What does it take to be considered a "powerful man" these days? As it turns out, it takes quite a lot, as this collection of tough guys illustrates.
With the help of Old Spice's 16-hour odor blocker, we've put together a list of some of the most powerful, impressive men in history. We based our search on names you may not have heard in the past, who made a name for themselves by defying every odd known to man to overcome some of the greatest feats & odds conceivable.
Captain Sigurdur Petursson was navigating his fishing boat through the waterways of the frozen lands of Naydor, when he spotted a 675-pound shark swimming towards his crew, who were wading through shallow water to harness a whale they'd just kiled.
The shark, clearly attracted by the scent of whale blood, was headed straight for Petursson's men, so he did what any rational man would do: he jumped in after the thing (a close "rational" second to, y'know, calling out a warning to the guys). The captain waded over to the ocean beast, grabbed the 14ft shark’s tail, pulled it to shore and proceeded to stab it to death with his knife.
“In deep water they do have power, but I was surprised at the ease I could pull it backwards," Sigurdur explained. "It was not a matter of strength, it was a matter of courage.”
The man can downplay the feat all he wants, but there's not much room for discrediting a man who jumps in the water and kills a sharkwith his bare hands. Yeah, he had a knife - so what?
Things have gone back to normal for Siggi, but he's always got his eye out for adventure these days. "My next challenge is to kill a polar bear!" he says. Tough luck for the polar bear.
46 year-old Ed Wiseman was minding his own business when the first grizzly bear anybody had seen in Colorado in 28 years came charging at him. The 14-year hunting guide had led a party of bow hunters into the rugged back country of the San Juan Mountains in search of elk, when he split from base camp for a little afternoon hunt - with only a bow & arrow and a knife in his backpack.
The 450-pound grizzly was hungry, and Ed was the perfect-size meal for her post-hibernation hunger. "I heard a bear growling and running at me through the pine trees," Wiseman recalled. The mature female rammed the hunter, knocking him down and sending his bow flying.
Wiseman rolled into a ball and played dead, but the bear was hungry and took the scene as an easy meal. She started biting into the frightened man, and settled in for a full chow-down.
"I let it go on for a while, but it was getting worse," Ed recounted. "I could actually hear the flesh tearing when she bit me."
Seeing an arrow on the ground, Wiseman rolled closer to his only chance at survival and picked up the broadhead hunting arrow just in time to jam it into the bear's throat. He pulled out and stabbed the grizzly again as she was going in for another bite, breaking the arrow in half as blood surged from her jugular vein. The bear stopped attacking, backed off and sauntered up a nearby hill, where it quickly bled out and died.
Bleeding badly and suffering a broken leg, Wiseman spent the night in below-zero temperatures before being rescued. He still returns to the site of the attack from time to time, but we're pretty sure he's packing heat in the wilderness these days.
Simo Hayha took badass to an entirely new level in 1939, when the Soviet Union invaded his homeland (Finland) and he decided to abandon the farm life to defend his country.
In six feet of snow, at 20-40 degrees below zero, Simo climbed a tree with a few cans of food and set about blasting dozens of Russians into oblivion all by his lonesome. His white camouflage outfit and total invisibility in the snow earned him the nickname "The White Death." Well, that and the fact that he killed absolutely everything the Russians threw at him, which included elite special-forces units and a team of counter-snipers.
Over the course of 100 days, Hayha killed a total of 705 people, making a love child between Chuck Norris and the Terminator look like Steve Urkel. Even crazier is that he made over 500 of the kills using a standard, bolt-action rifle with non-telescopic sights.
Hayha was finally brought down on March 6th, 1940, with a shot to the head by an exploding bullet. When some other soldiers found him and brought him back to base, he had "half his head missing." They missed one detail, however: he wasn't dead. After waking from a coma on the day the war ended, Hayha was promoted straight from corporal to second lieutenant, the fastest rank-leap in Finland's military history.
It's unlikely that Hayha ever bought his own drinks again until his death in 2002.
The concept of a man who's able to bring down an 800-pound killing machine with a single punch to the face is usually best left for the comic books, but try telling that to Masutatsu Oyama.
Oyama began his martial arts training at age nine in a form of Kempo called Eighteen Hands, quickly asserting himself as a masterful learner of the craft. Relentless in his self-discipline and determined to achieve the highest levels of mastery in the art, Oyama - who was pissed to have missed out on the fighting in WWII and wanted to prove his honor another way - disappeared into the wilderness for 18 months to hone his superhuman skills, punching trees, living off the land and meditating under icy waterfalls.
In 1947, after he'd broken enough rocks with his fists to make the mountain beg for mercy, he came down the mountain to obliterate the competition in the Japanese National Martial Arts Championship. Then he went back up into the mountains for another 18 months. When he returned, Mas had an idea that was suicidal by anyone else's standards.
In order to show the supreme strength of his karate, Oyama would perform feats of strength by fighting full-grown bulls bare-handed. Yes, giant freakin' horned raging death machines. With his bare hands.
In all, Oyama fought 52 bulls, three of which he instantly killed with just one punch. The other 49 had their horns taken off with knife hand blows. He is listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as killing a full grown charging bull with a single strike to the forehead.
Oyama was given the title of "God Hand," the ultimate achievement of the martial artist. The honor is awarded after displaying the ability to defend oneself with a single blow to your opponent causing "Instant Death".
Throughout the '50s and '60s, evidently when the rest of the surviving bulls refused to fight him, the man with deadly hands took on a total of 270 different human fighters in organized competitions, defeating the vast majority of them with one punch. Fights never lasted more than three minutes, and most rarely lasted more than a few seconds.
It was a simple formula, really: whatever limb defenders would use to block Oyama's punch wound up broken or dislocated. If the punch landed in its desired location, the fight was over.
Captain Jack Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill
If we'd have let him, there's a good chance that World War II allied commander Captain Jack Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, aka "Mad Jack" could've won the entire damn war on his own.
Captain Jack's motto was "Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed." Nevermind that developed nations hadn't actually used swords in combat in ages, opting instead for crater-blasting explosives and bullets - Churchill wore a sword no matter what, a claymore no less, and dared anybody to laugh at him.
If they laughed before, they sure as hell stopped when he singlehandedly captured a total of 42 Germans and a mortar squad in the middle of the night, using only his sword. Later, after his team were blasted to Hamburger Helper by a German fortification called "Point 622," Churchill charged ahead through the maze of barbed wire and mines, in total darkness, and proceeded to eliminate nearly the entire platoon.
He was caught, and after being sent to a concentration camp, he simply walked out. They caught him again, and sent him to a new camp, which he also escaped with little effort. Keep in mind that these concentration camps were fortified enclosures where nearly six million people perished, and he simply walked out. After being rescued following a 150-mile walk, Churchill demanded to be sent back into the field, only to find out that the war had ended while he was in captivity. Lucky for the Germans.