I came across an interesting word during my holiday reading. The following comes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love” …
“The word amok, as in running amok, is a Balinese word describing a battle technique of suddenly going insanely wild against one’s enemies in suicidal and bloody hand-to-hand combat. The Europeans were frankly terrified by this practise.”
The word reminded me of others; (note: pronounciation sound files are in the links for each word)
The norse warriors had their beserkers.
The turks had/have their whirling dervishes. Although, I discovered that these were religious trance-seekers rather than fighters.
The sumurai had harikari.
Various sections of Celtic warriors (there were many in various countries, so it’s hard to generalise) painted themselves with scary images in blue paint (woad), battles naked to show these images, and screamed a lot at their opposition. But I couldn’t find a word for that behaviour – sugggestions on a postcard, please.
It makes me wonder why such scary fighting methods would have arisen spontaneously in so many different contexts. I suspect excess hormones may be at the root of it. But we’ll probably never know. Military research is usually kept top secret, isn’t it?
So the next time you’re trapped in traffic, delayed by pointless jobsworth nonsense, or simply narked off, just smile, knowing how much you’d scare the populace if you chose to fight crazy.
Happy reading, writing, and wordfooling,