There has long been a debate about who would win in a fight between Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee? They never fought but Ali did easily defeat another kick boxer in an exhibition bout. Ali was 6’3’ (1.90m) tall and weighed 236lbs (107kg), while Lee was only 5’7’ (1.70m) tall and weighed only 135lbs (61kg). Additionally, the kicks Lee could throw weren’t anything like as fast as the punches Ali was used to dancing away from; they only appeared as fast as they did in Lee’s films because of the magic of film, not just his physical technique. Finally, as punches come in flurries, Lee would have had quite a fight on his hands.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
The idea of gladiators as low-life maniacs hurled into an arena of certain death is wrong - most gladiators were professionals. Fights to the death were rare and many became sports heroes of their day – women scratched their names on jewellery and teenagers painted their slogans on walls. Once they retired, most went into management and set up their own gladiator schools.
Commodus (ad 180-93) was perhaps the maddest of all the Emperors. He used regularly to take part in gladiatorial games and boasted he’d dispatched 12,000 opponents. His opponents were pre-weakened convicts with wooden weapons and no armour. For the pleasure of seeing him kill half-dead villains, Commodus charged the people of Rome one million sesterces a show.
Commodus was ruler of the world but still he craved the superstar hero-worship received by the most famous gladiators. A famous amulet from Leicester lost by a young girl sometime in the second century has scratched on it ‘Verecunda loves Lucius the Gladiator!’ and it was a common sentiment.
It has long been pondered whether a lion or a bear would win in a fight. However, there is an answer because Californians tested it during the gold rush. They used to pit grizzlies against bulls, but the bears always won easily by using their paw as a club. Tired with the lack of suspense, they shipped in African lions to raise the stakes. The lions had a reputation for rushing fiercely into the attack and looking very promising at the outset, but in the event the grizzlies killed them as easily as they did the bulls.
The bear’s edge lies in deploying its enormously strong bone density against the thin skull of the lion (lion strength is more muscular than structural). Lions and tigers bring down their prey by applying a windpipe lock, but they never got the chance to use this technique as the bears would flatten them with a hammer blow first.
Fighting male deer can get stuck if their antlers lock together.
Never pick a fight with an ugly person; they've got nothing to lose.
‘Chiromachy’ is a hand-to-hand fight.
The Celts fought naked.
Women in Ancient Rome wore the sweat of gladiators to improve their beauty and complexion.
Wild deer and cattle align their bodies in a north-south direction. Nobody knows why.