The Fight between Man and Bull: "Toros"

Bullfights are held in southern France and South America, however, the world-renowned place for bullfighting is Spain. The passion generated in the Spanish people is beyond our imagination.

The bulls that are used for the fights are 3 or 4-year-old ones, reared in green pastures, weighing from 450 to 650 kilograms and selected on the morning of the fight.

Generally, three bullfighters appear in the ring during a bullfight. The three bullfighters appear one at a time and face the bull down in a three-act drama, aiming to tire the bull out.

The bullfight begins with the main bullfighter, the matador, luring the bull with a red cloak; el capote. This is a stereotypical image most people have of a bullfight. After a while, the matador leads the bull towards an assistant bullfighter, a picador, and leaves the arena. The picador rides on horseback that is covered with shields, and he lances spears at the bull's back and stomach to make the animal bleed.

When the bull loses a lot of blood and starts to lose its strength, another assistant bullfighter, the banderillero, makes appearance and stabs spears with colorful flags into the bull's back. Then to the sounds of sonorous trumpets the matador marches in to deliver the coup de grace. The matador takes off his hat, bows to the crowd, and throws his hat over his shoulders. If the hat falls on the ground properly, it represents good luck.

Now, if the bull shows signs of limping or seems weak, the spectators fiercely protest. If they shout, "Fuera! fuera!" (go out!), several cows are brought into the arena to take the bull out along with them, and if the crowd cries, "Ole'! ole'!" (bravo!), the bullfight begins.

The picador and banderillero wear the bull out and let the matador wield la muleta, a red cloak wrapped around a stick, facing an excited bull that charges towards him.

The duration of the whole bullfight should neither be too short nor too long. When a worn-out bull starts breathing hard and drops its long tongue on to the ground, after losing a lot of blood, the matador kills the bull by stabbing deeply with a sword, l'espada.

This is the most important moment of a bullfight. If the matador does not manage to kill the bull by cutting to the quick, he cannot receive the prize, which is the bull's ear. On the other hand, if a matador is considered a capable bullfighter, he is given both of the bull's ears as a prize, and if he is thought to have been really superb, he also receives the bull's tail.

Former popular bullfighters, who earned a lot of money and who are now owners of bull farms, are the idols of Spanish youths. However, among many bullfighters, only a few make it to the top. Many die in vain after getting gored to death by a bull, or they spend the rest of their lives in wheelchairs paralyzed below the waist.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is demanding the suspension of toros as the sport is considered to be too cruel. However, even now, many Spaniards claim toros is an art and many still enjoy it.


Copyright (c) 2000 Digital Chosunilbo All rights reserved.
Contact for more information.