To rouse the spirit with one drum beat

During the Spring and Autumn period of China, the various states fought amongst themselves for supremacy.

In the year 684 BC, the State of Qi attacked the State of Lu. Duke Zhuang of Lu and Cao Gui led their soldiers to resist the Qi army.

Lu and Qi had taken up their respective positions, the war drum of the Qi side was beaten first and the stirring sound of the drum sent the Qi army charging in the direction of the Lu army. At this time, Duke Zhuang of Lu also wanted to have his drum beaten but was stopped by Cao Gui.

The Qi side then beat the drum the second time and the Qi soldires came charging nearer. Duke Lu was about to beat the drum when he was again stopped by Cao Gui.

At the third round of the drum, the Qi soldiers were fast approaching the position of the Lu army of which the soldiers had been so aroused that they were like arrows on stretched bow strings ready to shoot off upon release.

It was at that time that Cao Gui asked Duke Zhuang to beat the drum.

Upon hearing the drum, the Lu army roared into action, sweeping acrosss the field like thunderous storm.

The Qi army was unable to withstand such a powerful onslaught and was beaten into retreat.

Duke Zhuang decided to give chase but was advised against the action by Cao Gui who preferred to take a look first at the ruts left by the Qi chariots. He noticed that the ruts were in a state of utter disorder. He then advised Duke Zhuang to order the pursuit.

The saying "To rouse the spirit with one drum beat" is used to describe the high spirit and the enthusiasm with which a task in undertaken.
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