Qi or Zheng / Unexpected or Frontal
Qi (奇) means surprise while zheng (正) means direct and normal. First advanced by Laozi, the concept has two main meanings. First, it is a military term about two opposing ways of fighting. Zheng means meeting the enemy head-on based on an understanding of its intention，while Qi means keeping one’s intention to oneself and launching surprise attack and laying ambush on the enemy in order to secure surprise victory. Zheng and qi need to be applied in a coordinated way. While a military term, qizheng is also used to deal with daily affairs. Second, as a term of literary and art criticism, it means an article is pure and original in terms of theme and elegant and stylish in terms of diction. Liu Xie (c. 465–520) of the Southern Dynasty first introduced qizheng in literary criticism to oppose attaching excessive importance to form and novelty, a trend which was popular in the literary circles in the Qi and Liang dynasties. Liu Xie maintained that literary creation should be based on Confucian classics in terms of theme, to be embellished by stylish rhetoric. He believed that pure thought (zheng) must come before rhetoric (qi) so that an essay would be original in terms of theme and beautiful but unexaggerated in terms of diction. The term qizheng was later also used in literary criticism of poetry and opera.
- 以正治国，以奇用兵，以无事取天下。 （《老子·五十七章》） （以正规的方式[清静之道]治国，以奇诡的方法用兵，以不搅扰人民来治理天下。）
A state should be ruled by the normal way, fighting should be conducted in a surprised way, while ideal governance should let people handle their own affairs. (Laozi)
- 凡战者，以正合，以奇胜。故善出奇者，无穷如天地，不竭如江海。 （《孙子·兵势》） （大凡用兵作战，都是以正面应敌，以奇兵取胜。所以善于出奇的人，出奇用兵的手段像天地那样无穷无尽，像江海那样长流不竭。）
In all warfare, the direct way is to meet enemy attack head-on, but surprise attack should be launched in order to secure victory. One who is good at using surprise attack will have at his disposal a rich reservoir of such tactics as inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth and as unending as the flow of rivers and streams. (The Art of War)
- 是以将阅文情，先标六观：一观位体，二观置辞，三观通变，四观奇正，五观事义，六观宫商。 （刘勰《文心雕龙·知音》） （因此阅读和评论文章，先要标明需要考察的六个方面：一是谋篇布局，二是遣词造句，三是对前人作品风格的继承与创新，四是表现手法上的守正与新变，五是援引事例以证立论，六是音律节奏。用这些方法进行考察，文章的优劣就可以看出来了。）
Six criteria should be applied in reading and commenting on an article: structure, diction, continuity and change, use of new and traditional techniques (qi and zheng), use of allusions, and rhythms and prosody. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving ofDragons)