Juli is a young español bullﬁghter that started his career around the age of 12.
As you read through this presentation, take notes on the worksheet and upload
your completed answers.
Also, to review your vocabulary, answer the question: ¿Dónde está Juli? in
each slide. You answers can be in relation to the bull, the arena, his assistants,
or anything else you can imagine. Try to use at least 5 different sentences for
each page and try to use ALL your vocab. You can check them off or tally
them as you use them. The more you use your vocab, the easier it will get for
It is believed that bulls charge the color red, but this is false. They actually
charge anything moving! So, the next time you ﬁnd yourself in an open ﬁeld
with a bull, stand still and make small movements toward the fence, right?
Well, personally I’d run like crazy yelling “every man for himself!” Seriously
though, it’s the movement, not the color that makes bulls charge. This is why
you will often see the matador or his banderilleros (explained later) make
jerking movements to get the bull to charge.
There are breeding ranches that breed bulls to be more aggressive. When a
bull enters the ring, it’s his ﬁrst experience with a man on foot. There are
unmounted horses that know how to corral the bulls. They are also wearing
different bells around their necks so that when the hear a certain bell, everyone
in the group knows where they’re supposed to be. These horses are brought
into the arena to help guide a skiddish bull out of the arena, if necessary.
A bullﬁghter will use a variety of capes throughout the corrida de toros. A
large one is used ﬁrst and he may change capes periodically throughout until
ﬁnally using the smallest one, which is used for the ﬁnal kill. Permission must
be granted by the alcalde (literally, mayor, who presides over the bullﬁght and
sits at a place of honor throughout the exhibition) before the bull may be killed.
There are three tercios to the bullﬁght and the alcalde is the one who allows the
next tercio to continue. There is distinguishable music played during each
tercio of the bullﬁght. Likewise unique events take place during tercio.
When a bull ﬁrst enters the ring, he is the most dangerous. He is used to the
wide-open pasture and is confused with his new surroundings. He desperately
searches for a way out. One of the bullﬁghter’s assistants will make some
large passes with the bull as the matador observes the speciﬁc characteristics of
the bull. Does he make unique throws with his head? More to the left or the
right? Does he run hard and twist his head at the last second?
See the guys lined up in the behind the barrier in the red caps? These are the
“pooper scoopers” who clean up the arena after each bull. After the bull is
dragged from the arena, they throw additional dirt/sand over blood spills and
rake over the area to smooth it out again. This is done each time a bull is
If the audience continues to cheer and shout Olé after the bullﬁght is
completed because of extreme bravery shown by the matador, the alcalde
(mayor) may grant a trophy: 1 ear, 2 ears, or the tail of the bull for a perfect
performance. Spectators also throw ﬂowers and other objects to their favorite
The arena seen here in Madrid, Spain is named Las Ventas, which holds 25,000
people. It is the oldest and largest bullﬁght arena in the world. The Plaza
Mayor, the central plaza in Madrid, originally held bullﬁghts, but is now a
center of commercial and social events. Above the Plaza are apartments that
quite pricy to rent. There are four entrances to the Plaza that lead to the four
directions of the city.
Notice Juli’s uniform. This is called a suit of lights. The more experienced a
matador is, the most elegant his traje de luces becomes, reaching into the
thousands of dollars! As you read through these pages and look at Juli’s
different trajes, you can probably identify which ones were taken earlier in his
career and which ones were taken later as his popularity rose. Check out the
last page for a website to purchase your own.
A great paso is made when a bull comes dangerously close to the toreador. He
stands erect and quiet, allowing the bull to pass within inches or skimming his
traje de luces. If a toreador becomes really good, he will stand in front of the
bull, turn his back and walk in the opposite direction. Having complete control
of the bull and total conﬁdence in what he will do is the only way to perform
this feat. Another way that a toreador will show his bravery is to do a pass
while kneeling on the ground. It’s much more difﬁcult to run if one is
kneeling than standing!
The hat that Juli is wearing is the traditional toreador hat. They also wear a
long, thin ponytail in the back of their head at the bottom. The more
experienced the toreador is, the longer his ponytail. Nowadays, there is a fake
one attached to the hat…cheeters!
The banderilleros are the the matador’s assistants who place the banderillas,
three sets of decorative sticks placed in the bulls shoulder muscles, meant to
weaken the muscles so that he charges with a lowered head. The ﬁrst set
placed is the shortest and the next two are progressively longer to reach over
the previously placed banderillas. Sometimes the bullﬁghter will choose to
place his own banderillas, but it is most common to have the banderilleros do it
for him. After all, that’s what they’re paid to do!
Another assistant, the picador, also has the job of weakening the bull’s
shoulder muscles as well as enraging the bull. The picador is riding on
horseback and wears a wide brimmed hat with a light brown suit. The horse
and the picador’s leg are heavily padded. The bull’s horns are strong enough
to pick up a soccer mom’s van with the team inside or a small bus! As the bull
charges the blind-folded horse (well, would you stand there and let a bull ram
you?), the picador stabs the bull’s shoulder muscles with a long pointed lance.
If the picador “damages” the bull by too much blood-shed, the audience will
whistle, showing signs of disapproval.
This is an excellent pass by Juli! He is standing tall, not reaching out toward
the bull, but rather allowing the bull to pass right beside him, even touch him.
Notice how he has even extended his midsection. This is why the traje de
luces is form-ﬁtting. Chicos, how many of you would be extending that part of
yourself to that much danger!? The cape often is twirled and sometimes gets
wrapped around the toreador at the end of the pass as he awaits another paso
from the toro.
Notice the sign above Juli’s head. This is the sign that is presented to the
espectadores before the bull ﬁrst enters the ring. If I have a job at the bullﬁght,
I want that one: in the ring without a bull! The sign announces the breading
ranch, ranch colors, breader’s sign, as well as the age and weight of the bull.
You can see from this picture the banderillas in the bull’s shoulders. Yes, that
is real blood from the bull, probably from the picador at the beginning of the
bullﬁght. Often times they fall out during passes, when the bull runs violently
into the barrier surroundong the arena, or just from running during the
exhibition due to poor placement. The bull occasionally gets and attacks the
cape from the matador. This is when one of his assistants (you can see them
behind this barrier at the top of the picture ready to jump out and help him if he
were to be gored, thrown, or somehow placed in too much danger from the
bull) will hand him another cape.
I have seen videos where the bull has jumped the barrier (up to 5 1/2 feet tall!)
and into the stands. I have witnessed a bull jump sideways at the barrier and
slide across the top of the barrier. It is quite scary as there are numerous
employees and media personnel directly behind the barrier. There is another,
taller barrier in front of the spectators and behind the arena barrier, maybe 12
feet or so separating the two, so the chance of a bull jumping both is quite rare,
but it has happened.
This is a great example of how Juli has so much control over the bull that he is
kneeling on one knee while making his paso. Be careful Juli! It looks like the
bull has stopped; he may throw his horns at you at any second!
The banderillas are placed during the ﬁrst tercio, shortly after the picador does
his job. The second tercio is when the toreador is making his dangerously
close pasos. The third tercio is the inevitable kill, if lucky the matador kills the
toro. OUCH! Watch the horn!
Juli receives the sword to kill the bull. Again, the cape is typically smaller than
the previous capes. You can compare them nicely in this picture. A real sword
is hidden beneath the cape and passes are made by the bullﬁghter to get the
bull into the correct position for a “clean kill”. Remember, he must ﬁrst ask
permission from the alcalde to make the kill. If the alcalde waves his white
hanky from his balcony or tips his hat or other indicator, he can proceed with
the kill; if not, he must continue to make additional passes.
A clean kill is when the bull stands with his two front feet together, separating
the shoulder blades and the spine. He charges full force toward the matador,
one foot in front of the other, the matador “slides” his sword between the
shoulder blade and the spine with great force, ﬁnding the avenue that leads
directly to the heart. If this is done correctly, the bull dies instantly. He may
stammer a bit before he dies, but it’s a quick, painless death. If not, he may
get whistles and shouts from the spectators showing their disapproval. If too
many attempts are made at a kill and audience thinks the animal is suffering
unnecessarily or too much, he will be put down by a veterinarian on staff at the
bullﬁght. A dying animal is perhaps the most dangerous. A small-bladed knife
is used to sever the spinal chord at the base of the skull and the animal dies
instantly. I have personally witnessed this during a bullﬁght in Mexico City in
the mid90s. The novice toreador made about a dozen failed attempts at killing
This is when the bull ﬁrst comes out. You know it’s a new bullﬁght because
the largest cape is used, the bull only has a ribbon with the ranch colors on
them placed on his back.
Amazing paso, Juli!
There are a total of seven bulls brought to the bullring for each ﬁght. Each bull
has a number. Before the bullﬁght starts, these numbers are put into a hat. The
three bullﬁghters pull out two papers each. These are the bulls they will
encounter. The additional bull becomes the spare if a bull is sick or
disfunctional due to lack of charging or other reasons. The most novice
bullﬁghter begins the corrida de toros and the most experienced bullﬁghter
ﬁghts last. After each bullﬁghter has performed, the three ﬁght again in the
same order. If the spare bull is not used, he is sent to the slaughter house
anyway. Arenas do various things with the meat. Some will auction it off to
the highest bidder, others give the meat to charities, others will sell it to lockers
or other private vendors.
This photo shows how a matador will walk slowly toward a bull, making jerky
movements to get the bull to charge.
The twirling action of the cape, as described earlier, is best captured in this
Juli is setting up the bull to be in good position for the kill. Hey bull, nothing
to see back here!
Fact: All cows will die. A bullﬁght is said to give the bull an honorable death.
Some say it is their chance to kill the one who kills them. It is said to be an art
form because the the bull is killed gracefully, with skill in an artistic way. It is
fair to mention that not all Spaniards see this as an art form; some animal
rights’ activists have been seen outside bullﬁght arenas worldwide protesting
Bullﬁghting originated in medieval times to ﬁght the arabs who ruled Spain
from 711-1492. It was used as training to kill the enemy. They practiced with
bulls and fought on horseback. Eventually it evolved to ﬁghting bulls on foot,
a more dangerous sport. Equestrian bullﬁghts still take place in some cities
There are often rituals that are performed before and after the bullﬁght by the
Some of the services provided at the arena include a small chapel for the
bullﬁghter to pray before he enters the ring, a small clinic in case of accidents,
and a jail cell for unruly spectators, to name a few.
All pictures in this presentation have come from Juli’s ofﬁcial websites.
To learn more about bullﬁghting, check out these websites:
Toroshopping.com supplies for the toreador
(all in Spanish, but cool bullfight posters!)
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