To Hold Down a Pillow means not allowing the enemy’s head to rise.
In contests of strategy it is bad to be led about by the enemy. You must always be able to lead the enemy about. Obviously the enemy will also be thinking of doing this, but he cannot forestall you if you do not allow him to come out. In strategy, you must stop the enemy as he attempts to cut; you must push down his thrust, and throw off his hold when he tries to grapple. This is the meaning of to hold down a pillow". When you have grasped this principle, whatever the enemy tries to bring about in the fight you will see in advance and suppress it. The spirit is too check his attack at the syllable at…, when he jumps check his jump at the syllable ju…, and check his cut at “cu…
The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy’s useful actions but allow his useless actions. However, doing this alone is defensive. First, you must act according to the Way, suppressing the enemy’s techniques, foiling his plans and thence command him directly. When you can do this you will be a master ofstrategy. You must train well and research “holding down a pillow”.
– Fire book – Gorin-No-Sho (The Book of Five Rings) – Miyamoto Musashi.