1) Cop an attitude. The world's best ass-kicking can be undone by an apology. Don't be nice. This is the real world, not kindergarten. Mr. Roberts isn't going to give you a gold star for not hurting Elmo's feelings or whatever. (See, look, I just did it.) Having a conscience is what prevents my brother Alan from fully embracing the badass he was born to be. You can be a nice guy, or you can be a badass. No mercy.
2) Have weapons. Personally, I prefer blades--when fighting magicians and demands, you can't go wrong with a good sword. However, knives aren't practical in some situations (like American airports) and anytime you use a sword, you have to expect an amount of good-natured ribbing from family and friends about compensating for something. If you're awesome like me, you'll just cut them to ribbons, but if you're not quite as cool as me, you're probably better off with a lethal instrument that attracts a little less Freudian analysis.
3) Be a man, man. Even if you're a woman.
4) Practice. Nobody ever became badass without hard work. And let's face it (Jamie, I'm looking at you), getting into shape is just the tip on the iceberg. If you don't have dangerous enemies tracking your every move and just want to get a leg up in your fantasy football club, I guess you don't need to spend a lot of time at target practice or learning to identify demon marks, but a little basic combat training never goes awry. Just remember--watching UFC is fun, but there's no substitute for the real thing.
5) No fear. Any time you spend being afraid is just time you could have spent sharpening your weapons.
Well, that's about it. If you want to hear more from me (and be honest, how could you not?), you can check me out at http://www.sarahreesbrennan.com/ . I understand she's on a mission to make the world a little more badass one book at a time. Me, I don't trust books, but, hey, it's worth a shot.
[transcribed with great reluctance by Mae Crawford]