I ain't gonna take it no more
March 26, 2011 8:59 AM   Subscribe

Quotations that express the sentiment of growing stronger before pouncing or revealing oneself to an enemy

I'm looking for quotes that epitomize the idea of someone intentionally staying hidden/not revealing their true self while they gain inner strength/power to come out and take someone down. Something like, in a movie, wherein scenes flash by during a music monologue showing the disrespected battered hero training day after day to defeat his/her nemesis and emerging faster, stronger and more powerful than could have been predicted. So, not really quotes expressing the "caterpillar into a butterfly" sentiment unless that caterpillar had been kicked around by life and wasn't expected to turn into much but later, after much plotting, came out a kick-ass butterfly ready to take down the meadow. Quotes from any source appreciated.
posted by notcomputersavvy06 to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Some lines from Sun Tzu may be relevant:

"Carefully study the well-being of your men, and do not overtax them. Concentrate your energy and hoard your strength. Keep your army continually on the move, and devise unfathomable plans."

"The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim."

"By discovering the enemy's dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the enemy's must be divided. We can form a single united body, while the enemy must split up into fractions. Hence there will be a whole pitted against separate parts of a whole, which means that we shall be many to the enemy's few. And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits."

"Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting. Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success. Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots. Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient."

"In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them; conceal your dispositions, and you will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies, from the machinations of the wisest brains."

"He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain."
posted by jedicus at 9:11 AM on March 26, 2011

Speak softly, but carry a big stick.
posted by Gungho at 9:13 AM on March 26, 2011

"Mistletoe killing an oak –
Rats gnawing cables in two –
Moths making holes in a cloak –
How they must love what they do!
Yes – and we Little Folk too,
We are as busy as they –
Working our works out of view –
Watch, and you'll see it some day! "

A Pict Song
, Rudyard Kiling
posted by baggers at 9:24 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not specific quotes, but you may find the Book of Five Rings and the Hagakure interesting.
posted by ainsley at 9:26 AM on March 26, 2011

One of my favourite ever quotes:

'Beware the fury of a patient man'

Popularised by John Dryden, but originally from the Latin writer Publilius Syrus.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 10:08 AM on March 26, 2011

This is almost the Rope-a-Dope. Not sure it emphasizes the part you focus on, though.
posted by anildash at 11:26 AM on March 26, 2011

Revenge is a dish best served cold.*
posted by Ookseer at 1:23 AM on March 27, 2011

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