Whether you believe genetics or upbringing is more important to how a person's life turns out, you can't deny that talented people tend to pop out of families in bunches. Michael wasn't the only Jackson kid who could sing.
And as it turns out, badassery is also handed down through the bloodlines. Just ask ...
The Famous One:
Royce Gracie is to UFC and MMA fighting what Wayne Gretzky used to be to hockey -- the one name even a novice fan will know. He won three of the first four Ultimate Fighting Championship tournaments and in general is the superstar who helped make MMA a big deal.
"I'm just gonna keep on punching until people take notice."
Royce came from a long, long line of MMA ass-kickers.
In 1925, Carlos Gracie founded a fighting academy to teach a new style of fighting called Brazilian jiujitsu. He's a demigod to martial arts fans, as this was the style that eventually became mixed martial arts and the UFC. Also, he was pretty good with a penis -- he fathered 21 children. More than half of them became black belts in BJJ, like he was building some kind of clone army.
To think our own measly ambitions begin and end with producing a Little League team.
But despite creating the art form, it was Carlos' brother Helio who perfected it. In his life, Helio had 19 professional matches, mostly against much bigger opponents, including former world wrestling champion Wladek Zbyszko, who was twice his weight, and sumo wrestler Massagoishi. Despite serious weight disadvantages, Helio only lost two of his matches.
Ironically, it was one of his losses that proved to be the greatest fight of his career. At 42 years old, Helio held his own against his 24-year-old former student Waldemar Santana in a no-holds-barred match before finally being knocked out ...
... after three hours and 42 minutes.
At least one of them here is having a quick nap.
Let that sink in for a second: Nearly four hours. Of continuous fighting. We get tired after four hours of video game fighting. Helio would finish his career as the first 10th degree red belt of BJJ. We assume a red belt is just a black belt that has become stained with the blood of his fallen enemies.
This is what happens when you fuck with the thermostat in the Gracie house.
The second generation of Gracies began with Carlos' oldest son, Carlson. Carlson would ride his wave of success through 18 matches (losing only one) before becoming Brazilian champion.
And seeking revenge for his uncle, he took out Santana four times.
However, Helio's son Rickson was unimpressed by his cousin's record and mastery of only a pitiful two styles of fighting. Rickson compiled a perfect 11-0 record in MMA, is a two-time Brazilian Freestyle Wrestling Champion and won a gold medal in Sambo. Rickson has mastered three styles of fighting in his life, including earning an 8th degree black and red belt in BJJ.
The aforementioned Royce Gracie is Rickson's brother, but it was his brother Rorion who actually founded the UFC, and less notably, taught Mel Gibson how to fight for Lethal Weapon. And that is the story of how one man's titanic sperm went on to give us the UFC and Lethal Weapon.
Apparently they follow the Highlander code and take each other on constantly.
The Famous One:
Manfred von Richthofen is better known as the Red Baron. If you only know one thing about World War I (the non-Hitler one), it's probably something to do with Germany's most notorious fighter pilot, with 80 confirmed kills to his name. If not that, then you at least know him from Snoopy cartoons or the frozen pizzas.
First image result for "Red Baron." Oh Google, you shame history.
The Red Baron had a younger brother named Lothar, who experts believe was probably a more formidable pilot than the Baron himself. His kill count was "only" 40, half of his brother's, but Lothar also just did not give a shit. In one engagement, he went flying head-on against a more heavily armed British plane, the two pouring machine gun bullets into one another, trying to see who would die first. (Note: It wasn't Lothar.) The man seemed to be in it just for the insanity. Or, as the Baron himself wrote about Lothar, "If my brother does not have at least one success on every flight he gets tired of the whole thing."
Lothar never forgave his older brother for taking the best nickname.
You might wonder how a man could take such continuous insane risks without crashing eventually. To which we reply, who said he never crashed? His biography reads like a documentary of the war's top ten most horrifying fighter crash landings, and he spent much of the war in hospital wards.
Again and again he went down. And again and again, he went up. After every skeleton-pulping plane crash he was subjected to, Lothar von Richthofen jumped straight up, ripped off his casts and got his ass right back into a fighter plane. The real world, as a general rule, doesn't work like the cartoons -- a toon pilot who crashes every episode might be funny, but in reality you can pull that shit maybe twice. But you couldn't tell that to Lothar.
"Third time's a charm?"
But surely his stunts eventually killed him, right? Of course not. He would outlive his much more careful brother. Lothar did die in a plane crash -- but it was an engine failure in a commercial plane, years after his comfortable retirement as a mail carrier.
Oh, and the Baron also had a cousin named Wolfram, who was also a badass fighter pilot in both world wars. He only killed eight people, but he was also the only Richthofen to not die while flying, so technically he has an infinite K/D ratio.
"I ran out of enemies so I took on cancer. It did not go well."
The Famous One:
We've talked about Lord Byron a few times before. To recap, he's one of the Western world's most accomplished poets, he fought in the Greek War of Independence and he ultimately had to leave Britain because he was having sex with everything.
"It was funny until the incest. -- Britain."
Ada was Byron's only (legitimate) child. Her mother, terrified she'd turn out to be an insane boning-machine war-hero poet like her dad, decided to go exactly the opposite way, and made her study mathematics pretty much from birth, which eventually got her into the social circle of one Charles Babbage. Babbage was kind of a mad-scientist type, and he had formulated a design for some outrageous futuristic machine he called an "analytical engine." Today, we call it a "computer." By the way, this was 1837.
"One day, there will be one of these in every home!"
When some guy wrote an article about Babbage's machine in French, Babbage wanted it translated so he could read what other people were saying about him. Ada translated it for him, but then she just kept on writing until she'd produced a paper three times the length of the original. What she had done was formulate a way that the analytical engine might one day be used to produce music, graphics and advanced calculations. She stopped just short of predicting Crysis.
She even created a special teabagging punch card.
Even Babbage, the guy who invented a computer at around the time of Napoleon, thought she was insane. For him, the contraption wasn't much more than a high-tech abacus. But when someone actually got around to building the damn thing -- nearly 100 years later -- they found that Ada's computer program worked perfectly. In a way, she's kind of the reason you're reading this right now, which we think is much cooler than a bunch of boring poetry.