军中大部分人是胁从者,所以自然被他这番话说动了。薛长儒趁势说道:“现在,凡主动叛乱者站在左边,凡是不明真相的胁从者站在右边。”结果,参加叛乱的数百名士兵,都往右边站,只有为首的十三个人慌忙夺门而出,分散躲在乡间,不久都被捉拿归案。这就是用攻心的方法削弱敌人气势的一个好例子。还有人说,敌人再强大,也会有弱点,我方突然击败敌人的薄弱之处.再击败敌人主力,这也是釜底抽薪法的具体运用。战争中也常使用袭击敌人后方基地、仓库,断其运输线等战术,也可以收到釜底抽薪的效果。

【探源】

釜底抽薪,语出北齐魏收《为侯景叛移梁朝文》:“抽薪止沸,剪草除根。”古人还说:“故以汤止沸,沸乃不止,诚知其本,则去火而已矣。”这个比喻很浅显,道理却说得十分清楚。水烧开了,再兑开水进去是不能让水温降下来的,根本的办法是把火退掉,水温自然就降下来了。此计用于军事,是指对强故不可用正面作战取胜,而应该避其锋芒,削减敌人的气势,再乘机取胜的谋略。釜底抽薪的关键是关于抓住主要矛盾,很多时做,一些影响战争全局约关键点,恰恰是敌人的弱点。指挥员要准确判断,抓住时机,攻敌之弱点。比如粮草辎重,如能乘机夺得,敌军就会不战自乱。三国时的官渡之战即是一个有名战例。

东汉末年,军阀混战,河北袁绍乘势崛起。公元199年,袁绍率领十万大军攻打许昌。当时,曹操据守官渡(今河南中牟北),兵力只有二万多人。两军离河对峙。袁绍仗着人马众多,派兵攻打白马。曹操表面上放弃白马,命令主力开向延津渡口,摆开渡河架势。袁绍怕后方受敌,迅速率主力西进,阻挡曹军渡河。谁知曹操虚晃一枪之后,突派精锐回袭白马,斩杀颜良,初战告捷。

由于两军相持了很长时间,双方粮草供给成了关键。袁绍从河北调集了一万多车粮草,屯集在大本营以北四十里的乌巢。曹操探听乌巢井无重兵防守,决定偷袭乌巢,断其供应。他亲自率五千精兵打着袁绍的旗号,衔枚急走,夜袭乌巢,乌巢袁军还没有弄清真相,曹军已经包围了粮仓。一把大火点燃,顿时浓烟四起。曹军乘势消灭了守粮袁军,袁军的一万车粮草,顿时化为灰烬,袁绍大军闻讯,惊恐万状,供应断绝,军心浮动,袁绍一时没了主意。曹操此时,发动全线进攻,袁军士兵已丧失战斗力,十万大军四散溃逃。袁军大败,袁绍带领八百亲兵,艰难地杀出重围,回到河北,从此一蹶不振。

【故事】

公元前154年,吴王刘濞野心勃勃,他串通楚汉等七个诸侯国,联合发兵叛乱。他们首先攻打忠于汉朝的梁国。汉景帝派周亚夫率三十万大军平叛。这时,梁国派人向朝廷求援,说刘濞大军攻打梁国,我们已损失数万人马,已经抵档不住了,请朝廷急速发兵救援。汉景帝命令周亚夫发兵去梁国解危。周亚夫说,刘濞率领的吴楚大军,素来强悍,如今士气正旺。我与他们正面交锋,一下恐怕难以取胜。汉景帝问周亚夫准备用什么计谋击退敌军。周亚夫说,他们出兵征讨,粮草供应特别困难,我们如能断其粮道,敌军定会不战自退。

荥阳是扼守东西二路的要冲,必须抢先控制。周亚夫派重兵控制荥阳后,分两路袭击敌军后方:派一只部队袭击吴、楚供应线,断其粮道;自己亲自率领大军袭击敌军后方重镇冒邑。

周亚夫占据冒邑,下令加固营寨,准备坚守。刘濞闻报大惊,想不到周亚夫根本不与自己正面交锋,却迅速抄了自己的后路。他立即下令部队迅速往冒邑前进,攻下冒邑,打通粮道。刘濞数十万大军气势汹汹,扑向冒邑。周亚夫避其锋芒,坚守城池,拒不出战。敌军数次攻城,都被城上的乱箭射回。刘濞无计可施,数十万大军驻扎城外,粮草已经断绝。双方对峙了几天,周亚夫见敌军已数天饥饿,士气衰弱,已经毫无战斗力了。他见时机已到,调集部队,突然发起猛攻。精疲力竭、软弱无力的叛军不战自乱。叛军大败,刘濞落荒而逃,在东越被杀。

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