Aficionados International

What is Bullfighting ?

The English term “bullfighting” is generally used to describe what people familiar with the subject call a “Corrida de Toros”. This customary English translation is a misnomer, as it fails to identify the event clearly among a variety of bull-related events and activities and also falsely places the spectacle in the realm of sport. A Corrida de Toros is a public event in which participants called toreros (bullfighters) enter the ring with a specially bred fighting bull ( toro bravo) moving through a sequence of regulated phases (tercios or thirds) culminating in the matador’s iconic encounter with the bull armed with a red cape (muleta) and in most cases, the bull’s death by sword-thrust. The matador is then judged, based on the artistic merit of his performance.

The Corrida de Toros is the internationally best known example of tauromachy, the sphere of bull-related cultural events and activities held in countries such as Spain, France, Portugal, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador. In the English-speaking world it is often confused or mixed up with related activities such as the running of the bulls (the most popular of these events are the runs held during the yearly San Fermin festival in Pamplona), horseback bullfighting, known as rejoneo, and events such as recortes comptetitions or the French custom of course camarguaise

This site is mainly about the corrida de toros or classic Spanish bullfighting. Today, corridas can be seen in the European countries of Spain, Portugal and France. Spanish bullfighting has grown in popularity in the south of France in recent years and was inscribed into the protected cultural heritage of the French state in April 2011. Bullfighting is also popular in the Latin-American nations of Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela.
Matador de toros Enrique Ponce
While the Iberian Peninsula and its former colonies have had a long history of taurine culture and bull-related events, bullfighting as it can be seen today; contrary to popular belief, is a relatively young art form. While the current three act structure of a corrida was first encoded by Pepe Hillo in his treatise “ La Tauromaquia or the art of bullfighting” in 1796, it was really only during the so-called golden age of bullfighting in the 1910s and 20s and the ensuing stylistic revolution that the aesthetics of modern bullfighting were born.  2007, the last year before the current economic crisis took hold of Spain, was the year with the most bullfights celebrated in the history of the country.