Madrid, Spain
40° 24' N 3° 41' W
Jun 05, 2004 17:17
Distance 0km

Text written in: English

Bull Fighting

Well last nite I had some expierence at the bull fights. A few other people from the hostel I was staying at all went over to the stadium. We paid about $15 dollars for nose bleed seats but it was still a great time. Madrid's main bullring is called La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del EspĂ­ritu Santo. The bullfight lasted around 2 hours, but there is no fixed time limit usually and it depends on how many bulls are sent back to the corral or any if there are other incidents during the fight itself. The matadores fight in turn, the most experienced fighter first.

Each matador directs a 15 minute session, called a faena, which in turn is divided into 3 sections. The first section involves the matador receiving his bull with a large cape. Here he is able to make his first judgements regarding the bull's strength, courage and general validity for the fight.

The second section, la suerte de varas, involves picadores and banderilleros. Picadores, on horseback, use long lances to weaken the bull's neck muscles. The bull's courage can be discovered by his willingness to approach the horse and lance. Secondly, the banderilleros stab brightly-coloured barbed sticks or banderillas into the bull's back.

The matador receives the bull alone in the third and final section of the faena, perhaps the most interesting for aficionados. Holding a small red cape now, he attempts to pass the bull as close to his body as possible in an artistic and varied manner. After effecting these passes, he will take a real, sharpened sword to attempt to kill the bull by bringing it on to him with its head lowered so he can thrust the sword between the bull's shoulder blades.

The fight is then judged by the public. They may whistle and boo, remain silent, clap or award the matador one or both of the bull's ears by waving a white handkerchief until the fight president awards this coveted prize. If a fighter receive two ears in the same afternoon, he is lifted up on to somebody's shoulders and transported out of the ring and through the main gate. He has thus opened the Puerta Grande, the maximum accolade for any fighter.

The public may also judge the bull to have been so brave and noble, that it should have its life spared (indultado). This happens only very rarely.

Check out the link for some cool pics and more info from the actual site where I got this from.

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