Gladiator School: Where Fighting is Allowed

We ran at each other like barbarians. Whoever got this last point won the match. I used the advice of our teacher, and lunged for her leg.
“5-4 Riley!”
I had won the match against my sister! Wa-bam!

Walking up to Gladiator school, I realized that we were just out in the middle of nowhere, the countryside of Rome. A BIG man greeted us. With arms bigger than my thighs, I was less scared when I noticed his outfit. Ougflak, our trainer, was wearing a tunic. He was ready to teach us everything about gladiators.


Gladiator training began in the museum, a shed-like warehouse featuring every medieval weapon imaginable. Some of the weapons included tridents, spears, helmets and swords of every design.


Medieval landmine. Roman soldiers would put animal or human poop on the spikes to ensure an infection for the enemy who stepped on it.

Medieval landmine. Roman soldiers would put animal or human poop on the spikes to ensure an infection for the enemy who stepped on it.

One of many weapons

One of many weapons

Gladiators were men who fought to the death for the public’s entertainment in ancient Rome.  Gladiator fighting was their idea of sports and entertainment, like going to a football game nowadays.  Gladiators fought in the Colosseum, a massive arena that held 50,000 to 80,000 people.  Most gladiators were slaves, criminals, or Christian martyrs; however, some were rich men seeking fame and fortune as professional gladiators.


A gladiator could bring one weapon of his choice into the arena. Men would fight other men or exotic animals, depending on how much training they were given and their weapon of choice. For example, if I chose a net, I could only fight someone with a helmet the net could catch on to break my opponent’s neck.  The chance of losing a fight was 1 out of 10 for a professional gladiator. Unfortunately, the chance of making it out of the arena alive for criminals and Christians was the opposite.

P1010176After the classroom lesson came the physical training. We warmed up with an obstacle course, then came the sword moves. We learned five ways to hit and block: head, stomach, arm, leg, and neck. Arms and legs were one point a blow, the stomach and back were three points. The head is off limits. With lots of practice, I was ready to fight.

The fighting sets were Delaney and me; my mom and dad; and the two other boys.

“Who will go first?” asked Ougflak.
Not us, not us, I thought.
“Delaney and Riley?”

Lucky me. Ougflak handed us a small shield and a fake sword and said we were playing to five points. Using his sword, he scratched the fighting circle in the dirt. We started on separate sides of the ring, and we began to fight. Delaney got me in the arm, which gave her one point. The next round started, and I got a point. Tied 1-1. Then, she hit me in the stomach, four points for her total. One for me. I tried to keep my head clear, and got myself another point. She was still ahead, 4-2. If I could hit her in the stomach or back, I would be given three points and win the game.

And that’s exactly what I did.



I enjoyed Gladiator school for two main reasons: 1) I didn’t have to listen to an audio guide, and 2) I had my parents’ permission to fight with my sister. We had a lot of fun learning about the gladiator games, but I don’t understand how people enjoyed watching the real thing. It’s hard to believe that for hundreds of years, this was their major form of entertainment.

I would much rather go to the movies.



  1. Leigh Mathews · · Reply

    Riley, this sounds like so much fun! I’m enjoying keeping up with you through your posts, so keep them coming 🙂 It sounds like you guys are having a great time and are getting to enjoy all sorts of cool things. Thanks for posting about your adventures. Love, Mrs. Mathews
    P.S. Nice job with your writing…very descriptive 😉


    1. Thanks for reading! I enjoy hearing from you!
      Riley 😀😀


  2. Tre Munger · · Reply

    Very cool Riley! I’m glad you guys are enjoying yourselves. Don’t forget about us at LPM.


    1. Okay! Thanks for reading!


  3. sally moon · · Reply

    micah moon says “THAT IS SOO COOL!” what a way to learn about ancient roman history– luv it! and my personal favorite is the stoic looking family picture at the end! we love following your journey! xoxo, the moon family


    1. It has definitely been my favorite thing in Italy so far! Thanks for reading. Riley


  4. Wow! You girls are really learning a lot!!!! A lot more than school and think of how much more fun it is this way too! Will be scared of you when you get back since you are a trained fighter! Laughing at how awesome your Dad is letting you girls shave his head! Looks like a true gladiator! Have fun and keep it coming! Kristen and Nicole are loving your stories!


    1. Thanks!! I did feel like a professional cutting my dad’s hair!


  5. · · Reply

    Riley~ totally cool!
    If it were a battle between Corinne and Isabelle…….I think Izzy should run for the nearest exit!


    1. Hahaha! Thanks for reading! 😄


  6. Todd & LaDonna · · Reply

    Sorry, Dale. I can’t really tell for sure if your head is shaved. 😉


    1. Todd,

      Kellie and the girls have been trying to get me to shave my head for a while now. I let Delaney and Riley shave my head in Sorrento; but not all the way down to my scalp. As they were almost finished, the brand new shaver died! Of course, the shaver does not want to re-charge now, so I let Riley take the scissors and try to finish the job. I also grew a goatee for about a week, but Kellie would not let me kiss her. No more facial hair for sure, but the jury’s still out on whether or not I’ll keep the very short hair…



  7. Todd & LaDonna · · Reply

    What great writing, Riley! This is like a novel I can’t put down….but it’s like Candy Crush because it’s over until tomorrow even if I’m not ready to quit. 😉 Love you guys. Can’t wait for the next adventure! LaDonna


    1. Thank you! I’m supposed to do a post a week, and will keep you posted. Riley


  8. Thank you Riley for your post. Papaw and I were were distressed not hearing from you.
    Whenever did you have to have permission to fight with your sister. You know I would have loved going to Gladiator School with you and Delaney. Can’t wait until I know what “we” are going to do next. Wish I were with you, but then who would Jingles walk around their head to get them up in the mornings. Love you all.


    1. Thanks for the reply Nanaw. I miss you and Papaw. Tell Jngles I love her. Bye!


    2. Hey Nanaw and Papaw! I miss y’all. P.S. Florence is WAY better than Rome.


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