When in Rome, we seek to do as the Romans. So for Max's birthday we enrolled the three oldest kids in Gladiator training school.
Max, "Today we did gladiator training. We finished school and drove to this improved school. It took forever, but when we got there a man showed us a small museum and we learned all sorts of facts about gladiators and their helmets. Like different helmets meant that they used different weapons, and that it was betting that earned owners money and kept the gladiator business rolling."
|First we learned about Roman soldiers and helmets, the structure|
of the Roman army, and a bit of Roman warfare tactics.
The helmets did much more than simply protect the gladiator, different shaped helmets told a story about the gladiator. By the shape the audience knew which weapon he specialized in, they also had an idea of how hindered he would be by lack of vision or inability to breathe well. Some gladiators did not get helmets at all. I'm not sure if the protection it offered would have been worth the sacrifice of limited vision and getting all hot and stuffy, plus they were really heavy!
Gladiators were not always killed in the ring. In the beginning many gladiators were lost to "battles to the death." Later on gladiators became celebrities and their lives became more valuable to the men that they worked for if the audience knew their history and how to bet. Gladiators were trained, professional fighters who specialized in a specific weapon from an early age. True, many were slaves, some were forced to become gladiators and some volunteered seeing it as a way to improve their station in life. The games themselves were often rigged to help increase the gambling money that a fighter would win, and often the audience would help decided weather a losing gladiator should also loose his life or wether they wanted to see him live to fight another day.
It never ceases to amaze me how these kids take the same temperature differently.
Once we had learned some history it was time for training to begin. It was fun to watch the instructor run the kids through the course. He acted his part of a tough, no nonsense, trainer very well. He yelled in their faces, screamed at them to go faster, told them they were no good and would be better as "flesh for the lions," and made them run a physically demanding course about 10 times. At one point I thought some might break under his strict harshness, but they kept at it.
Tessa, "We did a course where we had a rope and had to jump from side to side over it then you ran to the flying rocks and dodged them, after that you jumped over two benches did a somersault and finally 5 push ups. "
Max, "Our instructor acted like an army sergeant. We dodged swinging bags, jumped ropes, and rolled. He taught us moves and defenses. Then we fought each other in the ring. If you got hit 10 times you were out. I lost against Maggie 9/10 then won mom 2/3. It was a fun day!"
Max was completely focused. Maggie mostly laughed, but learned the moves. Tessa looked more like she was out chasing butterflies with her sword and giggling than trying to become a warrior.
|Going through training exercises.|
|Max, catching his sword.|
|Happy graduates of Gladiator Training School.|