“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” – Sun Tzu, Chinese general, military strategist, philosopher and author of the Art of War.
The term psychological warfare (PSYWAR) is used to “denote any action which is practiced mainly by psychological methods with the aim of evoking a planned psychological reaction in other people”. It has been used for centuries in battle to gain an edge over an opponent. Take one of the earliest examples of psychological warfare, which can be attributed to Alexander the Great of Macedonia.
Finding that his army had been stretched too thin, leaving him vulnerable to losing to a large opposing force, he cleverly instructed his armorers to make oversized breastplates and helmets, large enough to fit men who were seven to eight feet tall.
When the opposing forces came across this giant armour (which Alexander had purposely left behind), they decided against following, believing that they would inevitably be defeated by such a monstrous force.
Alexander’s tactics are a perfect example of how intimidation can dictate the outcome of a battle – in this case, it prevented it altogether, resulting in an unscathed victory for his army. The other tenets of PSYWAR include discrediting an opponent, provoking doubt within their psyche, and exerting a sense of invisible control – strategies which have been employed by many of the greatest fighters who have ever lived.
Provoking Self Doubt – Mohammed Ali
In his lead up to the Rumble in The Jungle, three-time heavyweight title winner Muhammad Ali tells opponent George Foreman via a camera lens, “Sucker, you ain’t nothing. You too ugly to represent us coloured folks.”
Inside the ring itself, following a barrage of shots fired from Foreman for eight rounds, a thirty-two-year-old Ali leaned against foreman and whispered in his ear “George, is that all you got?” before punching him in the face, and winning the bout.
Yet, while the efficacy of psychological warfare in fighting can’t be denied, when it crosses the line and becomes inherently personal, it brings into question the notion of sportsmanship.
Master of Mental Warfare- Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor has proven time and time again that no one can even come close to him when it comes to mind games. I would even rate him as high if not higher than the GOAT Mohammed Ali.
Even at the recent press conference with the ice cold Khabib many people feel that he got into Khabib’s head.
This is what Dana White had to say about Conor after the press conference.
“It was dark, man,” White told reporters, including MMAjunkie, during a post-press conference scrum. “It was the darkest press conference I’ve ever been a part of. But Conor McGregor is the master of mental warfare. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: He’s better than anybody. Even (Muhammad) Ali. You don’t want to say anybody’s better than Ali, but I think when it comes to the mental war game in this sport, or any other sport, Conor McGregor is the best ever.”
Here are some videos that show just how good Conor is starting with the video of how both Conor and Khabib taunt their opponents during fights.
What Khabib & Conor Say To Their Opponents During Fights
Conor McGregor – Mental Warfare part 1
Conor McGregor – Mental Warfare part 2
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Article created with parts sourced from themaclife.com