Season 1 Episode 1: Apache vs Gladiator

Bob Hubbard

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Aug 4, 2001
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Episode 1: Apache vs Gladiator

Apache Team: Alan Tafoya (World Champion Knife Fighter), Snake Blocker (United States Army Combat Instructor)
Gladiator Team: Chris Torres (Ancient Weapons Specialist), Steven Dietrich (Gladiator Combat Instructor), Chuck Liddell (Former UFC light-heavyweight champion)
Apache weapons: Tomahawk, Knife, Bow and Arrow, War Club
Gladiator weapons: Cestus, Scissor, Trident & Net, Sling, Sica

Apache Gladiator Advantage Close Range: Tomahawk Cestus Scissors
Tomahawk Mid Range: Knife Trident & Net Trident & Net Long Range: Bow & Arrow Sling Bow & Arrow Special Weapons: War Club Sica Sica
  • The Tomahawk was tested against the Cestus and the Scissor. The tomahawk was first tested on a gel head. Snake used two types: one made of stone, which tore off a piece of the head and one made of the jaw bone of a horse, which completely destroyed the back of the head. Tafoya then threw iron tomahawks at wood targets and penetrated them. Chuck tested the Cestus and Scissor. They tested Chuck's punching power, which proved powerful. He tested the Cestus and Scissor on a 400-lb piece of beef. The Cestus broke its ribs while the Scissor almost cut the piece of beef in half. A divided panel gave the edge to the versatility of the tomahawk.

  • The Knife was tested against the Trident & Net. Snake showed the versatility of the knife by throwing three knives at three targets in under three seconds. The trident was tested on a gel torso and managed to puncture its heart. The trident & net got the edge due to being an offensive-defensive combo.

  • The Sling was tested against the Bow & Arrow. The sling proved good as an air cannon, to symbolize an expert slinger, drove a piece of lead into a gel head. The Bow & Arrow was tested on a gel torso. Tafoya was able to put multiple arrows in the torso. The bow & arrow got the edge due to its better range, accuracy, and lethality.

  • The Sica was tested against the War Club. The Sica was able to almost cut off a gel arm. The War Club was tested on two targets: a smooth skull and the Gladiator's helmet. It completely shattered the skull but the helmet broke the club. The Sica got the edge, mostly due to the club's failure.
[edit] Simulation 1

The fight takes place in a meadowy area, shadowed by a forest from which an Apache emerges. A Gladiator comes out from where the meadow ends, and spots the Apache. He lets out a battle cry, and begins charging at him. The Apache fires an arrow, which hits the Gladiator's shield. The Gladiator fires a stone from his sling, but misses. The Apache fires another arrow which hits the Gladiator in the lower right side of the stomach, protruding several inches out his back, but is pulled out by him after great effort. The Apache then retreats into the forest. The Gladiator fires his sling again, but the Apache dodges. The Gladiator proceeds to follow the Apache. The Apache turns just in time to have his shield knocked from his hand by the trident. The Apache hooks the trident with his tomahawk and twists it around attempting to disarm the Gladiator. He then disengages and strikes at the Gladiator who catches his hand with the net. The Apache grabs the trident and they each try to push the other one over, with the Gladiator gaining the upper hand. The Gladiator kicks the Apache, who lands behind a bunch of branches. The Gladiator then tries to thrust his trident into the Apache, who dodges several times. The Apache then turns and runs, only to be snared by the Gladiator's net, followed by the trident being thrown, which misses. The Apache then throws his tomahawk at the Gladiator, but misses. The Gladiator unsheathes his Sica and makes overhand slashes at the Apache, only to have it and his bronze helmet knocked off by the Apache's war club. The Gladiator then regains his composure, breaks the arrows off of his shield as the Apache charges him, only to be knocked to the ground by his shield. The Gladiator then seizes the opportunity to strike the Apache twice with his Cestus, first in the chest, and then in the face. The Apache coughs up some blood, which causes the Gladiator to become filled with bravado, much like his days in the arena. He is about to make the killing blow, only to realize the Apache regained his senses and pulled out his knife. The Apache strikes the Gladiator in his hamstrings, causing him to lose balance, then slashes him in the stomach, and finally cuts his throat. The Apache stabs the Gladiator a few more times to make sure he's dead, then rises to his feet, licks the blood off his knife, gives his famous war cry, and runs away.

Overall winner: Apache

Despite the impressive killing power of all the Gladiator's weapons, the Apache won because his weaponry was more versatile and because the Gladiator was not armored properly. The Apache had a significant advantage at long range where the Gladiator's sling proved to be an ineffective weapon. Also notable was the Apache knives. The experts predicted the trident would defeat the knives but the knives received the most kills of any weapon in the simulation. Although the Scissor made as many kills as the Cestus, it was not shown in the simulation.

Apache Gladiator
Overall Kills: 667 333

Close Range:
Tomahawk: 153
Cestus: 25
Scissor: 25

Mid Range:
Knives: 266
Trident & Net: 166

Long Range:
Bow & Arrow: 188
Sling: 1

Special Weapons:
War Club: 60
Sica: 116

This one really depends on where you're fighting.

Gladiators fought on level, open ground in duels. I'd certainly give them props in the arena.

No self-respecting Inde is going to stand toe-to-toe and duke it out with someone if there's an alternative. Their style of fighting included ambush, night attacks, sneaking in and stealing the other guy's stuff and being able to take the fight to places where nobody else can survive.

And of course the horse and lance is going to really crimp the retiarius' style.
I tend to agree. Each are specialists in particular types of fighting. I wonder (doubt) the simulation takes terrain into account.
Some time back a local martial arts school offered summer camp for the kiddies - martial arts and horseback riding.

We figured our good friend could have had a lot of fun with "Grandfather Mushtaq's Silat and Apache Life Skills Camp". The final exercise would have been sneaking into the first group's camp and stealing at least one of the other campers' horses. If you have to use your Silat you weren't awake for the rest of the lessons.

For some reason he didn't go for it. Pity. Could have made some money...
Oh, yeah. The Inde could fight with long knife and tomahawk or club at the same time. And after the Europeans arrived they had the horse and lance which would give a really unfair advantage.

Forest and meadow are one thing. If it were in Apache territory the gladiator would simply die. He wouldn't be able to keep up, wouldn't know where to find water and would get ambushed.
Their simulation was one of the dumbest ever. You have a trained armored slave wandering around in the wilderness? The apaches also had rifles, why wouldn't they just shoot the gladiator? Also, the "indian knifefighting" looked an awful lot like good old FMA. I have never heard of the American Indians having a set system of knifefighting even though a couple people have tried to market it.

This was an apples to oranges comparision at it's worst.
Oh, yeah. The Inde could fight with long knife and tomahawk or club at the same time. And after the Europeans arrived they had the horse and lance which would give a really unfair advantage.

Forest and meadow are one thing. If it were in Apache territory the gladiator would simply die. He wouldn't be able to keep up, wouldn't know where to find water and would get ambushed.

That would depend heavily on where the gladiator came from.
Being a slinger, the sling was way underestimated in this. I can get 90mph with a rock, lead can be much faster than that. The guy that actually demonstrated the sling couldn't sling well to save his life. I don't think Gladiators even used sling becuse then you have the possibility of people either having no idea how to sling, hitting people in the audience, or if they do know how to sling, the fights would just be the one guy keeping distance and pelting the other guys. Not very entertaining. I do know that the sling was a common apache weapon, heck there is even an apache style of slinging.

All in all, this show is entertaining and fun to discuss, but there is very little merrit to it.

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