The family of Henry IV of England. Henry of Bolingbroke was the best jouster of his day and when he was exiled by Richard II, he passed the time by going on a crusade to Lithuania. When his lands were taken by Richard, he gathered all his loyal followers, landed in England, and took the crown by force. His sons Henry, Thomas, John, and Humphrey, were all pretty badass and formed a powerful team that brought France to its knees for the better part of forty years. Henry V is of note here, because he took an arrow to the face, lived to tell about it, and grew up to be the one English king who actually managed to get himself acknowledged as the legitimate heir to the French throne.
King Leonidas of Sparta. Most people know him only from his last battle, which he even lost, but stalled the invading Persian army long enough to prevent the conquest of the Greek world. You know, the one that laid the foundation for the entire Western world. Even 2,500 years after his death, his absolutely epic Pre-Asskicking One-Liner "Come and get them!" still sets the standard for ultimate badassery.
King Xerxes the 1st of Persia, part of his training as a prince was being locked into a dark room, with a spear and a hungry lion, he survived. Except for Greece he kicked ass during his kingdom, crushing the Babilonian AND the Egyptian uprisings. At once.
Witold Pilecki, the Original Polish Badass. Pilecki, after the small tasks of creating the Secret Polish Army to resist the Nazis, then willingly volunteers to be captured and taken to Auschwitz, for the express purpose of gathering intelligence as to the exact nature of the concentration camp. And when he had seen enough, he organized a resistance movement in the camp, escaped, and sought to warn the West about the death camps. He continued working with the resistance, first against the Nazis and then the Communists, until he was arrested and sentenced to death. No idea how they managed to kill him. They probably needed silver bullets.
King Robert I (the Bruce) of Scotland (1306-1329). When he took the throne of Scotland in 1306, the country was not only partly occupied by England, but was in the midst of a civil war which his taking the throne only served to intensify. By the end of his reign, Scotland was unified under his rule and England had not only been soundly defeated at Bannockburn (1314) and ousted from Scotland, In fact, Bannockburn had been so decisive... well, there's a very good reason why the English did not attempt another invasion until after Robert was dead. Forget William Wallace, Scotland as we know would not exist if not for Robert the Bruce.
SimoHäyhä, a Finnish sniper who racked up five hundred and forty-two kills during the Winter War, without using a scope, and another two hundred kills with a Suomi sub-machinegun. How big of a badass was he? He was fighting the Soviet army in the dead of winter and they nicknamed him "White Death". Survived getting shot in the face and recovered. He's been immortalised by the Swedish Power Metal band Sabaton, with their song "White Death".
Thomas Cochrane, 10th earl of Dundonald. Kicked off his career (as a British naval officer in the Napoleonic era) by capturing a spanish frigate six times the size of his own vessel (the doctor gets an honorable mention: He steered the ship) he then went on to shut down the coastal trade on the southern coast of france, put together the archtypical fire ship attack at the Aix Roads, and (after switching to the navy of Chile) led 240 men to liberate the entire nation of Peru. As a full admiral in his 70s he applied for a command during the Crimean War but was turned down because the british government were afraid he'd sail to St Petersburg and conquer Russia. Every fictional captain from then on, from Horatio Hornblower to James T. Kirk, owes something to him.
Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, spent his life as a professional badass. After taking command of the HMS Carleton at the Battle of Valcour Island he took a great risk to stop his ship being captured. In 1780, he took command of his ship after the commanding officer was killed and drove off his enemy. Later, when a British Indiaman ran aground, he swam out to the wreck, in a gale with a line. Later, he took his ship, the HMS Indefatigable into action against a larger French battleship, during a storm, and destroyed it. He spent his twilight years killing Barbary slavers.
Sir Sidney Smith enlisted in the Swedish Navy, and fought the Russians at Svenskund, where he was knighted by Gustavus III for badassery. He later took the Iles St-Marcouf, which the Navy managed to hold, right under the nose of the French fleet, for seven years. After his promotion to Admiral, he kicked some life into the Ottoman Empire at Acre, defending the city against a superior French attack. How badass was he? Napoleon said of him: "That man made me miss my destiny."
Even the Royal Navy's guile heroes were still badasses: Sir Richard Keats, at the Battle of Algeciras, found at night two 112-gun Spanish battleships. He sailed between them in the dark, firing at both. The two of them, believing each other to be an enemy, proceeded to destroy each other. Keats had taken 74 guns against 224, and won.
Badass GrandpaAdam Duncan, 1st Viscount Duncan, was both Guile Hero and Bad Ass in equal parts: he was given the task of blockading the Dutch fleet. Unfortunately, the British fleet was wracked by mutiny, and only two loyal ships would sail with him. He kept a Dutch fleet of 11 battleships blockaded by disguising his ships as different ones, and signalling to an imaginary fleet just over the horizon. It worked. When the Navy joined him and he lifted the blockade, he smashed the Dutch at Camperdown. Oh, and when one of his men tried to incite a mutiny, Duncan, at the age of 66, threw the six and a half foot Jack Tar overboard.
The Badass-in-Chief of the British Navy was Handicapped Badass Horatio Nelson. He didn't let the loss of an eye and an arm stop him being the most successful Naval commander in the Royal Navy's (or possibly any Navy's) history. After he died at Trafalgar, his men wept openly
William Marshall, 1st Earl of Pembroke. A man of legendary badassery, he was charging into battle at the front of armies, killing fully-armored knights well into his seventies. When men spoke of mighty warriors in the 12th and 13th centuries, they simply had to say "THE Marshall" and everyone knew who they were talking about.
Admiral Yi Sun-shin from Korea. During the 1592-1598 Japanese invasions of Korea, he fought in 23 battles(including six major battles) and won ALL of them, with the total damage on his side being the loss of 254 men(including himself. He was fatally wounded in the last battle, though his navy won that battle). He did have sturdier and cannon-armed ships compared to the fast but more fragile Japanese ships, but fighting outnumbered battles with barely any damage on his side is still an amazing feat. And unlike Nelson or any other historical military figures, he had little to no help sent from the main government(which was fleeing all over the place, due to Japanese land armies advancing at top speed) Instead he got jealousy, hatred and eventual punishment from them(especially the King himself despised the Admiral due to jealousy. He would have executed Yi, if the prime minister(Yi Sun-shin's best friend since childhood, who appointed Yi to become Admiral in the first place) hadn't pleaded for the admiral's innocence).
Honda Tadakatsu, the mightiest general of the Tokugawa clan. Amongst his achievements is that he has been around since the era of Okehazama to Sekigahara, accompanying Tokugawa Ieyasu in about 55 battles, and NEVER get wounded from it. He is so Badass that he is considered Ieyasu's luxury and Ieyasu would've bitten the dust very quickly if it wasn't for Tadakatsu. He also possesses a Badassspear named Tombogiri, a spear so sharp that a dragonfly would get cut in two if it passes by the spear's blade... while he's not even swinging it.
The almighty Uesugi Kenshin was so feared and respected on the battlefield that friend and foe alike nicknamed him the 'God of War'; He was, in fact, the only person who actually managed to outright defeatOda Nobunaga in an actual field battle at Tedorigawa (and so badly that Nobunaga reportedly, by one account, actually was ready to surrender if Kenshin marched onto Kyoto), and his Crowning Moment Of Awesome remains at the Fourth Battle of Kawanakajima against his rival Takeda Shingen, where Kenshin rides through the entire battlefield and into the Takeda camp all by himself to strike at Shingen with nothing but himself, his horse and his blade while Shingen defended himself with an iron fan.
Audie Murphy, a highly decorated American soldier who served in the European Theater during World War II. Among other things, he earned the Medal of Honor (and pretty much every single other US Army medal). We'll let the Citation for his Medal of Honor speak for his actions:
Second Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by 6 tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire, which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad that was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued his single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way back to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack, which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective. That is a direct extract from the military's citation for his medal. If it had been written by someone trying to make it sound exciting instead of simply stating the facts, your head would have exploded from sheer badassery.
Otto Skorzeny deserves mention as well. His service record alone should speak for himself, with many a Crowning Moment of Awesome, but among his crowning moments was saving Benito Mussolini, who was under heavily armed watch, without firing a single shot. He conducted insanely dangerous operations under the noses of the Americans, boasted about how he could free the imprisoned National Socialist leadership with 200 men and a helicopter and single handedly infiltrated Allied lines.
Bishnu Shrestha, 35-year-old Nepalese soldier and shining example of how the Gurkhas earned their reputation. 40 bandits jump the train he's riding on. Some of them started stripping the 18-year-old girl next to him. He pulls out his giant kukri, kills 3, wounds 8, and takes a nasty knife wound to the arm. The rest of the bandits fled, presumably to avoid being crushed to death by his enormous balls.
Dipprasad Pun, a 31-year-old Nepalese corporal who belong to the Royal Gurkha Rifles, who won the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for fighting off 30 Taliban in Afghanistan single-handedly. At one point, having run out of ammo, he simply hit one of the Taliban with the tripod of his machine gun, and killed two more with a claymore mine.
George Washington: he had countless hats shot off of his head, and horses shot out from under him, without ever taking a bullet himself. And he was made of radiation. When Washington gave up the Presidency after his second term in office, it was the first time in recorded history that a military leader rose to the highest position in his country... and then gave it up voluntarily, without even so much as people pressuring him to step down.
Hans-Ulrich Rudel - The World War II German Stuka pilot so badass, Stalin himself put a 100,000 ruble bounty on his head. No one ever got to collect it.
The Cossacks. Those guys were able to get together and kick the asses of their bigger neighbors who dared to fuck with them one way or the other. Tatars raiding them? Cossacks raided them back. Ottomans attacking them? Cossacks got so pissed off they almost sacked Istanbul. Some Polish bigwig tried to screw the Cossack Bohdan Khmelnytsky over a part of his lands? After Khmelnytsky's plea for help was turned down by the Polish king, he blew a fuse and started a war with Poland, getting all the Zaporizhian Cossacks to help him. Even the Russians didn't dare to conquer rhe Cossacks for a long time. Suffice to say that "Cossack" (Kozak) is the Polish name of this trope, and solidly grounded in real-life vocabulary.
John Basilone who's exploits can be seen in The Pacific. Although that only brushes the surface of what the guy did. He almost single-handidly held off a regiment of Japanese soldiers for 3 days with no food or sleep. In his Medal of Honor citation, it said that he virtually annihilated a regiment of 3000 soldiers. And his tragic but still badass death on Iwo Jima where he wiped out a garrison of Japanese soldiers and ran back to the beach to guide tanks through a minefield.
Douglas Bader was fairly badass even when he still had both his legs – as a young man he was a rugby player of close to international standard, a cricketer who had one first-class match to his credit and might have had more, and he suffered only a single defeat in his RAF boxing career. But when he crashed while performing aerobatics he maimed both legs, which had to be removed to save his life. He barely survived, then set about re-writing the operating manual for double amputees. Expected to recover sufficiently to be reasonably mobile on crutches, Bader refused to settle for even a walking-stick, insisting he was going to be able to drive, play golf and take girls dancing again. He achieved all that and more. Naturally he was invalided out of the RAF (refusing even to consider a mere desk job); as soon as war was declared, his insistence to be re-admitted not only to the Service but as a combat pilot became more persistent and hard to ignore, and was finally rewarded with a posting to active duty as a squadron commander. He turned around a battle-weary, demoralised and dispirited squadron by force of personality and example, and shot down a great many German aircraft through guts, determination and skill (he fought long and hard against being given a cannon-armed fighter, believing it discouraged pilots from getting in close enough to do the job as they were forced to with .303-calibre machine-guns). On being brought down over occupied Europe, he turned his attention to making a nuisance of himself with repeated escape attempts until his German captors were forced to send him to Colditz, which at least slowed him down if only because escape from it was so difficult that opportunities deserved to go to the most able-bodied men. After the defeat of Germany Bader agitated hard for the opportunity to transfer to the Pacific theatre and was perhaps only finally thwarted by the atomic bombing of Japan. Then in peacetime he took on a punishing work-load both for Shell Oil and as a campaigner for the disabled. Take him all in all, Bader would have been quite a badass even had not his left leg ended just below the knee and his right halfway down the thigh.
Carlos Hathcock. A U.S.M.C. sniper serving during the Vietnam War, Sergeant Hathcock attained 93 confirmed kills during the war, and ranks as the 4th most prolific sniper to have served in the U.S. Military. He was the living incarnation of Nightmare Fuel for N.V.A, so much that they at one point put a $30,000 bounty on his head. He is possible the Ur Example of Scope Snipe; an enemy sniper had been deployed with orders to specifically kill Hathcock, and had killed several marines already. While hunting for the sniper, Hathcock caught a glimpse of the sun glaring off of the lens of the enemy sniper's scope, and quickly fired on him. His bullet traveled through the enemy's scope and right through his eye, killing him. A later mission would send Hathcock on the trail of a N.V.A. general. To avoid detection, he had to crawl his way to the general. After four days of inching along, he killed the general and made his way back, having to again crawl the entire length to avoid detection. After the war, Sergeant Hathcock helped in the creation of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper School, and helped train a new generation of sharpshooters for the U.S.M.C.
Chuck Yeager. The man was born to fly. He could pull stunts in the air that were deemed impossible. Probably his biggest claim to fame was being the first man to break the sound barrier. The real kicker? He broke two of his ribs in a horse riding accident two days before reaching Mach 1. He was so afraid of being pulled off of the project that he went to a veterinarian to get treatment and told almost no one else. He broke the sound barrier in excruciating pain, and pulled it off like a true badass.
Marine 2nd Lieutenant Jefferson J. DeBlanc was a fighter pilot in WWII. On January 31, he flew in a formation of F4F Wildcats providing cover for a squadron of SBD Dauntless bombers in the region of the Solomon Islands, having only registered about 10 hours of flight time with the Wildcat prior to the mission. Shortly into the mission, DeBlanc realized that his plane was leaking fuel and that if he didn't turn back, he wasn't going back, but he refused to abandon the bombers and advised other pilots with maintenance problems to do the same. Before long, Japanese planes engaged them and DeBlanc broke off to gun down two heavy, dangerous "Pete" float planes. He and his wingman return to find a flight of Oscar planes bearing down on the bombers, and DeBlanc flies up beneath them, unnoticed, to cripple one and kill another. After that, most of the Oscars are after them, and the wingman is shot down and forced to bail out, leaving DeBlanc vulnerable to attack. Another pilot comes to his rescue in the nick of time, after which Lieutenant DeBlanc decides to head home. But two enemy fighters close in on his tail and he turns to face them head on, opening up and destroying one of them immediately. The other has him dead to rights, and he tries one desperate gambit: to "skid" on the air, hoping that the other plane will overshoot him. It works, and he guns down his fifth kill of the day, enough to become an ace all in one afternoon. But before he can escape, more Oscars close in on his tail and shoot him out of the sky, forcing him to bail out and swim for a nearby island. Natives find him and trade him back to a friendly tribe for a sack of rice, and for his bravery, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Most people cannot price out their exact amount of money they are worth. But I know exactly how much I am worth: one ten pound sack of rice.
Louie Zamperini. He was an Olympic runner (and stole a German Swastika flag from Berlin) before he enlisted in the army during WWII. After his plane crashed in the ocean, he and his shipmate survived 47 days on a raft before they were picked up by a Japanese ship nearly 2,000 miles from where they crashed. From there, he was taken and held at Kwajalein aka execution island. He then spent almost 2 years in 3 different POW camps in Japan where he was singled out by Matsushiro Watanabe, #23 of Japan's most wanted criminals after the war. After the war? He struggled with alcoholism before becoming a devoted Catholic and returning to Japan to personally forgive all of his captors. At 81, he ran with the Olympic torch in Japan in the 1998 Olympics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzjN9cu-TDc
Temujin. Captured by an Evil Uncle when he was twelve, locked in a cangue (a sort of mobile stocks) for a week, he escaped by hiding in a flowing, ice-filled river for nine hours until a sympathetic member of his uncle's retinue rescued him. He grew up... and became Genghiz Khan!
Walter Cowan. This man was pure unadulterated badass. During WWI he was a naval captain who spent his leave IN THE TRENCHES. During WWII he was too old (according to the British navy) for war, so he had to make his own way to Africa, where he captured an Italian tank.
Admiral David Farragut, who ordered his ship through the minefield that was Mobile Bay with the exclamation "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"
Han dynasty general, ambassador and historian Ban Chao certainly counts. Combine this with a hint of Badass Bookworm, one feat of Ban Chao consists of during a diplomatic mission to the western part of the Silk Road, after learning that the Huns were making their bid at the local city state and winning, making him and a total of 30 of his company virtually under house arrest at the moment. What was his solution? Night raid on the Hun camp with the said 30 men. The Hun envoy was much larger, outnumbering them by about 10 times. After one night of onslaught, most of the Huns were killed, rest fled. The ruler of said city state accepted things he asked unconditionally afterwards. Afterwards, when asked where he had the idea to do so, his reply was : "If you don't enter the tiger's den, how can you catch the tiger's cub."
Bernard Freyberg, whose official title is "Lieutenant-General The Right Honourable The Lord Freyberg VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO and three Bars" is perhaps the most badass general of modern times. All you need to know is that, within 3 years of WWI starting, he had risen from the rank of Lieutenant to Captain and was promoted to the temporary rank of Brigadier General. He was wounded nine times while in France, in addition to several wounds he received at Gallipoli, and captured a bridge just one minute before the armistice came into effect. By the end of the war, he had won a VC, a DSO with two bars, the French Croix de Guerre and had been mentioned in dispatches 5 times. In WWII, he was wounded twice more (once by a bloody artillery shell), and commanded Allied forces at Crete, as well as New Zealand forces all throughout the Greek, African and Italian campaigns. He died in 1963 from one of his war wounds.
Captain Sam Templeton. Too old to enlist in the army, he lied about his age, but was rejected anyway, because of his flat feet. Instead of ending up on the front lines, he joined the 39th Battalion, a militia battalion, in Papua New Guinea. Promoted to Captain, he went up and down the column as his company climbed the Kokoda track, he would often carry several men's rifles and packs in addition to his own. According to some observers, he traveled up and down his company so often that he traveled twice the distance anyone else did. And remember, this is a track that still kills people even today. In the end, Templeton was killed when he taunted a Japanese officer, saying that there were 80 000 Australian troops in Port Morseby and asking how many Japanese troops would make it there.
King Mithridates The Sixth Of Puntus. How badass was this guy? He seasoned his every meal with arsenic, just to prove how impossible it was to kill him. He was one of the few men to be considered a worthy foe of the Roman Empire... at a time when the Roman Empire was at it's peak in terms of military prowess. His subjects believed that he was some kind of a demigod, and given that he was almost seven feet tall and had more muscle in one arm than you probably have in your whole body, even in his SIXTIES, it's hard to blame them. He could speak every language in all twenty-two of the countries that made up his empire. He fought personally in nearly every battle he commanded, even while in his sixties. He went around with a knife strapped to his penis, so that, even if searched for a weapon, unless they strip searched him, he'd never be unarmed, and said knife was so long that he once nearly decapitated a man with it. When he finally died, after decades of fighting the Romans in some of the fiercest battles that the Roman Legions would ever encounter (mainly because he was bright enough to think to hire Roman soldiers to teach his armies how to fight like the Romans did), his greatest enemy, the general Pompey, demanded that Mithridates' body be delivered to him to confirm that he was dead, upon which, Pompey personally paid to give the King a burial fit for one of his stature, while there was dancing in the streets in Rome to celebrate the death of one of Rome's greatest enemies. Mithridates died when he was seventy years old.
Ancient Majapahit (Indonesia) general Gajah Mada. Majapahit was never glorious until he came in by doing a Big Damn Heroes during Coup d'etat, and by his own will dealing another coup d'etat before he is legitimately promoted into a general, made a Badass Boast... then actually fulfilling it by successfully unifying the archipelago with him as the main (and probably only and biggest) general. Unfortunately, for his great start, he fell due to becoming a Deconstruction of Badass, he still is one, but his more independent decision led to the Battle of Bubat which smeared the name of Majapahit and he had to take the blame and accept demotion and exile and punishment.
Theodore Roosevelt's life was a nonstop tale of badassery. One event that particularly stands out is an assassination attempt made in 1912, when he was shot in the chest by a deranged saloonkeeper. Instead of going to the hospital he proceeded to give a 90-minute speech at a political rally. Oh, yes, and when he wasn't doing that president thing he was a martial-arts master known for challenging visitors to the White House to a friendly judo bout.
Mahatma Gandhi, the Trope Codifier for Badass Pacifist. Yes, a small bald man with a white robe and glasses. One that defied injustice at every turn, took his beatings for it, and came back for more. A man who specifically targeted injustices in order to defy them, and to hell with the consequences. A man who likened colonial prison to a bridal suite. A man who, in short, fought injustice at every turn and with at least some success, while still adhering completely to his pacifist ideals. Even if the guy didn't raise his hands to shoot people, he was a subtle yet very emotionally strong Bad Ass. His first name was actually Mohandas, and Mahatma is a title that translates to something along the lines of "Person So Awesome We Had To Invent A New Word Just To Describe His Awesomeness." Or "Enlightened One." Either way, it's the Indian version of being a "The Great" and one of the Names to Run Away From Really Fast.
King Zog of Albania. Not only pushed Albania into the twentieth century after coming back from exile, pissing a lot of people off, but also pulled out a gun on some schmucks who tried to shoot him during his visit in Vienna. Quoting The Other Wiki: "This is the only occasion in modern history when a Head of State has personally exchanged fire with potential assassins."
Jack Lang the Premier of New South Wales during the Great Depression. He was so badass that when the rest of the country threatened to stop paying wages to government workers in order to repay foreign loans, he took the entirety of the states money out of the Reserve Bank as cash. Thats right he stole the states money to keep paying workers, but only after ignoring a federal order and declaring that the governments actions were illegal as they caused a state of slavery.
Oscar Wilde. When he was at Oxford, four thugs just randomly decided to try and beat him up because he was effeminate. He promptly beatthemup. The Marquess of Queensbury made the similar mistake of thinking that because Wilde was effeminate, he was also lily-livered but after barging into Wilde's home and accusing him of writing a "sodomitic letter", he discovered in no uncertain terms that messing with an Irish gentleman is a bad idea. As Oscar said before throwing Queensbury and his "burly friend" (read: bodyguard) out of the house: "I don't know what the Queensbury rules are, but the Oscar Wilde rule is to shoot on sight."
Tenzing Norgay. Sir Edmund Hillary's climbing partner, making him one of the first two people to set foot on the top of Mt. Everest. He spent his whole life climbing and anything he didn't know about climbing wouldn't have been worth knowing. Without him, Hillary would never have made it to the top. Even Sherpas think he was a badass climber. That is pretty badass.
Maurice and Katja Kraaft, a couple of volcanologists who went closer to volcanoes to study them than anyone else was willing to. Maurice even quipped once that he wanted a titanium canoe so he could paddle down a lava flow.
Discounting his role in the Watergate scandal, G. Gordon Liddy stayed quite busy being a badass. When he was a kid he was afraid of lightning, so one day he "killed the fear" by climbing a tree during a severe thunderstorm. Later in life he became known for an interesting parlor trick involving his arm and a lighter; a movie re-enactment can be seen here. (starts at 1:30).
Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira. Quoth wikipedia: "He was run over by a truck when he was nine, and fell into a coma for 25 days. During this time he lost a rib and part of his liver and had to be hospitalized for eleven months. As a result of the accident he has a large scar, including a noticeable indentation, on his lower back." Went to to become an MMA champion with a 31-4-1 record. A bunch of MMA fighters could qualify.
Alexis Goggins. Saved her mom by taking six bullets from her estranged boyfriend. Including a couple to the head. Said hi to the Grim Reaper, then told him she still had some shit to do. Was in grade one at the time. You go, girl.
When German state police spectacularly failed to end a hostage situation during the 1972 olympic games in Munich, German federal police responded by creating its first counter-terrorism unit. Four years later, their very first mission was a hostage situation in a plane on an African airport (which is often considered as one of the most dangerous and dificult situations). They shot all four hijackers with only one officer and one hostage wounded. In the next 30 years and over 1,500 missions they had to fire their weapons only four more times.
Cassius Clay. No, not the boxer later known as Mohammed Ali. The original Cassius Clay was a 19th century Southern aristocrat and landowner who abhorred slavery with burning hatred - a concept hard to swallow in itself. His badassness aside from fervently defending a cause all his peers detested was manifested in his survival of an assassination attempt in 1843, where he was shot point blank during a speech, after which he proceeded to cut off the attacker's ear, nose and eye off with his Bowie knife - the knife's scabbard had saved his life. When he had reached the age of 92, three men broke into his home with intent to rob and kill him - only one of the assailants survived to tell the tale, and Clay died peacefully a year later.
Scottish baggage handler John Smeaton. In June of 2007, when Al-Queida attacked Glasgow airport, this civilian responded by attacking the terrorist (whose body was mostly on fire) WITH HIS BARE HANDS (okay, he kicked the guy a lot too), cussing him out according to Wikipedia. Then, later in a television interview, he publicly threatened Al-Queida if they ever returned to Scotland. By the way, the terrorist died from his burns and injuries.
Ned Kelly. While wearing a homemade suit of armour weighing 40kg, he kept firing his rifle despite having his left arm disabled (asking one of his teammates to help reload); when finally taken down, he had twenty-eight gunshot wounds. Twenty-eight. And survived long enough to be hanged.
"In 1929, while working in Eberswalde, he performed the first human cardiac catheterization. He ignored his department chief and tied his assistant to an operating table. Then, he anesthetized his own lower arm and inserted a cannula into his antecubital vein, threading it 65 cm all the way to his heart. Afterwards, he walked some distance to the X-ray department to photograph the catheter which was now lying in his right auricle."
Bruce Lee. This is a man who could snatch a dime out of a person's palm before they closed it, and leave a penny behind. He could thrust his fingers through unopened (!) cans of soda. He performed one-hand pushups using only his thumb and index finger. He could knock a man on his ass by only moving his fist a single inch. He could shatter wooden boards six inches thick. He once BROKE a 150lb punching bag by kicking it too hard.
Miyamoto Musashi. He wandered around Japan challenging people to duels, which he never lost. Ever. Frequently he would use a wooden sword in these duels. As a typical story: Musashi once challenged the leader of the Yoshioka School, the foremost martial arts school in Kyoto, to a duel. Musashi showed up late, greatly irritating his opponent Seijiro. When the duel began, Musashi struck one blow, using a wooden sword, knocking Seijiro unconscious. Seijiro retired in shame. Seijiro's two brothers each challenge Musashi in turn; each time Musashi arrives hours late and defeats them easily. The Yoshioka clan was outraged; they put together a force of dozens of swordsmen, archers and musketmen and have them wait near the Ichijoji Temple. Seijiro's youngest son Matashihiro challenges Musashi to another duel at the temple; the clan intends to ambush him with the soldiers as soon as he arrives. Musashi, however, arrives hours early, hides himself, then attacks by surprise, cuts his way through the soldiers, kills Matashihiro and escapes.
Paul Rusesabagina, hotel manager. Saved over 1000 Rwandans during the Rwandan Genocide by sheltering them in Hôtel des Mille Collines.
Leonid Rogozov, who diagnosed himself with appendicitis while stationed at a Soviet base in Antarctica, and performed an appendectomy on himself using local anesthetic, with only a few completely untrained people to help him.
This Woman. Attacked by a mugger, fought him off, and walked home with six inches of knife sticking out of her spine. Didn't even notice it until she got there.
Tank Man. Nobody knows for sure who he is, but everyone outside China knows he stopped a column of tanks, unarmed.
In one of the most unreported stories related to that infamous shipwreck, Second Officer C.H. Lightoller apparently spent most of his career working on his Master's Certificate in Bad Ass, above and beyond his service during Titanic's foundering (where he sawed through the lines holding down a boat with a pen knife, was swept off the deck, spent the hours after the sinking balancing twenty men on an overturned lifeboat, and earlier, when ordered by the Chief Officer to take one of the boats, replied "Not damned likely!") After going to sea at thirteen, serving on windjammers and steamships, and surviving a fire at sea (which he put out), a cyclone, a shipwreck, and severe malaria in West Africa, he decided that wasn't tough enough and went to mine for gold in the Klondike. When that didn't pan out he worked as a cowboy on an Alberta ranch, rode the rails as a hobo to get back to the coast, served on a cattle transport, went back to work on passenger ships, served in the First World War including in the new job of observer spotting enemy fleets from an airplane, retired, decided THAT wasn't Bad Ass enough, so he and his wife, at the request of the British government, took a nice little retired-couple cruise...around German ports...about which they sent back reports. And moving him into Badass Grandpa territory, when the government asked for the loan of said yacht to evacuate troops at Dunkirk, the 66-year-old Lightoller informed them HE would pilot the yacht. He did, evacuating 127 people. And proving he was also a Bad Ass in the romantic department, his first assignment after joining the White Star Line was on the Britain-South Africa-Australia run. On his second Australian trip, he met a lovely young lady named Sylvia returning home from Britain to Sydney. When they got to Sydney, she turned right around and went 15,000 miles BACK to Britain as Mrs. C.H. Lightoller. They were married until his death in 1952. (She may have minored in Bad Ass a bit herself as at the Board of Trade hearings about the Titanic, she took it upon herself to chew out the crew of the Californian for not coming to Titanic's aide. Whatever she said was enough for her Bad Ass husband to remind her "My dear, you can't kick a man when he's down!") They could make a movie about him, but no one would believe it.
Mikio Yahara, Shotokan-Karate Master, was reported to have beat 34 Yakuza gangsters in a parking garage. He arrived at a tournament with an open knife wound. This man is what most Karate Students who enjoy sparring aspire to emulate.
Mas Oyama, also known as the Godhand. Founder of the Kyokushin School of Karate. Did exhibitions of his style by bullfighting. Yes, that's right - he fought bulls using karate. He fought 52 bulls, killing 3 outright and chopping the horns off the rest with his bare hands as they charged him (hence "Godhand"). Badass credentials established.
Don Alejo, Nov. 2010, 77 years old. The drug cartel comes to his ranch telling he has one day to leave. He warns them he'll be waiting for them if they come. The next day the drug gang arrives armed with assault rifles and grenades. Don Alejo is alone, barricaded in his home, armed with bolt action hunting rifles. Don Alejo greets the gang with gunfire, starting a gun battle during which he kills 4 gunmen, and wounds 2 more so badly they were left for dead. Finally the drug cartel breaches Don Alejo's home with grenades and kill him. The authorities show up on the scene and describe he as riddled with bullets and two guns by his side.
Actor Dolph Lundgren had his house broken into by three masked burglars who tied up and threatened his wife, but fled when they spotted a family photo and realized that the house was owned by Lundgren. Until today, no one has ever discovered who these guys were. They probably changed their identities, left the country, and never came back. Hard not to see why.
Hideaki Akaiwa. After Japan was hit with a 9.0 earthquake on March 11th, 2011, Akaiwa's hometown was flooded with a ten-foot-tall tsunami. Realizing his wife was trapped somewhere in there, Akaiwa strapped on some diving gear, then swam through the flood to find her and rescue her. For an encore, four days later he did it again to find and rescue his mother. And then he continues to keep going back into the wreckage on his own to find and rescue others endangered by the disaster.
Manny Pacquiao. The boxer seems destined for legendary status, as he continually accomplishes feats almost never done in boxing history. In recent years he has continually fought in higher weight classes, taking on opponents often bigger, stronger and better prepared than he, and he has crushed almost all of them, usually by taking the fight to them and just messing their day up. Would you really want to be in the ring with this man◊?
There's been a lot of legitimate tough guys in Professional Wrestling, but the biggest and baddest of them all may have been Tonga Fifita, who wrestled under the names Haku and Meng. By most accounts a sweet guy until someone picked a fight with him, Fifita weighed 300 lbs and so strong he could tear lugnuts off a tire bare-handed. In bar fights he was known to bite fingers and noses off opponents, and break their teeth. When he caught fellow wrestler Jesse Barr kicking dirt on some ditchdiggers in Puerto Rico, Fifta gouged one of his eyes out of the socket. Jake "The Snake" Roberts once declared that if he had a tank and a gun, and he had to face down Fifita, he'd get out of the tank and shoot himself in the head, because he wouldn't "want to wound that son-of-a-bitch and piss him off."
Out of all the seiyuus in Japan, the most Badass one in real life has got to be Norio Wakamoto. Helps that he was also a policeman before he entered the industry. To wit: he's a black belt in martial arts, and is a 3-dan in both Kendo and Shorinji Kempo. That's not even pulling off 200 push-ups in his sixties. Oh and the only seiyuu to even have a Crowning Moment Of Awesome page during the 2011 earthquake where he helped out searching and rescuing earthquake victims.
Philadelphia mobster-turned-informant John Veasey, after being discovered as an informant for the FBI, was reportedly shot three times in the back of the head at point blank with a 22-caliber pistol while conducting business with two other mobsters. He proceeded to stand up, yell at his attacker for shooting him, then stab the would-be hitman with his own knife. The other mobster in the room was so intimidated by this display of badassery that he made no real attempt to stop Veasey from leaving.
Steve Irwin's sheer badassery started even before he became legendary as the Crocodile Hunter. As shown in the autobiography written by his wife Terri Irwin following his early passing, Steve and Terri once stopped at a crocodile farm, where crocs were bred in sub-par conditions, only to be sluaghtered for meat and skin (Does This Remind You of Anything?). Steve and Terri then end up meeting with a group of crocodile farmers in one of the buildings of the establishment. These men have the misfortune of pushing Steve's Berserk Button, which results in a standoff between thirteen men, who make a living out of killing vicious predators, and a very pissed off Steve. Care to guess which side decided it would be best for their health to step down? And after the confrontation, Steve was able to cry Manly Tears over the reptiles he would later become known for confronting. And then you have the entire Crocodile Hunter series itself, in which Steve repeatedly gets within inches of some of the most dangerous, lethal, vicious predators on the entire planet, and rarely comes out of the confrontation with anything more than a scratch. Even his death (while very sad and felt world-wide) was badass; he was pierced through the heart by the barb of a stingray, and yet was not instantly killed. Possibly the biggest aspect of his badassery would be his Determinator tendencies; in order for him and Terri to have a baby boy, he cooled his balls through various methods in an attempt to increase the odds in their favor.
Tony Iommi, founder and lead guitarist of the band Black Sabbath. When he was a teenager, he worked in a factory and on his last day at work, he lost the tips of two fingers of his right hand. Being The Southpaw, his right hand was his fretting hand. He thought his guitar-playing days were over... until his former boss gave him a Django Reinhardt album. Reinhardt was a guitarist that learned to play with only two fingers after his other two were paralyzed in a fire. Iommi then made fake fingertips out of melted soap bottles and old leather that he put on the ends of his mangled fingers, and re-learned how to play the guitar like that. He also downtuned the strings and made them not only easier on his fingers, but made the notes lower. In the process, he created a brand new genre of music.
Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver. On 14th of October 2012, he jumped from a 38km height with a parachute. Took him five years to prepare this stunt. He fell about four and a half minutes in freefall and survived. Now if that ain't something!