Remember the second Indian Jones movie, not the screaming chick or the pointless sidekick. Think about the insane, skull worshiping Indians. It turns out they were pretty real and if that hadn’t been Hollywood magic they would have killed professor Jones three times before he could have said one single cool one-liner.
The Thuggee were an ancient Indian cult who prayed to Kali, the goddess of insanity and every kind of violence you can imagine. They were also the first to create an organized crime cartel that used complex props, paramilitary techniques and misinformation in order to kill more than 30,000 travelers; but they didn't kill because they were mean, it was just the proper way to give sacrifice to Kali. You had to kill at night with a yellow scarf, twisted into a noose and you were never supposed to spill blood. Also you could not kill a relatively long list of people including lepers. Turns out Kali doesn't like lepers.
The society was so secret and well organized that it took the British government almost 200 years to figure out that something was wrong and another 50 to break the organization apart. The cult was so powerful that the word “Thug” entered the dictionary because of them.
You always wanted to grow a bad-a$@ beard and a sweet handlebar mustache but never found the right reason? How about joining a religion where you must look as manly as possible at all times? Oh and as a bonus you get a dagger when you're first baptized; a sharp implement of death which you must carry with you at all times. What would you do with said dagger? You fight anyone who dares oppress you such as the Mongols, the Muslims or the British. Being outnumbered just makes the whole fighting more fun for everybody. And because no other martial art was intense enough the sikhs also invented their own fighting style, named Gatka
Still not convinced that the Sikh religion is bad-$@? During the First and Second World War the Sikh battalions won a record amount of medals and in the words of a British general they regularly entered battle "during shell fire, with no other protection but the turban, the symbol of their faith."
Heck even Winston Churchill mentioned their bravery "In the war, they fought and died for us, wearing the turbans."... hmm that turban comment might have been a bit racist Sir. Churchill, but we'll let it fly on account of keeping Britain Nazi free.
But since a handful of medals is not enough the Sikh also have also fought in what is generally accepted as the "the greatest stories of collective bravery in human history," namely the Battle of Saragarhi where 21 Sikh soldiers chose to fight against 10,000 Afghan soldiers.
It all comes with the beard...
We covered a lot of cool religions so far, but maybe growing large beards and carrying daggers is not really your style. If you'd prefer to shave your head and you want to turn your hands into deadly fighting tools, have you considered the Shaolin Monks?
The Shoaolin monks have trained themselves to ignore such minor inconveniences like sharp spears or swords and they can hang around in nooses without such issues, like dying. Even more, almost every martial art in the world seems to be connected in one way or another to the Shaolin temple and these bad-a$@ monks that spend most of their time breaking stuff with their heads.
Need even more proof of how awesome the Shaolin are? How about the fact that in order to defeat them in 1732 the Chinese emperor imported Tibetan Lamas (we assume they used the holly men not the animal) who had knowledge of a secret flying weapon.Yep, the emperor of China had to use helicopters to defeat the Shaolin. However, despite being burned down repeatedly, the monastery was always rebuilt and is still there today, accepting new members.
- - Mithraism : http://img211.imageshack.us/img211/6016/mithra1.jpg http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/2/arrowmithra.jpg
- - Greek Orthodox : http://www.ancilnance.com/greece/greece-Images/2.jpg http://www.greeceathensaegeaninfo.com/a-greece-travel/a-greece-taxi-paul/meteora.jpg http://www.fontcraft.com/images/monk.jpg
- - Tengriism: http://wargamesfactory.lefora.com/composition/attachment/bd9f79b7e1c913f388c719dcb252453a/370443/mongols-791113.jpg http://sanseverything.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/300.jpg
- - Thuggee : http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3586/3801331175_1668938bd8.jpg http://www.fatima.org/news/newsviews/images/kali.jpe
- - Sikhism : http://www.badassoftheweek.com/fanmail-sikh.jpg
- - Shaolin Monks: http://www.thestarexplosion.com/shaolin-monk.jpg