Life Lessons From a Gladiator


A few years ago, I went to Italy and one of the best activities I did was Gladiator Training.

Yes, we donned tunics, learned tons of stuff about the history of gladiators and the Romans (did you know that Roman soldiers were on average less than 5 feet tall? People were MUCH shorter way back then), and learned how to use a sword. We even had our own battle tournament at the end to display our new skills.

The adventure was all about getting out of our comfort zone and I would say we sure accomplished that.

The first part of our gladiator training was to learn all about gladiators and that part of Roman history. There is a small museum on the site that really helps drive home the fact that you should be glad you didn’t live in that time period.

After our history lesson, we proceeded to “warm up”. I am fairly certain that our trainer was laughing all the way to the bank during this activity. Only a tourist would pay someone to put them through an obstacle course in an oversized red tunic.

We ran; we did push ups in the dirt; we did squats under a rope, and all sorts of other bootcamp type exercises. We were definitely warmed up by the time we were done.

Once we were hot and sweaty (and gasping for breath), we received wooden swords (called rudis) and learned how to attack and defend in five key ways. I wasn’t so great at remembering all the moves.

Then we got REAL metal swords. Yes, they gave us real swords (I know…crazy). They were heavy too. So we got to practice all our moves with the real thing.

Finally, it was all out warfare with a tournament between us. We had foam covered swords and shields for this. We had three rounds, with the first to get to 5 points, and the winner of the most rounds wins all. I won—barely.

GladiatorIt was an awesome experience. Here are a few key lessons we learned from being a gladiator (besides how to hold a sword):

Be present.

We had no choice but to be truly present in the moment (no thinking about what to eat for supper or where the next wine tasting would be or which shoes we wanted to purchase next). You need to be present and focused in your life if you want to succeed. This goes for everything.

Look into each others’ eyes.

When you are fighting, you must watch the other person’s eyes, not their sword. The eyes tell you what they will do next. Same in life; look into a person’s eyes if you want to truly know what they are feeling and going to do.

Do something different; get out of your comfort zone.

Gladiator training is not something you do every day and to be honest, we were nervous about it (myself included). But once we got over our initial fear of being hurt, it was super fun and we learned a lot. Get out of your comfort zone on a regular basis; after all, it is the only way you truly grow.

Overall, we had a blast and would do it again. I am now an official free Roman citizen (my new Roman name is Aura). Sure we have some crazy bruises and war wounds, but the adventure was worth it.

As all adventures are…Ciao.

About the Author

Heather WIlsonHeather E. Wilson is the founder and CEO of The Canadian Coach, a directory and membership platform designed to unite, support and promote Canadian coaches. She's a successful business coach, speaker, author (Your Life According to You!), warrior, change-maker, risk-taker, and adventurer all rolled into one dynamic package.