Leave an escape route for your opponent

When the famous Chinese General Kou u (Japanese pronunciation) placed his troops, against all common warfare sense, with their backs to a body of water, destroyed their boats, and all food provisions except for three days, he was using a form of sutemi not only for himself but for his whole army as well. His army had no where to go but thru the enemy or meet a certain death.

With only death awaiting them, his troops fought the hardest and most brutally they could, eventually defeating their opponent. This is related to a concept call “shinimono guri” in Japanese. The idea that if someone or animal is trapped in a certain death situation, they will fight most powerfully in a sort of “crazed death struggle”. This is why it is important to leave an escape route for your opponent, so as not to receive the full force of their attack. You can then attack more safely as your opponent retreats. Defending while retreating is most difficult. This is true not only for mass armies but for individual opponents as well.