Grappling with the need for staff training is an age-old problem that continues to plague both ancient generals and modern-day managers alike. As Liu BoWen says in his 100 Unorthodox Tactics, “Whenever the army is to be mobilized, the soldiers must first be instructed in combat.” As the war progresses and businesses change, one’s ‘soldiers’ cannot stay in stasis.

Moulding a group of people to a common understanding, values and predictable behaviour can only be accomplished through education. Confusius’s Analects described this best: “It is not in forming a battle array that is difficult, it is reaching the point that men can be ordered into formation that is hard. It is not attaining the ability to order them into formation that is difficult, it is reaching the point of being able to employ them that is hard. It is not knowing what to do that is difficult, it is putting it into effect that is hard.”

But among the smorgasbord of training programmes available, which one should you prioritize? Of course, the primary answer depends on your own business direction. However, if completely clueless, a Qi Men Dun Jia chart can provide you with a clue or two.

Using a Qimen chart to determine staff training

As always, the Hour Palace represents your staff (ie, a group of people). In this sample chart, the staff palace is located in the West (indicated by the number 1).

To determine training, we look at the palace that produces the staff palace. In the case of this example, that would be the South West palace (indicated by the number 2).

Finally, the Door and Star in the solution palace (2) provide the indication of the topic or field of study. In this example, we see the Hero Star and the Death Door. In the modern age, the Hero Star could represent Social Media Management, indicating that your staff needs to be trained in this field, while the Death Door indicates coaching, training or counselling skills would also be helpful.

If you are ready to take your business to the next level and you are keen to prepare your staff for the exciting journey ahead, drop me a line here.

Permission Statement: The Qi Men Dun Jia Chart referred in this web article is copyrighted material belonging to, and is used with permission from Dato Joey Yap and Joey Yap Research Group Sdn. Bhd. For more information on services and courses offered by Dato Joey Yap and the Joey Yap Research Group Sdn. Bhd., please visit


“When superiors esteem trust and employ the lower ranks with sincerity, they will exhaust their emotions without any doubts and never fail to be victorious in battle.”

Enamoured by the glamour and glitz of the present social media marketing trend, many of us may forget one important factor – trust.

Trust plays a pivotal role in how our society function. When there is trust between the people and their government, the Covid-19 situation is better controlled; teams function better to reach a shared goal; a service provider can better provide value for their clients; and business partners find their actions aligned.

However, since the chapter in Liu BoWen’s 100 Unorthodox Tactics clearly emphasized trust between team members, here is an easy way to determine trust between yourself as a middle manager with your subordinates and your immediate superior using a Qi Men Dun Jia chart.

In all cases where a team’s condition is being examined:

  1. The Day Stem represents the asker
  2. The Hour Stem represents the subordinates
  3. The Month Stem represents the immediate superior
Sample Qimen chart

In this example, the Hour Palace (2) produces the Day Palace (1), indicating that there is already trust between the asker and the subordinates. However, the Day Stem (1) is being countered by the Month Palace (3), suggesting that the asker does not really have the trust of his/her immediate superior.

Therefore, the solution to gaining the trust from the immediate superior lies in the North Palace, coincidentally where the Hour stem resides. The formation within the North Palace suggests a need for better communications to be in place as well as the need to resolve petty internal squabbles. Once resolved, trust can be established through consistency, credibility and sincerity.

Do you think office politics is holding you back? Get in touch to gain some clarity.

Permission Statement: The Qi Men Dun Jia Chart referred in this web article is copyrighted material belonging to, and is used with permission from Dato Joey Yap and Joey Yap Research Group Sdn. Bhd. For more information on services and courses offered by Dato Joey Yap and the Joey Yap Research Group Sdn. Bhd., please visit


“If you attack the enemy just after they have formulated their strategy, it will ruin their plans and force them to submit.”

War is costly business. Imagine getting into an advertising or pricing war against your competitor. How much would that cost? In the chapter for Planning Offensives, Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War that the highest realization of warfare is to attack plans.

So using the same example chart from the first tactic (Estimates), assuming that I am your competitor. How would I try to disrupt your plan?

If I wanted to create a head-on confrontation, I would assume the West Palace (marked by the No. 5). I would hire a high-profile Expert who has a strong and trustworthy reputation in the market, someone who has got the required knowledge. He or she will front my marketing campaign which I will tailor according to what will appeal to the market.

According to this chart, the market is currently in the South West palace (marked by the No. 4). The market currently favours the cultivation of a community (Harmony), and the best way to get their attention is through educational marketing.

By employing this tactic, I will receive the support of the market (SouthWest palace produces West). At the same time, it puts me squarely against what you are doing, creating a differentiation point.

When do I need to take action? The ripple effects of your action was felt in June (No. 3) and will reach the market place by July or August (No. 4). Therefore, the window of opportunity for me to take action is getting smaller. I must act fast, within the month if possible, to intervene before the window closes and receive the benefits from the market’s support.


Welcome to this new series where we will explore Liu BoWen’s 100 Unorthodox Tactics and how those tactics can apply to modern day life.

Tactic No. 1 is Estimates:

“In the Tao of warfare, calculation is foremost. Before engaging in combat, first estimate the relative sagacity and stupidity of the generals, the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, the numerousness and paucity of the troops, the difficult and ease of the terrain, and the fullness or emptiness of the provisions.”

This first tactic mirrors that of the first chapter in Sun Tzu’s Art of War where he said, “Structure warfare according to the following five factors, evaluate it comparatively through estimations and seek out its true nature. The first is termed the Tao; the second, Heaven’ the third, Earth; the fourth, Generals; and the fifth, the laws for military organization and discipline.”

There is no doubt that Sun Tzu was a Qi Men master. Here is how the first sentence in the Art of War corresponds to a Qi Men chart:

If the intent of the hypothetical chart above is to find out the true nature of your market condition, and the question asked prior to plotting the chart is, ‘What is the current condition and possible outcome of our actions?’, this is how it will read:

  1. What is the current condition and possible outcome of our actions? With Asker and Outcome in the same palace, it looks like you have already set your plans in motion. Your intent is protective in nature. The 9 Earth suggests you are in defensive mode, looking to protect your market. Your current condition is good, with the Life Door, business is moving and you are being productive. You are looking to use unconventional methods and you feel the urgency to move fast.
  2. Your actions are driven by possibly knee-jerk reactions from the fear permeating the business world at this moment.
  3. The outcome of your current plans will lead to an aggressive disruption of the status quo which you hope will help you gain a bigger share of the market.
  4. Here’s the thing, though, whatever it is you are doing now, is going against what the Market wants at the moment. This is seen by the East palace countering the South West palace which houses the Scenery Door.

Looks pretty simple, doesn’t it? It’s always easy when you are not reading your own chart.


“If you know both your enemy and yourself, you will be able to win a hundred battles and never see defeat.” Sun Tzu.

The Qi Men Dun Jia system (literally translated as Mysterious Door, Hiding The Jia) was developed as a system of warcraft during the Warring States period, 3000 years ago. It is a system that offers a mapping tool to create a snapshot of the current time and space energy. By decoding the chart, the solutions derived can be used to formulate the best strategic decision for various situations.

There are many ways to use a Qi Men chart. For that reason, trying to create consistent content from this topic has proven to be rather challenging. Unlike Bazi which is a little more systematic, the beauty of Qi Men Dun Jia is its very fluidity.

In the sphere of Chinese Metaphysics, Bazi is often referred to as Heaven Luck, meaning what has been given to you at the time of your birth.

Feng Shui is known as Earth Luck, a tool to map the environment and use the energy to enhance your own.

Qi Men is known as Man Luck as it governs action. No matter how positive the outcome of a forecast could be, the asker will not receive the full benefits without taking the appropriate action.

Within a Qi Men chart, there are always short-term tactics and mid-term strategies. In this new series, I ask you to join me in a discussion of the 100 Tactics authored by Ming-dynasty minister, Liu Bo Wen.


I’ve spent a lot of time writing about Bazi, very little about Qi Men Dun Jia. To tell you the truth, I use Qimen frequently, but I have not started to write a lot about it. That is set to change this month.

But first, what is Qi Men Dun Jia? It’s warcraft. In the olden times, the ancients use it to create war strategies. Today, we use it to guide business or career tactics, to win in the war of life.

As a Bazi Consultant, I tend to use Qimen as a shortcut to gain a quick understanding of my client’s situation. This is especially useful when the person is unclear of what they want or are unable to accurately describe their current situation.

A case study is the best way to illustrate how we use Qi Men Dun Jia. The chart below is a recent consult I did for someone who was weighing the pros and cons of a new career opportunity. I have listed the questions and answers from the chart in numerical order below. Here’s the chart.

Copyrighted material by the Joey Yap Mastery Academy. Sharing only for learning purposes.
  1. Question: What is the outcome if I were to accept this offer? Answer: Hour and Day in the same palace – It seems you have already decided to accept the offer. Hour and Day in the SW palace – It looks like you have decided to join them in either July or August. (Note: Turns out that she really had accepted the offer, but was using the consult as a reference to find out if she had made the ‘right’ decision).
  2. Question: Will I have the support I need? Answer: Chief in the SW palace along with the Asker and Outcome together with the Life Door – yes, this is a good sign that you will have his support and he will help you grow.
  3. Question: Will I be happy? Answer: Looking at the positive formations in the SW palace, I dare say that you will find this new adventure to be rewarding.
  4. Question: How can I maximize this opportunity for myself? Answer: Earth (SW) produces Metal (W). Now that you know you have your boss’s backing, you could consider looking into unexplored markets and new business opportunities for your new company and yourself.
  5. Question: What can I do to quickly get the ball rolling once I join them? Answer: Either focus on cleaning up their financial protocols or maybe some form of legal entanglements (Heavenly Heart) or help them gain a share of voice in the digital landscape via Digital Marketing

The sample chart above is copyrighted material of the Joey Yap Mastery Academy and is not available to the general public. The Hidden Sun is in the process of getting formal permission to share the copyrighted material for learning purposes. A free and simplified version can be found here: