Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Honing their skills

Aspiring bullfighters have to practice to perfect their art. These days most go to bullfighting schools but that was not always the case. Matadors like Juan Belmonte and El Cordobés  would visit ranches at night and under the cloak of darkness sharpen up their skills.

The practice died out years ago but was recently revised by three would be matadors. They had approached the owner of the ranch and sought permission. Having been turned down, the three hatched a plan for moonlight sessions instead.

They took the precaution of parking their car well away from the ranch and arrived on foot. However, just as they were getting started, the three were surrounded by police. They claimed that they were practising on cows but the ranch owner argued that it was actually bulls which then had to be put down. Under Spanish law, any bull that has been involved in fighting has to be slaughtered, because it is feared they might remember the bullfighter’s moves in a subsequent encounter. The ranch owner is claiming 53,000 euros for the loss of 20 animals.

NB the past when bullfighting was common in most small towns throughout Spain, rather than being killed, the same bulls were taken to several corridas. By the second or third town, the bulls were highly dangerous to fight and many would be matadors were either badly injured or died as a result.

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