History’s 50 Incredible Badasses You Should Know About

21Michelle Funk

In 1988, a 2.5-year-old girl named Michelle Funk fell into an icy creek and was submerged for 66 minutes. When rescuers arrived she didn't have a pulse and was not breathing. Three hours after that, her blood was warmed. When it reached 71 degrees Fahrenheit, she came back to life and is still living to this day

22Manute Bol

Manute Bol, the tallest player in the history of the NBA was also the only player in the NBA to have killed a lion with a spear and to have paid 80 cows for his wife.

23Rukhsana Kausar

In 2009, when 18-year old Rukhsana Kausar from Kashmir, India saw her parents being beaten as part of a forced marriage proposal by a militia commander, she killed one militant with an ax, gunned the commander down and then started a 4-hour gun battle with the militia.

24Sergeant Stubby

Sergeant Stubby was a stray dog found during military training in 1917. He served with the 102nd Infantry Regiment during World War 1. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks repeatedly due to his ability to smell mustard gas at a distance, found and comforted the wounded, and even once caught a German spy by the seat of his pants, holding him there until American soldiers found him. He is the only dog to have been promoted to sergeant through combat in World War 1.

25Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway in his lifetime survived through anthrax, malaria, pneumonia, dysentery, skin cancer, hepatitis, anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, two plane crashes, a ruptured kidney, a ruptured spleen, a ruptured liver, a crushed vertebra, a fractured skull. Once when his plane burst into flames on the runway and the door jammed, he used his head as a battering ram, butted the door twice and got out.

26Jeanne de Clisson

A Frenchwoman name Jeanne de Clisson became a pirate in the 1300s to revenge her husband's death, who was beheaded for treason. She sold her family's land to buy 3 ships and painted them black with red sails. For the next 13 years, she went on a pirating binge, targeting King Philip VI's ships and personally beheaded the French noblemen she captured with an ax.

27Elderly Eskimo

During the 1950s, when the Canadian government forced the Inuit into settlements, an elderly Eskimo wanted to escape the government settlement. When his family took away all of his tools to force him into the settlement, he made a knife out of his own feces and frozen spit, killed a dog with it and used its ribs and organs to make a sled. He tied his sled to other dogs and rode off.

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28David B. Bleak

David B. Bleak, an American Soldier from the Korean War was given the Medal of Honor for killing 5 Chinese soldiers, out of which, he killed 4 with his bare hands. He did all this while he was shot and giving medical aid to his fellow soldiers. He broke one of the enemy soldiers’ neck and crushed the windpipe of the other one with his bare hands. He severely fractured the skulls of two other soldiers by smashing their heads together

29Gordon Cooper

After losing power and automatic control of his Mercury capsule, astronaut Gordon Cooper was forced to use his knowledge of constellations, wristwatch, and math estimations to manually land his spacecraft. He ended up splashing just 4 miles from his recovery ship, the most accurate landing up to that point in 1963.

30Roy R Benavidez

When faced with over 1,000 North Vietnamese Army troops, Roy R Benavidez flew into a gunfight to save 12 Special Forces soldiers with only a knife. He was shot multiple times and was believed to be dead until he spit in the face of the medic trying to put him in a body bag. He survived 37 separate bayonet, bullet, and shrapnel wounds over the course of the six-hour fight.


  1. It’s a shame those who have not killed, mamed, blown up or murdered but instead found ways of peace to resolve conflict (and there are many) are not considered “bad ass.” Although all these men and women were brave and the ones who saved lives rather than just take them truly bad ass it would be refreshing to promote those who chose nonviolence to resolve conflict rather than those who instead chose to kill. Maybe it’s just me.

  2. That’s not fair. Wang Weilin stood up against 4 tanks at 19 years old after watching over 10,000 people, his friends, coworkers, and peaceful protestors, get literally slaughtered in Tiananmen Square. All he was holding was shopping bags, and all he did was talk. No one will ever forget “Tank Man”. He knew he would be killed (no one knows what happened to him), he knew he wouldn’t be able to stop the slaughter. He didn’t even think he’d be remembered considering the Chinese government did everything they could to prevent anyone from ever finding out about him or Tiananmen.

    He’s every bit as badass as these guys, but that doesn’t make them any less badass.

  3. Consider for a moment that three American conscientious objectors have received the Medal of Honor. The movie, Hacksaw Ridge, is about the heroics of one of them, Desmond Doss. The other two conscientious objector Medal of Honor recipients are Thomas W. Bennet and Joseph G. LaPointe. Doss received his award for his actions during World War II; Bennet and LaPointe received their awards for their sacrifices in Vietnam (they both were killed in action). Were they cowards because they refused to fight? On the contrary, they were heroes before their cited heroics as they continued in their faith despite abuse and dedicated their lives to their medical missions.

  4. Men who save lives through peace efforts or prevent future lives from being lost are every bit as “bad asses” as men who killed to save lives. Different methods, same results. You can’t have good without bad, nor bad without good.


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