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.
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.
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.
After 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.