Experts in strategy have a saying: I dare not attack first but instead take the defense. I dare not advance an inch but instead retreat a foot.
This is called advancing without moving forward, grasping without showing one’s arms, confronting without attacking, taking up weapons with no soldiers.
The greatest misfortune comes from underestimating the opponent. Make light of your opponent and you risk losing everything of value.
When evenly matched opponents meet in battle, the one that yields is the one that wins.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 69, translation by Robert Brookes)