And they say travel bloggers are a friendly bunch – and we usually are…that is until you put us into a gladiator ring to fight until our deaths! OK, we didn’t really fight until our deaths, but pride was at stake and there was a title to be won.
Our gladiator guide, Marcus was intimating – shouting at us and pointing a finger in our face for any slight indiscretion by one of our group of wannabe gladiators. He simmered down as he dove into nearly an hour of Gladiator history, peppered with some interesting facts about gladiators, but a bit too long. Among the most memorable was learning that the sheath that a gladiator’s sword is held in is also the same name for a female body part. To follow where the foreseeable and predictable jokes that a teenage boy would find amusing. Despite the fact that none of us were teenage boys, we cracked up anyway – I blame it on the gladiator costumes.
Finally it was time to get into the gladiator ring. I took my stance as we learned 10 moves, 5 for offense and 5 for defense which I practiced against my opponent Ryan from HouseTrip.
Despite the simplicity of the moves they were decidedly complicated when sequenced together – or perhaps it was just my lack of coordination. Reminding myself that if I was in the ring several thousand years ago, my life would have been at stake, I stepped up my game.
Everyone had their own unique style. Andrea from Destination Europe smiled as she threw blow after blow.
Dave and Deb from The Planet D looked downright fierce, while I tried to use my silver earrings to distract my opponent. Ryan was very competitive, but hid it well appearing almost serene.
In Roman times gladiators were often prisoners that were given the chance to fight for their life or face execution. Most choose to fight since at least the odds were better than the latter alternative. Eventually a prisoner would be freed once he had won enough times, but ironically not knowing any other life, would like become a professional gladiator.
The preliminary rounds began. Deb cleans up in the first few rounds. Then it was my turn. I took a deep breath and stepped into the ring, ready to face Ryan – for real this time, no more practice. My life depended on applying the gladiator skills I had learned. I was ready for this I could do this. First swipe to my leg. Ryan appeared to be faster now that he was in the ring than he had during practice. Focus. Next swipe to my leg. Note to self, block leg or ideally touch his shoulder first before he touches my leg. Remember to breath. Next swipe and what proved to be the fatal swipe to my leg. It was over, I was knocked out in the first round. Sigh, I really thought I would have made a good gladiator.
Next it was the finale. Ryan vs Dave. It was intense. It was close, but in the end Dave was the victor. Dave had won the battle of the bloggers – this time. Battle of the Bloggers 2 anyone?
Know Before You Go to Gladiator School
- Rome Gladiator School is cheesy, but it’s also good fun and you will learn basic combat moves and a lot about gladiator history
- Gladiator School lasts 2 hours and can be booked at various times throughout the day
- The cost is €55/person (4-9 people). Individuals and smaller groups can also book, but the cost is more per person
- Rome Gladiator School is located ~2.5km from the Colosseum
- I recommend staying in this amazing apartment in Rome with views of the Colosseum
- You can book your own Rome Gladiator Adventure through Viator