Being injured leaves most people doing one of two things: crying, or crying a lot while cursing God for making tears attract bees (they totally do that.) However, people hundreds of years ago didn’t just shrug off injury — they did a triple tuck into awesome and punched life in the face with the bloody stump that used to be their arm. People like …
10. Kamakura Gongoro Kagemasa
Kamakura is a noted and famous samurai of feudal-era Japan but, far from being the battle-hardened samurai badass we’ve come to expect from pop-culture, Kamakura was a fresh-faced teen at the time he suffered from his injury.
During Kamakura’s first-ever battle at the tender age of 16, an age where most of us were trying to convince our parents to buy us the latest GTA game, he took an arrow straight to the face hole. If that wasn’t hardcore enough, before he collapsed into a heap of blood and Japanese swearing, he managed to murder-stab the guy who shot him. When your reaction to being shot in the face is to bum-rush the guy who did it and give him a steel enema, you’re not a samurai, you’re a dropkick in human form.
This alone would put most people on the VIP list for Valhalla and make everyone who shook their hand grow chest hair on their palms, but Kamakura wasn’t quite done yet. A fellow warrior, Miura Tametsuga noticing that Kamakura wasn’t quite dead but still had an arrow in his face, put his foot on Kamakura’s grill and tore out the arrow using brute force. Kamakura, rather than thanking Miura for saving his life and giving him a scar that would never stop getting him laid, attempted to stab him to death on the spot for robbing him of a fitting warrior’s end.
Yes, at 16 years old, Kamakura took an arrow to the face, killed the guy who put it there then, and when someone pulled out the same arrow, he tried to stab him too. We’re pretty sure at this point Kamakura was trying to develop a new language based entirely on stab wounds.
9. Henry V
Now we’re going to tell you how an Englishman takes an arrow to the chops. Whereas the Japanese respond by stabbing, the English reaction is decidedly more reserved, as Henry V of England was all too keen to prove.
At the tender age of 16, during the battle of Shrewsbury, Henry was struck in the face by an arrow. However, Henry wasn’t hit by a puny Japanese arrow, he was hit by a British arrow. Which, if we’re recalling our history correctly, were not only bigger, but mostly on fire. Okay, by history we meant Braveheart.
But here’s the thing — with an arrow in his actual face, Henry requested to be carried to the center of the battlefield, which you’ll notice is the opposite direction of safety, to give his men some advice. We presume this advice was mainly, “don’t get hit in the face by an arrow, it really hurts.” Due to being royalty, Henry was given the best care money could provide, and lived the rest of his life with a scar so awesome he hid it in every portrait to prevent them from catching fire. But yeah, that’s how English people responded to face arrows — by apologizing.
8. Jan Žižka
Jan Žižka was a mercenary and a soldier-of-fortune by trade, and he spent the majority of his life stabbing, shooting, and generally messing up the mornings of people who weren’t as awesome as him.
Early in life, Jan lost his eye in a battle, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. No, we’re here to talk about when he lost his other eye. It’s not known exactly how Jan lost the sight in his second eye, (he lost the sight in his first due to an arrow — figures,) but it is known how much ass he kicked: all of it. Jan kicked all of the ass while blind.
During his life, Jan was totally undefeated in combat, and that’s including the half decade he spent riding into battle without the ability to see anything. In fact, despite being totally and unequivocally blind, and walking around an actual battlefield full of swords and arrows, Jan wasn’t killed by combat, but by the plague. That’s how scary this guy was — even though he spent his life waltzing around a battlefield where he could have been killed by a weapon of death at any moment, the Grim Reaper had to wait until almost the entire world was dying before successfully claiming his soul.
7. Marcus Cassius Scaeva
If you’ve ever seen Spartacus, or Gladiator, or even picked up a history book with pictures in it, you’re likely well aware that Roman soldiers were awesome. Seriously, they traveled to battle as an iron cube of slaughter — how cool is that?
With that in mind, Marcus Cassius Scaeva had a lot to live up to, so that’s exactly what he did. As proof of how exceptional a soldier Marcus was, he was noted to be incredibly wealthy and hardy, earning a bonus equivalent to 200 years’ pay for a regular soldier at one point. When’s the last time you kicked enough ass to earn a bonus like that?
While defending a fort at the city of Dyrrhachium, Marcus was hit in the face by an arrow, (seriously, why haven’t these things been banned by now?), in the torso by a javelin, and was brought to his knees by a hail of (what else) arrows. Far from dying, or even crying about it, Marcus channeled his anger into a fit of berzerker rage, hate-stabbed everyone in his immediate vicinity, and did the one thing his opponents couldn’t: stay alive for another decade.
6. Xiahou Dun
Xiahou Dun was a Chinese warrior hardened by many years of swording other Chinese people to death. Like every other toughass in the Universe apparently, Xiahou also took an arrow to the face. His reaction: Xiahou tore out the arrow with his eye still attached, and scarfed that bad boy down. He didn’t even let it cool or put some soy sauce on it or anything. Once more, Xiahou reportedly ATE HIS OWN EYE, purely because — like all manly men — Xiahou never passed up the opportunity for protein.
If you’ve ever played any of the Dynasty Warriors games, you may recognize Xiahou’s handsome mug from the front of like, every version of the game. The weird thing is, the game makes a big deal out of Xiahou having one eye, when in reality, he steadfastly hated his disability and the nickname it earned him: “Blind Xiahou.” Hey, at least it rolls off the tongue better than “Autocannibal Xiahou.”
Unlike everyone else on our list, Edward Teach (AKA Blackbeard) eventually succumbed to his injuries and died, but it’s the sheer amount of punishment this man took that earns him a place on this list. Blackbeard was not only a fearsome pirate with a rocking beard, but a noted “demon in battle.” He was also a demon in his everyday life, but that’s mostly because he used to set his beard on fire when he was bored.
Due to his stature and frankly terrifying appearance, Blackbeard was virtually undefeated in combat. We say virtually, because it took the combined force of an entire army of highly trained soldiers to eventually bring him down. Blackbeard was shot no fewer than 5 times, and slashed a combined total of 20, during the final stand that claimed his life. But here’s the thing — it took having his freaking head chopped right the hell off to stop Blackbeard and, before he died, he not only gave a rousing speech to his men, but broke the sword of the person trying to kill him.
Why is this man not on money? A flaming, bearded pirate with 10 guns who could shatter swords by hitting them? That not real life — that’s a Dragonforce album cover.
4. Guan Yu
Guan Yu was a famed Chinese warrior from the time of the Three Kingdoms. Legend has it that while attempting to gain passage through a the city of Luoyang, Guan Yu was stopped and challenged to a duel by a Chinese deputy called Meng Tang. Meng seemed blissfully unaware that Guan Yu, having the cooler name, was destined to win.
Since we’re writing an entry about Guan Yu you can probably guess that Guan stabbed Meng to death before he could even draw his sword. However, while fighting, another soldier supposedly fired an arrow which, surprisingly, didn’t hit Guan in the face. Taken aback the sheer insult, Guan immediately killed the offending solider, scaring the other men so much they granted him passage straight away.
So why is this cooler than what any other arrow victim did, you ask? Well, Guan was literally surrounded. Any other soldier could have just shot him again, but they didn’t, presumably because nobody else wanted to die.
3. An Unnamed Scottish Knight
Take it from us: the Scottish are some of the hardest people on Earth. Seriously, it was breaking news when a Scottish guy wore a coat during winter one time. Now, Scottish knights didn’t exactly have an easy life, but this one knight in particular would have probably won some sort of award for being hit in the face, if he could stop being hit in the face long enough to claim it.
Upon finding his skeleton, it was concluded that he died when a sword sliced through his jaw, cleaving it almost in two. But that wasn’t this knight’s first, or even second, life-threatening injury. According to scientists studying his battered skeleton, the knight not only survived being hit in the goddamn face with an axe (which was probably shaped like an arrow,) and walked off an arrow that almost hit him in the heart — he’d also managed to survive a fall from a horse in full armor, which knocked out several of his teeth. Walking off any one of those injuries, considering the level of medical care available back then, would be impressive enough. Surviving all of them makes us believe this guy was secretly Magneto and was just really bad at controlling his powers.
2. Henry Paget
Henry Paget, the 1st Marquess of Anglesey, was a British gent with an upper lip so stiff he could use it to open beer bottles. During the battle of Waterloo he had his leg literally blown right the hell off by a cannon shot. Now, having your leg blown off today is a bad thing and we have like, so much science to help you sort that out. The only thing Paget had was his own resolve, and the Duke of Wellington by his side.
Luckily, that’s all he needed — injury did little more than make Paget annoyed that he now had to throw away half of his shoes. But here’s the really cool part: upon having his leg blown off, Paget turned to the Iron Duke and exclaimed, “By God sir, I’ve lost my leg!” The Iron Duke, not wanting to be out-Britished by a rank amateur, answered with, “By God sir, so you have!” Their conversation was so chill, the room both men occupied at that exact moment exploded, as no room built back then was able to sustain all that icy coolness.
Far from being killed, Paget kept on living and even had the resolve to chat calmly with the guy cleaving off what remained of his leg. Paget was eventually given a wooden replacement, which we presume he never noticed due to having a wooden personality his entire life anyway.
1. Götz von Berlichingen
Götz von Berlichingen was a man who upon losing a limb, became way more badass. How you ask? Well whereas most people who lose limbs, even today, have to make do with a shoddy robotic replacement that simply can’t compete with the finesse and articulation of an actual human limb. However, Götz didn’t need a replacement that could caress the face of a loved one or pet a dog, he needed one that could strangle the life out of his enemies. So when a cannon blew his own sword into his arm, severing it completely, Götz took his stump and slapped life with it until it granted him bitchin’ iron one. We weren’t kidding in the intro.
Now known as Götz of the Iron Hand, because of, well, his radical iron hand, Götz iron pimp slapped his way across Europe with a spring-loaded iron hand, fighting in countless battles where having the ability to punch through a man’s cranium probably came in handy.
So the next time you stub your toe, just remember that 400 years ago, a man had his own arm blown off and requested an iron one replacement, purely so he could continue to grip life by the balls and punch things. You really have no excuse when a guy like that existed.