The Dance Of Death

The first bullfight I saw was in Madrid almost 10 years ago. For the first 3 bulls I felt very uncomfortable and even at times sick to my stomach. After the third bull I had seen enough and was ready to leave. Then that wonderful fourth bull came charging out and showed my ignorant eyes what this dance of death was all about, the beauty in fighting a noble battle till death. On his second or third pass this magnificent bull caught the matador in the side with his horn. The matador fell to his knees as red poured from his stomach. The Banderillos rushed out and distracted the bull as the matador closed his eyes grimacing in pain. Reaching deep inside his soul the matador found a way to pick himself up off that ground and ignore the left side of his suit of lights which now was soaked in blood. What I saw next, I would only realize months later upon studying the art of bullfighting, would be one of the finest performances by both bull and matador that a spectator could see.

Now let me lay some ground work here before I continue. The first time the bull has encountered man on foot is inside that ring, this gives the man an advantage of course but more importantly it highlights the bulls raw aggressive nature and ability to fight; a bull in a pack is a relatively controlled animal, a bull alone is an unpredictable ferocious beast. The bull is what every one is watching here, not the matador. The matador is merely there to bring the best possible performance out of the bull. The bullfight celebrates and honors the bull's testosterone, bravery, ferocity, the measures the bull takes in its fight for life before the sword pierces the aorta. The heart and balls of the bull are unlike any other living creature. Once a bull has learned how to stab a man with his horns that bull is instantly a whole new beast and the matador must be at the top of his game if he wants to live. When the bull knows how to kill, this I believe is where I left off...

Things got back to normal as the matador bravely placed each pair of banderillas in the bull's neck as every move was filled with agony. The matador had lost a lot of blood at this point and could pass out at any moment. But he didn't. I have never seen such a fine display of heart and pride in one's art as I saw that afternoon. The matador hung on for dear life as he swung that red cape preparing for his kill and working this bull for all it had. How terrifying it must be to get so close to those horns that are covered in your own blood. The matador got a wonderful performance from his bull as the great beast, now also hanging on for his own life, raged after that cape without any hesitation, showing strength and courage as his neck slowly sunk lower and lower, nearing fatigue. It finally came time for the kill. It was clean and successful, the sword went in deep between the shoulder blades. The bull had only moments to live. It stood there with its tongue hanging out, taking in its last breathe, staring the matador down. The matador about to pass out from blood loss stared back in silence for several moments until he raised his fist up and pointed his index finger out at the bull. He then screamed out, "Ahhhhhhhaayyyyy," at the top of his lungs as he swung his fist down and at that exact moment the bull collapsed dead. The matador fell to his knees nearly unconscious and in serious need of a doctor. The crowd was hysterical and everyone took out their white handkerchief and waved it wildly in approval to the judge's box. The judges gave the matador two hoofs that day.