There are two rules to Bull Fighting Club. You know what they are. We’ve run with the bulls and once watched an educational video about castrating them – which was awful – but now we are moving on to fighting them. Bull fighting is hugely popular in certain parts of the world (not Kansas) and is watched more for the matador’s artistry and performance than for the actual fight. Most of the bulls do end up biting the dust in the end, but sometimes the matador slips up and gets roughed up himself. Or worse. So if you are preparing to step into the arena — or even the pasture behind your house — with a bull, learn the process and be on your toes. You must be a showman, while also not getting trampled.
Assemble Your Team
Bull fighters have a team that works with them. You have your number two, who waves a Liberace-esque cape at the bull in a taunting, yet artistic way. Then you will need some picadors. These guys are on horses and come out to do the initial tiring of the bull by lancing the sucker. So look for some guys who have javelins and horse riding experience. Lastly, you will need a small group of boys (not a group of small boys…you get what we’re saying) that come out mid-way through and try to stick sharp barbs into the bull’s shoulders.
With your band of bull fighting brothers assembled, it’s now time to find an arena and get to the game.
A bull fight unrolls in three acts. We’ll logically start with the first act. You step into the ring, so to speak, and the bull will be released after you. Your number two will start waving his cape at the bull, to which the bull will not reply in a positive manner. You are supposed to just hang and admire the work at this point. Then it will be your turn. Experienced matadors then do a series of fancy waves with their red oversized handkerchief (a muleta). For the virgin fighter, these moves can be tough – especially while you are trying not to be gouged by a bull’s horn. Just do some waves and keep the muleta stretched as far from your body as possible. Getting a set of horns through the gut is not the start of a good weekend.
Next, your boys on the horses will come out and try to get the bull to ram their horses. Luckily for the horses, they are padded to protect them from taking one through the ribs. This move is all a ploy to get the bull close enough to stick a lance into its neck muscles. The lance is used to keep the bull’s head down for later in the match. And if you’ve ever been lanced before, you know it will definitely keep your head down. (Note: there are more humane ways to do this, which we will mention later)
The matador then watches the bull charge the horses some more, studying how it charges and which direction it likes to go. You should definitely pay attention during this period as this will come into play for you in Act Three.
This stage is like going out for a beer for you. All you have to do is stand by and watch the rest of your team, called banderilleros, come out to make the bull a little tired. They attempt to shove barbed rods into the bull’s shoulders, which probably pisses the animal off. Experienced bullfighters also join the party on occasion and attempt their own strike against the bull during this phase of the match. We suggest you not do this since you are just starting out. Just stand back and throw down a brew and a dog.
This is also a moment where the matador will interact with the crowd. If you have your ‘working the crowd’ skills down, here’s your moment to be a rock star. Stay on the edges of the ring while you are entertaining, unless the bull makes a charge for you. Then just get the hell out of there.
This is the most crucial portion of the day. Screw it up and you might take a horn to the forehead. Finish with a flourish and you might take a chick from the stands home with you. Especially because you are supposed to give your hat to a sexy Spanish chick. In bull fighting tradition, you begin the last act by dedicating the bull’s death or beating to a chick (chicks love that sort of thing), then give her your hat (they like that sort of thing even better).
After this little show of manliness, you will equip yourself with your muleta and a short sword. Some showmen show off in front of the bull…kneeling in front of it, taunting it to charge you. The crowds usually love it — we’re not sure if they love the sheer balls of the matador to step inside the arena with a bull, or want to see how fast he can run when the bull charges him. You will then start sidestepping the bull as it repeatedly charges past you and attacks your red muleta.
The final phase of your battle is the most difficult. After tiring the bull down to a manageable level, you must have your sword ready and let him pass under your muleta. Then you have to shove the sword into the back of the bull’s neck.
No, it’s not humane. Which is why we prefer the recent trend in bull fighting, which equips the bull with restraints to slow it a bit, and keeps it alive and well. Many countries have banned it and some are trying, so alternatives to fighting the bull have been used. It preserves the art of it, the fun of trying to be killed by a bull, and makes for a hell of an afternoon.
There are not many specific ways to train for fighting a bull. Conditioning is obvious. Practice with the muleta by having your friend wear a Viking mask and ride a motorcycle at you. Or whatever else you can devise. To fight a bull and survive while also looking cool doing it, requires you to have quickness and overall coordination. Some have suggested martial arts training instead of binge drinking. We guess that’d be okay. You also need to start running in boots. As in, dress boots for Saturday night party time. Matadors wear nice boots and have to make their play on the bull in dirt. Not sure who made that rule, but good luck with all that.
You are now a certified matador. Not really. We have no authority to do that.