When you talk about feudal Japan, most of the discussion about shit being "awesome" and "totally fucking awesome" is directed towards Samuraiand Ninjas - two badass professions that have more media attention heaped on them than Brett Favre's last bowel movement. What a lot of people don't realize is that medieval Japanese Buddhist warrior-monks were seriously fucking harsh. Nowadays, when you think about Buddhism, you picture a bunch of skinny little Asian guys in funny costumes with shaved heads sitting cross-legged in front of a giant stone carving humming to themselves, burning incense, picking daisies and trying not to accidentally crush poor, harmless insects while they're in the process of attaining spiritual enlightenment and harmony with the universe. Fuck that. Back in the day, Buddhist warrior-monks were hardcore motherfuckers who lived alone in the mountains, spent all day breaking cinderblocks over their heads, drinking home-made wine, getting it on with concubines, and training in all different forms of martial arts. They played a critical role in Japanese history, often times rushing down from the mountains to beat the shit out of motherfucking samurai warlords who pissed them off by not being "Buddhist enough", beating up Christian missionaries, or smashing non-believers into shrapnel with their foreheads. Not even the Emperor was safe - these guys would come down and warn him that if he didn't change his policies they would ballnock him into the next galaxy, and if he didn't listen to him they would break into his palace at night and assassinate him with their boners.
As a military organization, the warrior-monks were fucking hard as hell. Every major clan in history fought against them, but no matter how many monasteries they burned to the ground, more would just pop right back up again. In the 16th century, they defied the mighty Oda Nobunaga, and he ended up laying seige to the temple at Honganji for ten years before finally capturing it. Shit, even today the Buddhist monks are more hardcore than the U.S. Marine Corps Xtreme Sports Surfing Team - try reading about the fucking Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei some time. Those guys run around the mountains for 1,000 days straight with only three hours sleep a night. Then they mediate for another 1,000 days in a row. Oh, and that's just the initiation ritual. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that warrior-monks are pretty goddamned badass, and perhaps the most balls-out of these dudes was a guy known as Jomyo Meishu of Tsutsui.
Clad from head-to-toe in black samurai armor with a black scabbard hanging from his sword-belt, a quiver of black-feathered arrows on his shoulder and a well-worn Naginata clenched firmly in his hands, the warrior-monk Tsutsui Jomyo Meishu stood on the banks of the Uji River staring out at the horde of samurai on the other side of the raging water. Behind him was his monastery, a place he called home - where he had spent his entire life in training and careful meditation about the nature of badassitude. Tsutsui and his fellow monks had formed up in their battle gear this day to defend their temple - and the Emperor's young son, who was hidden in the halls of the monastery - from the blood-soaked katanas of the vengeful Taira Clan samurai. The monks had already pulled up the planks of the bridge over the Uji River, leaving only two narrow support beams not more than six inches in width, thereby making it impossible for the Taira horsemen to ride into the monastery and wreak havoc. But this was only a temporary solution. The Taira would eventually find a way to cross the river, and when they did it would spell the complete fucking destruction of the temple. No, Tsutsui Jomyo Meishu was going to take these fuckers down while he still had a fighting chance. He took two steps forward and called out to his enemy:
Let those at a distance listen, and those that are near me see; I am Tsutsui Jomyo Meishu, the worker-monk. Who here dares to fight me, a warrior worth a thousand? Come out, anyone who thinks himself worthy!"
The men on the other side jeered at him, so he pulled out his longbow, nocked an arrow, and let it fly through the throat of one of his enemies. The Taira archers opened fire on the monks, sending seemingly-endless waves of arrows after them, but Jomyo Meishu remained steadfast in his determination. He continued firing like a badass medieval sniper, each arrow finding its mark. Of the twenty-four arrows he launched at the enemy, he killed twelve men and wounded another eleven. Since that only accounts for twenty-three casualties and he fired twenty-four arrows, I'm assuming that one of the guys in the "wounded" column must have actually had both of his eye sockets turned into giant erupting geysers of blood.
As a badass fucking warrior-monk, merely shooting more people than a 1980s Chuck Norris movie only really succeeded in getting Jomyo's blood-lust activated, and now he needed to satisfy his honor with some serious hand-to-hand combat. He kicked off his armored boots and ran barefoot across the six-inch beam over the river like a homicidal Olympic gymnast, crossing rapidly without so much as taking a single mis-step. As he reached the far side, he pulled out his weapon and prepared to do battle with the Taira.
Jomyo's naginata whirled through the air, dealing death to anyone foolish enough to be standing in his wheelhouse. In a flash of steel, five brave samurai fell into the river, their necks and faces slashed like prices at a discount retail store. Jomyo then ducked out of the way of a mighty sword blow and jammed the pointy part of the spear right through the torso of his attacker. When he attempted to retrieve it, the pole snapped in half. Jomyo then rolled out of the way of another attack, pulled out his sword and waded directly into the throng of samurai that now surrounded him. He bravely fought like a goddamned crazy person, utilising styles such as the cross-cut, the dragonfly reverse, the waterwheel, and probably a bunch of other maneuvers that sound like they should be the names of special moves in some kind of crazy video game.
In a frenzy of blood, death, and Japanese profanity, Jomyo rapidly dispatched another eight warriors. With his fellow warrior-monks now rushing across the remnants of the bridge to assist him, our hero slashed another samurai on the top of his head with his sword, dealing a blow so completely fucking massive that it split the guy's head open and shattered the blade in Jomyo's hands. Realistically, you'd think this would have been the end of poor Jomyo, but holy shit - he pulled out his fucking knife and continued fighting. When this last-resort weapon became hopelessly lodged between the plates of his enemies' armor, he resorted to punches, knee strikes and flying side kicks. Eventually, exhausted and out of weapons, one of Jomyo's comerades physically grabbed him and pulled him from the fray.
Even though the inspired warrior-monks were continuing to savagely battle the Taira samurai on the far bank of the river, Jomyo's knuckles hurt like a motherfucker and he knew he didn't have any more fight left in him. Tired and worn down, he slowly removed his armor. Upon examination, he found sixty-three dents, including five arrows that were still lodged in the metal plates. Jomyo Meishu, the man who had just single-handedly killed twenty-seven men and wounded dozens more, simply laughed, put his priestly garments back on, and walked off the field of battle, quietly chanting Buddhist hymns to himself and he went.
The Tale of the Heike