Become Spartacus at the World’s Only Traditional School for Gladiators

Roman Gladatorial games may have been banned almost two millennia ago, but you can still train to become a modern-day Spartacus at Italy’s Scuola Gladiatori Roma, the only genuine school for gladiators in the world.

Following the success of box-office hits like Gladiator, starring Russel Crowe, or HBO’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand series, the popularity of ancient gladiators has reached record highs. But few fans of these ancient warriors know they can do more than build their own gladiator armor and read-up on their history on obscure websites. At the Scuola Gladiatori Roma, in Rome, they can actually train to fight in the arena like their lives depended on it. Students have to go through rigorous physical training that tests their agility, coordination, speed and strength, before moving on to the actual weapons training and finally facing their experienced instructor in the arena. True wannabe gladiators attend courses for several months, even years, and become specialized in certain weapons and combat techniques, according to their physique. But for those with less free-time on their hands, the Scuola Gladiatori Roma offers a “Gladiator for a Day” experience that puts participants through a crash course on gladiator training in ancient Rome.


Photo: Scuola Gladiatori Roma/Facebook

To become skilled gladiators, Roman slaves needed to be in tip-top physical shape, so students at Rome’s gladiator school first go through an assault course, consisting of ropes, benches, dangling sand bags and a rotating blade carousel that requires, speed, coordination and lightning-fast reflexes to conquer. Once they are deemed ready, participants move on to the second stage of training, weapon practice. Just like the fighters of ancient Rome, they train with a wooden sword called “Rudus”, which is lighter and safer than a metal blade and teaches them to judge the distance from their opponent. Real gladiators spent hours every day practicing their moves and techniques, but during the Gladiator for a Day experience, you have to pick up the basic moves in record time. Once students get used to their weapon, they are taken to the armory where they suit up in genuine armor for their very first combat experience in the arena. They face their trainer, and most often than not, students have to accept defeat in a matter of seconds, but the taste of the sand and the feeling of impeding death as they hit the ground is an unforgettable experience.


Photo: Scuola Gladiatori Roma/Facebook

But this is just the short version of what it feels like to be a gladiator. Students who register for the Gruppos Storico Romano pay a €25 ($33) fee for the first four months and €5 ($7) for every month after that, for in-depth training. During the first two weeks, they are only allowed to use the Rudus, so the trainers can asses what weapon and armor is best suited for their abilities, after which they can specialize as Thrax, Hoplomachus, Secutor or several other gladiator classes. At the Scuola Gladiatori Roma, students are tested periodically to prove they have mastered all the skills and are ready to move on with the training. After reaching the highest level of gladiator, they have to fight against their “Doctore” in the arena, and if they win, they themselves are given a diploma of Doctore in their class.


The spirit of the school is to emulate the gladiators of old, but its most fundamental rule is to have fun without getting hurt.

Source: Men’s Fitness