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2016: IBJJF Rome Open & IBJJF European NoGi Championship

  MODERN GLADIATORS by Laurien Zurhake   Rome, often called the eternal city, speaks to the imagination: her famous and glorious history as Caput Mundi, Capital of the world during the Roman Empire, as well as her renowned demise. The 7th century author Bede once wrote: “as long as the Colosseum stands, Rome will stand; when the Colosseum falls, Rome will fall; when Rome falls, the whole world will fall.” This passage reveals the importance and centrality of a city in general and of a specific structure in particular. Luckily for us the Colosseum, originally called amphitreatrum Flavium, still stands and what a sight it is! Upon approaching it for the first time I tried to imagine how it would be like to enter the arena as a gladiator and hopefully depart again through the Gate of Life and not through the Gate of Death. I write extensively about the Colosseum, because the gym, Palazetto dello Sport, were we all fought, was clearly built with the Colosseum in mind. It has the same oval shape and entrances everywhere. In ancient times, these entrances were designed to structure the entry of the sometimes 60.000 spectators and to let all of them vacant the place within minutes afterwards. Up to a point the Rome Open and Europeans BJJ No-gi may have been similar to ancient times: many different people, faces, languages, gestures, but all assembled for a similar purpose, namely either to watch or to compete. To be sure, nowadays we do not fight to the death, nor are we perceived as that which is not Roman (that is to say...