I watched the movie the God of War set in China about a time in the 1500s in which Japanese pirates were plundering the coastline of China and China raised some armies to repel them.
This story is interesting in that the Japanese treat women badly and the Chinese, or at least one Chinese general, treat some women with respect . . . and then later, the women of a village fight on behalf of the Chinese rather than fleeing or surrendering.
Also, the Chinese enlist the aid of some strong and stubborn villagers and train them as soldiers and they are a part of the armies that have victory over the Japanese.
When the Japanese have been defeated, one Japanese leader of the samurai will not go back and he fights and then claims to be a mere pirate and then kills himself.
The Chinese general also says to spare the prisoners taken.
So, you get the idea that part of victory was respecting and enlisting and encouraging the common people.