Martial artists, combat athletes, and human beings in general like to glorify warriors and the societies that produce them. And while some of them can provide some great inspiration, and occasionally produced some awesome people, the popular imagination seems to ignore or forget the fact that many of these people were products of cultures that we would find completely abhorrent.
Honorable Mention: Klingons
|"Dude, there is no way sensei is letting you bring that to weapons class..."|
And please, stop pretending like you don't know what I'm talking about. Martial artists are geeks. You know.
#5: Shaolin Monks
|"Come on ladies! You've almost achieved enlightenment!"|
Let's face it. These guys came up with a workout routine because they were so out of shape they couldn't make it through meditation, and then marketed it as a fighting tool. Centuries later, Billy Blanks would take this idea to it's logical conclusion.
In fairness though, when your monastery becomes a popular place for wanted criminals to hang out and retire, you probably have a few bad-asses hanging around.
|"Honey, the boys and I are going Viking for a couple of weeks. Do you need anything from Lindisfarne?"|
#3: Roman Gladiators
|"My contract says WHAT?"|
Again, not really a culture, but an occupation. The sort of occupation generally pursued by criminals or slaves. In fairness, these poor bastards actually share a lot in common with their supposed modern counterparts: fights were fixed, managers got more profit than fighters, and if you weren't doing well, they'd feed you to the wolves. Possibly literally.
|"Dude, seriously. It's a peasant. He's not really human."|
Ima break it down for you like this; if the Spartans were still around today, Prius's everywhere would be covered with bumper stickers reading "Free the Helots." These guys ran an apartheid military dictatorship, complete with secret police to take away offenders in the night, and a system of eugenics and indoctrination that included infanticide and child abuse.
|"Hey girl...who's your hot little friend?"|