So what is bullfighting all about anyway? I mean, what actually happens other than a dozen men dressed in tights taunting an animal with capes and weapons on a hot afternoon until it becomes so weary they are able to stick a sword in its back and through its heart until it dies? A lot, actually. Quite a lot. And it helps to know what they are so as to understand more fully the spectacle. It is a blood sport, a bloody sport no doubt, but one with a lot of technique and bravery involved. If you do not believe me, I invite o step into the ring and stand face to face with an angry bull and then have the guts to say to the world that these men (and sometimes women believe it or not) aren’t putting there lives on the line. Then, and only then, are any doubters are welcome to try and prove me otherwise…By the way, here’s one of my favorites of matador macho man Jose Tomás driving a sword into the bull:
Yes, that’s his body leaning against the animal’s head (no one in their right mind gets that close) and yes, those are the bull’s horns wrapped around his body. Don’t be deceived by the blunted tip of the near horn…with the neck muscles the bull possesses, it could impale him with just a little nudge.
Anyway…back to what I was saying. A normal bullfight consists of the following: 6 bulls taken on by three bullfighters, and, if your mathematics are correct, that comes to two bulls per toreador. It goes like this:
Bullfighter 1 takes on bulls number 1 and 4
Bullfighter 2 takes on bulls number 2 and 5
Bullfighter 3 takes on bulls number 3 and 6
Each bullfight is broken up into three main parts known as tercios, or thirds, but there is a little more to it.
But before that, the show has to begin, which is when all the fanfare marches out onto the sandy arena and greets the crowd and the president of the bullfight. He will be the one who awards any prizes and makes any major decisions regarding procedure. Each torero leads his respective team out of helpers. The blare of brass instruments and the thumping of drumbeats set up the drama for the tension and excitement that is about to unfold. In the center a man turns a pole with a large sign hoisted on it for everyone to see. It informs of the bull’s name, its weight and the ranch from which it comes. While the first can be interesting, the last to bits of information can tell us more. There are ranches and there are ranches, and in San Isidro, not just any one will do. As for the weight, a full grown bull usually weighs in between 500-600 kgs. That’s 1,200-1,500 lbs. That’s a lot of steak, I tell you.
You’ll get more later.