Hmm...Sounds like the Sioux counting coup, doesn't it? There was more honor in touching a living enemy in battle than there was in killing him. They recounted these feats of bravery aound the council fire, like telling sea stories, only they did not lie about their exploits. On the other hand, a warrior who had decided it was his time, usually as the result of a vision or dream, nailed his sash to the ground with an arrow or spear, and there he fought to the death. I always respected that. He wasn't doing it to keep from running away, but to show his fellow tribesmen what he was doing.
These two sites give the story of one ofnthose young men who picked up their flag and took it forward. Sgt. William Carney, the first black sodier to earn the MOH. Stan