31 Aug My Bullfight Experience in Spain | The Year 2000
The Bullfight Where a Bull Won 9-17-00 (mostly unedited from when I wrote it back then)
I had purchased my ticket earlier in the day and then walked around, read, walked around, and walked around, waiting for the bullfight to start. The time finally arrived at six o’clock, and I entered the arena to find my seat. There was a real character helping people find their seats and would ramble on in Spanish making weird movements with his head, as in like, “come on, come on, I’ve been helping people find their seats all day.” But he was teasing. There were two sides to pick from in the seating arrangement and I chose the cheaper side, which received the sun, but by the time the fight started the sun descended past the top of the arena. I looked around me as I sat waiting and there were two groups of American college students on either side of me, about ten rows up. There were tons of foreigners, and there were also native Spaniards. People were enjoying the sun, drinking wine or whatever, and conversing with each other.
It was finally time to start and it began with a trumpet sound and all the Matadors began to walk out together towards the other side of the arena, where they received their capes. I should have done some research on the names of all the things they use and acts they perform, etc. The Matadors were dressed in tight pants and a little jacket that was covered with sequence and other fancy designs: quite elegant dress for a man. Some of them stretched, some loosened up their legs, and some practiced their moves. In no time though, the trumpet blew again, they all got in their places, and they opened the door for the first bull. HERE HE COMES!! The bull came charging out, running wild, then chasing up to the little hideouts where the Matadors were. The Matadors would come out and tease him over, then jump back behind their wall. I think they did this to get some of the energy out of the bull. Yes, this is a team effort for a while. After the bull ran around for awhile one of the Matadors would then begin to fight with the bull, using grace, precision, and style, until he was happy with several well done drive byes. Then he would look for applause from us, the crowd. This would go on until he called it quits, or the trumpet blew for the next phase.
The next phase is probably the most disturbing to first time viewers and the animal activists of this world that want to protect this bull, because bullfighting is keeping him from what he really wants to do. They want him to live a more productive life I guess. Anyway, two men on horses came out with long spear looking weapons, their horses in protective gear, and their ankles and feet protected. The other Matadors would lure the bull up to the horse and it would charge right into the horse. While it was trying to lift the horse the man on the horse would stab his spear right behind the bull’s head, at the beginning of the back. He would push it way in, causing a large puncture in the bull’s back. He would do this twice to really draw blood and my guess, weaken the bull. There are six bulls total that come out in a bull fight, and the second was not too far from me after the man on the horse did his thing, and the blood was just gushing out of the bull. I mean, it was like when a car in the movies runs over a fire hydrant and the water shoots into the air. Now, it didn’t go that high, but blood isn’t supposed to shoot from anything. That took some getting used to. Then the trumpet blew again and the horses left, while that same first Matador who fought with the bull would do so again. Then the next phase: picadores.
The picadores is when they decorate the bull with colorful leafy spears about two feet long. Each Matador had two spears each to stab the bull with. Three differentMatadors would each take a turn of approaching the bull, running to the side, bringing the bull his way, and stabbing the bull right behind it’s head. If it was off to the side, not much applause. Right in the middle, much applause. Sometimes they missed, mostly they didn’t.
Finally, was the main bullfighter’s turn to really fight the bull, and show his skill. They would use a smaller, red cape, different from the larger purple ones used earlier, and drape it over a sword to give it some form. There were three main bullfighters on the ticket, and each would fight two bulls. The first Matador was very elegant and liked to dance around, using very graceful stances. The second wasn’t very good. And the third was young and energetic, enjoying the crowd and the rush of what he was doing. He had a lot of passion. I really enjoyed watching this, trying to enjoy and appreciate good bullfighting.
After the bull about had enough and the Matador put on a good show, they would bring him another sword. He would fight the bull until he was right in front of it and the bull exhausted, then jab the sword behind his head. If they hit the bull in the right spot it died right there. Some would stab the sword all the way in, and the bull wouldn’t die. They would then have to get that sword back out so they could try again. If they did this twice and the bull didn’t die, they would then get it cornered with the help of the others, get the bull to lower it’s head, and jab the sword into the correct spot, killing it. The bull would just fall over and sometimes convulse. It was very weird how this huge animal with awesome power was alive one second and falling over completely dead the next. Another man would make sure the bull was dead by wielding a knife into that weakspot, and then two horses came out to drag the bull away.
The sixth bull won. He came running out and wouldn’t fight anyone. He just kept running around avoiding the process of the sport. This began to annoy the crowd and they chanted at the president of the arena to get rid of the bull. This was a disgrace to aficionados because the sport is supposed to be done a certain way. It was actually quite funny from my standpoint, because they were chasing the bull instead of the bull chasing them. It would fight for a second and then run off. He wanted out, because he would sometimes go up to the boards and look over, trying to escape. These bulls are very scared when they are in there. They foam at the mouth and piss all over the place. Not knowing much about bulls or the sport, I believe the bull is so scared that he gets mad and tries to protect itself.
Once, a person like me just wants to see the bull get the best of a Matador. The sixth bull made a fool of the sport, but they ended up killing it because it wouldn’t leave when they tried. But the first Matador’s second bull threw him up in the air and the Matador landed on the bloody bulls back. He got up fine with a huge red blood spot on his white tight pants and continued to fight. It was nice to see the bull get him though. The bull is getting ganged up on by around ten Matadors throughout his ending existence. Underdogs.
The Matadors are very confident much of the time, getting very close to the bull, making for a great show, but I never understood why the bull didn’t just turn to the side and ram the Matador. They’re not that smart and want to attack the colorful cape being shook in front of them, I guess. It is definitely a very interesting sport, with it’s own traditions and character. It was an experience I’ll never forget.