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Modern Ludus Rules and Regulations
#1
Not too long ago I read a thread on RAT about one gladiator group that wanted to get all the other groups together and fight. Well, from what I read it was shot down very early because of the groups having different standards in gear and rules for fighting. I agree that we should have high standards in gear not just for historical purposes but also to protect ourselves from unnecessary harm in the arena.

I would like to know what rules for fighting and standards the modern ludi have.

- What rules do you have for safety? Do you require a cup, wrist protectors, kidney belts, safety glasses, mouth pieces, etc... Modern equipment for protection that can be easily hidden or easily made with period material.
- What are your rules to judge a kill in the arena? Do you use a point system or do you wait for a kill blow?
- What are your standards for equipment? Do you recommend certain suppliers over others? Do you let fighters make there own equipment, if so what are the standards for that equipment?
- What kind of weapons do you use? Do you use real steel, wooden mockups, needlefelt, etc....

My goal is hopefully talk to other groups and standardize safety, standards, etc... so that we can get together in the future and compete.
Joshua B. Davis

Marius Agorius Donatus Minius Germanicus
Optio Centuriae
Legio VI FFC, Cohors Flavus
[url:vat9d7f9]http://legvi.tripod.com[/url]

"Do or do not do, their is no try!" Yoda
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#2
I suspect different types of contests would require different weapons.
SCA style combat requires a lot of modification and compromises in equipment authenticity
Full contact free form would require needlefelt ( thrown weapons possible)
Agreed upon "pulled blows" wood
Well rehearsed "Staged" combat steel
In each case there can be accidents. The more realistic the weapons the less realistic the combat except for very skilled fighters with good insurance.
John Kaler MSG, USA Retired
Member Legio V (Tenn, USA)
Staff Member Ludus Militus https://www.facebook.com/groups/671041919589478/
Owner Vicus and Village: https://www.facebook.com/groups/361968853851510/
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#3
Our group uses bunt steel in free combat so we have to train regularly to keep the displays save.
One safety convention is to avoid stabbing point first at unarmored areas, but rather hit with the flat of the blade. Also we avoid stabbing straight to the visor as even well made and accurate helmets have to be padded very good to allow for this.
Previously we prohibited attacks to the head of a Retiarius, but since I started to employ a fencing mask in training to better understand the use of the shoulder guard, I would even allow pulled attacks to my head from certain partners of my group, with whom I trained this.
As with all Martial Arts both combatants have to understand the primary goal is to stay protected and the secondary is to hit the opponent. This is why any hit to an unprotected part of the body has to be considered potentially disabling. As we see in iconography Gadiators with bleeding arm or leg wounds would indeed submit and hope to receive Missus.
This mindset is often very difficult to achieve as our modern sports orientated thinking combined with the save environment of using bunt weapons urges us to take risks in attacking that we would not take if our survival would depend on it.
Olaf Küppers - Histotainment, Event und Promotion - Germany
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#4
When I first started fighting as a gladiator we were taught that all the heavy gladiators were only allowed to either stand their ground or go forward (at any attacking angle). Retiarrii were allowed to go in any direction to compensate for their (relative) lack of armour. The theory was that our lanista would be ready with a whip/rod if we did move backwards. I know that this is not what you were after but it was a rule we fight by. Nor do I know where that idea comes from (wish i did-likely a 1970s history book).
We used blunt steel and we like to fight fast and furious. Retiarri do not get head shots. When performing we aim for armour innitially, to spin the fight out. We hit firmly but do not sledge. We are trained to pull our blows when we make contact with skin.
good luck
Richard
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#5
We use wood weapons in complete free fight. Shield or all weapons lost means fight is interrupted. Shield thrown away means "I give up". Kneeling, hand raised means "I give up". Who first scores three hits to an unprotected area wins. Lot of stabbing. Historically accurate, since the prolusio in antiquity was also carried out with wooden weapons. I think this is a way more realistic display than using (a-historical blunt) metal weapons and avoiding certain stokes. My 5 cents. :-)
Christian K.

No reconstruendum => No reconstruction.

Ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas.

LEGIO XIII GEMINA

[Image: BannerAER-1-1.jpg]
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#6
a-historical possibly...............
however the story of having the weapons tested in the arena to prove that they were sharp suggests that it was a known phenomena.
Also I did have my fingertip half cut off by one of my blunt swords about 26 years ago.just sayin... Big Grin

I also agree that using wooden weapons is good for some training and depictions of warm up fights. However I side with Olaf on this one as if you train predominantly with wooden swords I have noticed that there is less respect/ body memory involved in terms of knowing WHEN to pull your blow.

Looks like any attempted regulating of rules would need at least two categories wood/needlefelt and steel. I am also aware that our friends at Ars Dimicandi will only allow helmets constructed "in hous" or at least passed an "in house' inspection would be allowed on the field.

regards
Richard
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#7
In our group and the group that taught me we use wooden swords/daggers and needlefelt trident/spear. We have only had two serious injuries to date a broken finger and cracked ribs. Granted we only fight a small handful of times a year.

Why do you use the blunted steel weapons and not the wooden weapons?
Joshua B. Davis

Marius Agorius Donatus Minius Germanicus
Optio Centuriae
Legio VI FFC, Cohors Flavus
[url:vat9d7f9]http://legvi.tripod.com[/url]

"Do or do not do, their is no try!" Yoda
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#8
It is simply preference and what we are used to and enjoy.
Also I have made wooden gladii (?)ruddiii(??) and dislike the way they shatter after a period of time. Although the wooden ones from India (on the net) have been at times more than reasonably priced I refuse to pay the excessive postage that has been asked.
I have procured plastic ones for recruits and training and they are fun to spar with.
I have nothing against others using them. (Wood/neelefelt etc)
and would if I was at an event where they were standard.

My severed finger was due to borrowing others gear and that is remedied now, Big Grin
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#9
I prefer blunted steel as the handling of steel is different than the handling of wooden simulators.
Though with our short weapons this difference is a lot less markedly then with swords of later periods, but it is there.
Of course we know Gladiators did train with wooden weapons, so they seem to have coped with this.
Fighting with wooden weapons can also lead to an exaggeration of the mental problem stated above.
As "its only wood" I often see Gladiators fighting with little or no regard for self preservation and double hits or fights that take a few seconds until the first hit are the sure sign, that one or both fighters have started to adopt a "sports fencing" mindset, where the point/hit becomes the focus of the fight in contrast to employ the skill needed to attack from cover and to defend if necessary.
Of course you can fight suicidal also with steel weapons, but steel commands a lot more respect from yourself then wood or a soft weapon.
That said, a wooden weapon can be just as dangerous then steel, and from experience it is not a lot better to be hit across the skull by the flat of a steel blade or a wooden one.
I do not think I would fight differently with wood then I do with steel, regarding prohibited blows, as I am pretty sure a solid frontal stab towards the visor of any helmet I have worn so far, regardles of Indian or Eastern European Manufacture will result in a bleeding nose at best, a broken one at worst.
I hope to remedy this situation by trying out the padded hoods I referred to in this thread:
http://www.romanarmytalk.com/12-ancient-...elief.html
But still full force, point first stabs with wooden weapons can break ribs, smash fingers and are just as dangerous if you hit the throat or neck area as steel weapons are.
I also doubt that there is a single group out there where Secutores deliberately target the unprotected head of a Retiarius.
Even if there are no targets prohibited, we do not want to seriously hurt our partners and that leads to a totally different style of combat.
That’s why I have started to employ modern training aids from HEMA to allow for a full speed full force training with minimal risk of injury.
Of course the mind-set has to stay the same regardless if you wear a fencing mask and use soft weapons or you only have the Galerus and are using steel weapons.

From an audience point of view I would also prefer steel weapons, as the sound of metal on metal cannot be reproduced with wooden arms.
Maybe this video will demonstrate my points.
First fighters from Junkelmann with wooden weapons, last pair are fighters from my group with steel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_5bu1HH9...age#t=644s

Since Embedded Video does not work with time markers please go forward to 10:30 for the Junkelmann fights and to 19:00 for the steel fight.
Olaf Küppers - Histotainment, Event und Promotion - Germany
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#10
I see your point and very well made!

With the use of the metal weapons and pulling of shots do you any modern safety equipment or "upgrade" gladiator gear for better safety? For example thick wide leather belts to protect the kidney, thick leather or thick padded manica. Do you use an athletic cup or mouth pieces?
Joshua B. Davis

Marius Agorius Donatus Minius Germanicus
Optio Centuriae
Legio VI FFC, Cohors Flavus
[url:vat9d7f9]http://legvi.tripod.com[/url]

"Do or do not do, their is no try!" Yoda
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#11
A blunt trauma made by a wooden weapon can be as nasty as it's metal counterpart. Furthermore needlefelt can also give nasty burns. I prefer iron as it does keep you allert and doesn't give you a sense of safety which isn't there. Also, all weapons will have to be checked before every time you enter the training ground or arena. (and we do figth free)
________________________________________
Jvrjenivs Peregrinvs Magnvs / FEBRVARIVS
A.K.A. Jurjen Draaisma
CORBVLO and Fectio
ALA I BATAVORUM
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#12
I understand the argument, but what I meant was: Rather show prolusio with wooden weapons, with historical implications ( As what Olaf argued would be, if it were correct, also correct for the ancient fighters), or show an "actual" fight with modern blunted weapons. It´s, all in all, probably a question of taste.
Christian K.

No reconstruendum => No reconstruction.

Ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas.

LEGIO XIII GEMINA

[Image: BannerAER-1-1.jpg]
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#13
As long as we inform the audience about the display they are presented, both types of display have their place.
The audience does not expect to see blood and death shown in the arena - though there are groups that even work with fake blood -, so they will take into account that we do not work with sharps.
As long as the blunted weapons resemble the original blades in form and function AND the fighters regard them as if they were sharps, I think we can come pretty close to what the fights would have looked like originally.
Even when showing a Prolusio with wooden weapons the fighters should consider their weapons as sharps, and act accordingly, since these fights should have showcased the martial skill of the Gladiators before the live steel fights.
Fighting to "touches" and "points" does however create a competition mind-set, where scoring a hit is considered more important then defending against an attack.
Admittedly I came to this realisation only once I started to train HEMA, focusing on military sabre of the 19th century. Here we train with original antique military sabres with dull edges and, if the right mind-set is taken, we can fence at full speed and force with only minimal protection for the hand, elbow and head.
That is why we have to view Gladiator combat as a refined martial art rather than an armoured brawl I so often see in videos online and also within my own group.
This starts with proper footwork, keeping the right distance, defending when necessary and attacking only under cover. With the exception of ACTA Archeo from France, who have pursuit this approach for years now, in most videos of Gladiator combat you see online, one combatant, and often even both, would have received a debilitating wound in the first 30 seconds of the fight.
Taking into account that the Gladiators shown in the Zliten mosaic and other iconography are shown submitting after receiving a, clearly non lethal, bleeding wound to the arm or leg, I doubt the Gladiator fights would have achieved such popularity if the bouts were over less than a minute.

In our group we strive to have the gear, apart from the blunt weapons, as authentic as possible, and we do not take extra precautions.
As the first post also asked about gear used, and I have been in charge of acquiring gear for my group the last few years I can give you a rundown of my personal pros and cons concerning available greaves and helmets.

1. Greaves
I you know someone who can work with fairly thick sheet metal you can build these yourself.
Of course they will probably look somewhat crude, and if you use a sheet that is to thin they will also be quite flimsy.
Otherwise I have found the greaves from Ancient Empire Reproductions to be quite sturdy and sufficient for our practical purposes.
I would recommend the tinned steel variant, as these are very good for the price.
The price of sheet bronze has sadly risen so much, that the AER bronze greaves are almost as expensive as commissioning a brass greave made to measure by an artisan from eastern Europe.
To be fair the European items are of a better quality and finish then the AER items from India, but that of course has its price.
It is best to commission an artisan that already has already done the item you commission, as otherwise you will have to be very detailed in your description of the item you want to have created.
Fortunately I know a few good artisans who already have already done good reproductions of the helmets and greaves from Pompeii, so PM me if you want to know more.

2. Helmets
Gladiator helmets are quite complex constructions and the first decision you will have to make is the time your Gladiators will want to display.
As a rule of thumb stay away from the current Deepeeka Gladiator helmets, as these are neither good reproductions, nor sturdy enough to cope with hard contact, since Deepeeka only uses very thin sheet metal. They also have not updated their Gladiator helmets like they did for their military helmets, so they still have all he faults in construction and proportion as their early military helmets had.
Of course if you want to do Spartacus Blood and Sand Cosplay, then Deepeeka is your way to go, as Starz used a lot of Deepeeka helmets in the first season of this series ;-)

For practical purposes I can again recommend the AER helmets, though you will have to modify the Visor if you want to allow for full frontal attacks to it.
The eye grills are quite sturdy even though they seem to be made of thin metal, but, at least with the bronze variant, they cave in a little bit instead of breaking, if hit by a frontal stab, but the problem is the inner pin, to keep the left visor half from caving inward, is just not sturdy enough and tends to bent backwards.
The original helmets have a tongue and groove joint to arrest the left visor half in the right position so it is best to attach an additional strip of metal to the back of the right visor half, to achieve this joint.
As with the greaves, the tinned steel variant from AER is the way to go budget wise, unless you realy need to have bronze.
Also, as with the greaves, helmets made to measure by European artisans usually have a better finish and quality, and feature a little more detail of the original helmets.

From AER you can get early Chiety type helmets for the Murmillo, Thraex and Hoplomachus Armaturae, which are useful for the 1st century and even longer for Hoplomachoi, as well as the Berlin type Murmillo usable until the end of the 2nd century.
The typical Provocator and Secutor helmets of this period is available as well.
All these types, as well as Pompeii type helmets of the same period can also be acquired through eastern European artisans.
Helmets of an earlier or later period will have to be commissioned, and this is why I am currently looking for good images of the late Republican, early Augustan helmets displayed in North America.
Later helmets will have to be built after iconography only, so they will always have to be considered highly speculative.

I am always happy to be able to counsel new groups on gear from my experience with vendors and artisans, so PM me if you need any specific advice.
Ever since Christian has created the Ancient Empires line of Gladiator gear in tinned, it is really not necessary to get subpar items from other vendors for the same or even higher price.
Olaf Küppers - Histotainment, Event und Promotion - Germany
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#14
WOW Olaf! Your helms are excellent and I think we would be quite combatable- too bad we are on the other side of the planet!
I like the interpretation of the "diamond" on th emanica harness. I also am very envious of Mr Junkelmans scale manica. Thanks for the link!!

regards
Richard
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#15
Quote:As long as we inform the audience about the display they are presented, both types of display have their place.
The audience does not expect to see blood and death shown in the arena - though there are groups that even work with fake blood -, so they will take into account that we do not work with sharps.
I fully agree. But my argument was that the blunt metal blades are less "authentic" in a fighting display than wooden weapons are. I hardly see a way around this argument.

Quote:As long as the blunted weapons resemble the original blades in form and function AND the fighters regard them as if they were sharps, I think we can come pretty close to what the fights would have looked like originally.
I cannot see how a blunt metal weapon can resemble the originals in function. Form, well, roughly. I do not agree at all to your idea that we can come pretty close to what the fights actually looked like. I think it is already very hard to come close to what we think that the fights looked like. There is no causal relation at all between the ancient gladiator fights and our modern practice to stage fights in remodeled ancient equipment.

Quote:Even when showing a Prolusio with wooden weapons the fighters should consider their weapons as sharps, and act accordingly, since these fights should have showcased the martial skill of the Gladiators before the live steel fights.
So you exclude the possibilty that the ancient Gladiators did also fight differently when using their wooden weapons? On what source would you base such a statement? I think this is very conjectural.

Quote:Fighting to "touches" and "points" does however create a competition mind-set, where scoring a hit is considered more important then defending against an attack.

...whereas a fight as such does not create a competition mind setting? I cannot follow the logic of this argument.

To explain what we do: We use the points system only for the show, as an entertaining element. We do not do this in training etc. But we also try to give the audience a feeling that they do not see a realistic fight. That´s why we call it a gladiator-"theatre". All participants do not really mind whether they win or loose. This is one of the first things that is taught in training. No rivalry, presenting a good show together.

Quote:Admittedly I came to this realisation only once I started to train HEMA, focusing on military sabre of the 19th century. Here we train with original antique military sabres with dull edges and, if the right mind-set is taken, we can fence at full speed and force with only minimal protection for the hand, elbow and head.
I also think that HEMA is very helpful for an attempt to understand Gladiator fighting. Our trainer is a HEMA fencing trainer for several years, specialized in wrestling and Langes Schwert. He is a personal trainee of Petr Matousek, who is, as I heard, some sort of authority in the field. (I cannot personally verify this, but when I talk to people who know more about HEMA than I do, which is not difficult, they always seem to know this guy and raise their eyebrows. See also http://drei-klingen.de ) So, I can follow this logic, I think.

Quote:That is why we have to view Gladiator combat as a refined martial art rather than an armoured brawl I so often see in videos online and also within my own group.

I do not see how the above ca be an argument for this. I understand , and personally also think that Gladiator combat should be understood as a refined martial art, but this is a non sequitur.

Quote:This starts with proper footwork, keeping the right distance, defending when necessary and attacking only under cover. With the exception of ACTA Archeo from France, who have pursuit this approach for years now, in most videos of Gladiator combat you see online, one combatant, and often even both, would have received a debilitating wound in the first 30 seconds of the fight.

I think there are good arguments for longer fights, yes. But perhaps rather because the games were supposed to be entertaining, which may have been way more important than any kind of combat logic. But this is, just as your argument is, again nothing but conjectural, since we actually do know nearly to nothing about how these fights actually were staged / working.

[/quote]
Taking into account that the Gladiators shown in the Zliten mosaic and other iconography are shown submitting after receiving a, clearly non lethal, bleeding wound to the arm or leg, I doubt the Gladiator fights would have achieved such popularity if the bouts were over less than a minute.[/quote]

Of course one may doubt this, and I think that you are very probably right about this, just the argument does again not work. What you say is: "Because we see non-lethal wounds on defeated gladiators in contemporary representative art, the fights took longer" That is a non sequitur, again.

Quote:Helmets of an earlier or later period will have to be commissioned, and this is why I am currently looking for good images of the late Republican, early Augustan helmets displayed in North America.

So you will perhaps be happy to hear that I have recently finished work on the Hamburg helmet, and am about to receive the first sample. :-)
Christian K.

No reconstruendum => No reconstruction.

Ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas.

LEGIO XIII GEMINA

[Image: BannerAER-1-1.jpg]
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