Life as an apprentice Seeker for Truth and Penitence

I just finished listening to the last volume of The Book of the New Sun. I’ve read it several times as well, but certain details were more vivid to me in the audio books, doubtless because of the reader’s emphasis.
We aren’t told a great deal about the life of an apprentice torturer. Severian tells us that they wear ragged clothes, aren’t very well fed, and that about half of them die. He tells us of Master Palaemon lecturing them over a corpse, and they are taken to see a maid servant whose leg has been flayed.
At several points in the novels, he uses what can only be described as martial arts techniques (striking nerve centers, locking joints, breaking bones) on soldiers who try to restrain him or other opponents. He also demonstrates a good deal of skill in the use of his sword and other skills of the carnifex.
I’m trying to picture life as an apprentice. The various skills and techniques he uses are things that would have to be actively practiced in order to develop proficiency. Did they practice on each other? Is this why so many little apprentices died? Did they practice on clients? It sounds like a rather dreary life…get up, eat an inadequate breakfast, lessons in reading, writing, and an basic mathematics with Master Malrubius, lessons in the lore of the guild with Masters Palaemon and Gurloes, and chores. When did they find the time to swim in Gyoll or play in the necropolis?