The 6 Most Badass Families of All-Time
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 Red Baron's Family, the Richthofens
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.
The Famous One:
Marie Curie was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes in two different disciplines, the first female professor at the University of Paris and the single most important figure in the study of radiation. She later died horribly of radiation poisoning.
Keeping radioactive isotopes in your desk drawer will do that.
The Curies just kept winning freaking Nobel Prizes. Marie's daughter Irene Joilot-Curie bagged a Nobel for discovering that we can actually create elements in a lab instead of having to go out and mine them. You know how, back in the really olden days, alchemists used to think they could turn lead into gold? Yeah, Curie's daughter figured out how to do that.
Some people play God. Others outdo Him.
Meanwhile, her sister, Eve, the intellectual black sheep of the family, decided to become a reporter instead of a physicist. But not just any reporter -- she did it Curie style, visiting some of the most dangerous places in the world as a war correspondent before volunteering in the Medical Corps, because apparently being a war correspondent was too dull. Then she dedicated the rest of her life to working with her husband to help children through UNICEF -- a career that won him the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Hey, Roosevelt Jr.! Tell your dad the family has finished work on his chassis."
Meanwhile, Irene's children continue to make us all look like failures. Helene is a nuclear research scientist who advises France on how to handle anything radioactive, while Pierre, a biologist, is Director of Research for the French National Center of Scientific Research. By the way, the Curies hold the most Nobel Prizes out of any family. At this point they're just handing it out to them by default.
"Oh look, you're standing unaided -- have an Emmy."
The Famous One:
As we've mentioned before, Tenzing Norgay is one of history's most underappreciated badasses. Despite an equal claim to fame, Norgay has been ignored in the West in favor of his more relatable (read: white) partner, Sir Edmund Hillary. So is it any shock that his offspring have been ignored as well?
"Hahaha! When the fog closes in you're going straight over that cliff!"
With his three (simultaneous) wives, Norgay fathered a whole gaggle (troupe? squadron? murder?) of Sherpas, the most notable of whom is his son Jamling. Following, and eventually outdoing, his father's legacy, Jamling climbed Everest twice. To highlight the badassery of this, in 1996 during his first ascent, 12 climbers died. So he made the completely rational decision to go right back up there in 2002.
"Hey, Hilary Jr., wasn't it great when you almost slipped off that ridge but regained your balance?"
However, Tenzing's most successful relative was his nephew Nawang Gombu. At 16, Gombu accompanied his uncle on his famous expedition. At 16, we were accompanying our uncle to our grandparents' house. And bitching about it.
Oh, and remember how we said Jamling climbed Everest twice? Well, Gombu was the first person to accomplish this; a feat which would go unmatched for almost 20 years. He was also the youngest Sherpa to reach 26,000 feet, as well as only the third man to ever summit the incredibly difficult Nanda Devi. During his life, Gombu was awarded the Tenzing Norgay Lifetime Achievement Award, an Olympic gold medal and a Tiger's Medal (which itself earned the Coolest Named Medal Medal).
"Finally got rid of the bastards."
The Famous One:
Former President Teddy Roosevelt. We think he's kind of manly.
Let's start with the only son of a president to be the namesake of a Muppet: Kermit Roosevelt.
Kermit started his career in badassery by going on a lengthy journey up the Amazon with his dad, presumably to find something Teddy hadn't killed yet and then kill it. It went disastrously wrong, and it turned into a rescue mission to get Teddy out of the jungle before it killed him. Kermit's task: save his father from the terrifying wilderness, plus the rest of the party, and stop his dad from killing himself with a vial of morphine he had in his pocket. Oh, and he also had malaria and refused to take any medication, giving it all to his dad.
This is the man Teddy Roosevelt called when shit got too real.
They survived, and Kermit went on to fight in both world wars.
His brother Theodore Roosevelt II, meanwhile, also served in two world wars, racking up a distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star and a freaking Medal of Honor, which he got by bugging his superiors into leading the first assault at Normandy. Once there, he pretty much strolled around like it was a rainy day despite being in his 50s and having lots of Germans trying desperately to kill him. He died during the war, but not because of the Germans: He had a heart attack, as there is only so much masculinity a human heart can endure.
That means his heart alone was deadlier than the entire Wehrmacht.
Let's not forget the youngest of the Roosevelt boys, Quentin. He died in World War I, but was such a masterful fighter pilot that the people he was fighting -- the Germans -- buried him with full military honors after he was shot down over their territory. In short, we're pretty sure that all three of them jumped out of the womb with a bayonet between their teeth and punched the doctor in the dick for daring to touch their mother.
We expect his whole family tree was bada -- awwwww.
For more complete badasses, check out The 5 Most Badass (And Possibly Insane) Athletes Of All-Time and 5 Authors More Badass Than The Badass Character They Created.