You can enjoy a bullfight for the spectacle alone, but to appreciate it, you need to have some idea of what it is really about, about Spanish bullfighting rules themselves. The object is for one of the bullfighters (toreros)-the matador-to kill a wild bull, or toro, with a sword.
You can enjoy a bullfight for the spectacle alone, but to appreciate it, you need to have some idea of what it is really about, about Spanish bullfighting rules themselves. Ideally, you should see your first bullfight in the company of an aficionado who can explain what is happening. (This was intended to be the first in an occasional series of articles about the most characteristic of Spanish customs.)
The first time many people see a bullfight, after the initial reactions (the first is usually nervousness - just how gory is it going to be?), they are often surprised to find themselves bored. This is, of course, because they do not know how to interpret what they are seeing and Spanish bullfighting rules and their preformed ideas hamper their understanding.
Spain has always been famous for its bull-fights which are undergoing a new lease of life with a great increase in interest. In Spain the bullfight is called the Fiesta Nacional (The national Sport). There are few places in Spain where a bull-ring can't be found within a short drive. It is the most common thing associated with Spain, and rightly so for its origins date back to 711AD when the first bullfight (corrida) took place in honour of the crowning of King Alfons VIII. Every week, all over Spain, many thousands of Spaniards flock to the nearest bullring, but not all Spaniards agree with the sport, or like it.
Here are short description of main Spanish bullfighting rules and how this sport goes on. A modern bullfight consists of three stylized parts (tercios). When the bull enters the ring, toreros wave capes to prod it to charge; then the picadors administer pic (lance) thrusts, which tire the animal and cause him to lower his head; in the second part, the banderilleros come out and, while on the run, plant banderillas (short barbed sticks) on the withers of the bull; these often spur him into making livelier charges.
In the final segment the matador-almost always a man, although some women have entered the sport in recent decades, amid controversy-holds the muleta, a small cloth cape, in one hand, and a sword in the other. Daring passes at the bull work to dominate the animal until it stands with feet square on the ground and head hung low; the matador must then approach the bull from the front and kill him by thrusting his sword between the shoulder blades and into the heart. A matador's performance requires great skill and courage, and successful matadors reap immense awards in money and adulation. Fighting bulls are bred and selected for spirit and strength.
Because of the English word, "bullfight," many believe that it is, in some way, a sport. It is not. In Spanish, the expression is corrida de toros, with no reference to fighting or any other kind of competition. The bull is not expected to try and win - it cannot. The bullfighter following requirements of bullfighting rules is not awarded points for strength, or tactics, or anything else, not even bravery. A bullfight is not covered in the sports sections of newspapers, but in the "Culture" section, because it is not sport - it is arte or especteculo, a show, like a play or a ballet or an opera.