Greetings fellow seeker ! I invite you into my world. Sometimes dark & moody, other times lit with a fiery brilliance that blinds. Over the last five years I've conducted an intense study of bullfighting & of the corrida in general. I was seeking that universal link between the bull fight and the knife fight. Yes, it is there and I am happy to report I am preparing an outline of what I've learned. You will be surprised and stunned. This work is mine. I claim it as true. It's beauty in action is only surpassed by it's deadly results. I don't ask for your approval. It's not needed. My creation stands alone. If you choose to share it's beauty with me, so be it. If not, be patient there will come a time ~
Soon, I shall share more with you, for now just enjoy !
The connection to me is obvious. But others may not see any relativity what so ever. The setups, the distractions and the dynamic body mechanics mimic one another to an amazing extent. Look over the various pictures and notice the details of both man and beast.
The Two Basic Actions of The Knifefighter
These skills are easily explained away as being "natural actions", and they are ! But they are hyper-tuned or almost super-natural actions.
The first is called hollowing out. (about like this Matador in the picture right) The second is known as leaning away. This can be likened to doing a modified limbo. Then add a dash of footwork (geometry) to spice up these two actions. Top it off with some highly articulated arm manuevers and you have a deadly ballet of battle at it's best ! Evade - don't block !
The bullfight is much the same as it has been since about 1726, when Francisco Romero of Ronda, Spain, introduced the estoque (the sword) and the muleta (the small, more easily wielded worsted cape used in the last part of the fight). The *capote - cape - muleta of the bullfighter is the same as the serape, vest or short jacket is for the knife man. They both act to distract and protect (via evasion and illusion). The serape is used to deflect and act as a shield. The lighter bandanna is too light to protect. But, it can hide your knife, distract his attention and confuse their timings. Quite like the Matadors large and small capes and their effect upon the angry bull.
When a bull first comes into the arena out of the toril, or bull pen gate, the matador greets it with a series of manoeuvres, or passes, with a large cape; these passes are usually verónicas, the basic cape manoeuvre (named for the woman who held out a cloth to Christ on his way to the crucifixion). Similarily the knifeman is taught to probe and test his opponents skills and weaknesses. He uses feints, distractions and enganyo's for this phase of combat more so than actual attacks or hardened defenses. The vest is a preferred item of apparel for knifemen. It free's up the arm more than a jacket. It can be manuevered and twirled more easily than a garmet which possess's sleaves. A vest will remain "open" where as a jacket tends to close up.
Evading & Placing the Bandillera's
The particular footwork that is seen in both the corrida and the knife fight is a tight line. As with the knife for instance there are two basic methods in which to transport the body. They are what I refer to as the "one step? and the "two step" methods. The one step leaves one foot extended - feet wide apart as in Wu-Shu. The two step action always keeps both feet beneath you. Balanced and centered. The evasions and circles are drawn tighter w/ the two step, good for in close work. The one step motions are better suited to out-fighting, the arcs of action are larger by necessity. The two step style works in all terrains and footings. The one step does not !
The similarities are obvious even to an untrained eye. The knife fight is more often won by patience and observation than by brute force.
Details of the cape work(for you to conceptualize and respin into knife work w/ a vest etc..)
Veronica. Primary matador demonstrates grace, agility, skill, dexterity, and total insanity as he floats in and out of his cape while the bull charges inches from his torso. Using a popular maneuver called the veronica, the bullfighter stands in place and slowly swings the cape away from the bull as it charges.
Afarolado. From farola, lighthouse. Any pass in which the muleta or capote is passed over the man's head as the bull charges by. It is begun as a veronica, with the cape. But with the man half turned away from the bull. As he spins in toward the animal, the matador flips the cape over his head. When done with the muleta it is with one hand is known as afarolado.
Adorno. An adorment,such as touching the bulls horns after a series of passes. When done with taste,at the right moment, and after sound capework, and adorno can be very moving. Arruza's famous telefono,leaning his elbow on the bull's forehead was performed as the exciting climax to a series of stirring classic passes. A stunt such as hanging a spectator's hat on a bull's horn is most often seen as an attempt to oscure shoddy performance. It is unforgivable and real aficionados will boo it.
Abanico. Literlly a fan. A two handed manueuver with the cape. The cloth is presented in a fanning motion, generallly by a Peon, to the charging animal, while bringing it into position for the picador. Also, a pass of domination with the muleta done while standing directly in front of the bull, distracting him while
giving ground slowly.
Pass of death. Which is a swing of the cape when the cape is held out and spread wide by the estoque. A derechazo is a pass where the matador attempts to regulate and direct the charge of the bull. This particular pass deals with the distances between the animal and the bullfighter, requiring a lot of skill for knowing the temperament of the animal. The matador will walk steadily into the path of the bull shaking the cape the entire time until the bull passes under the cape of the moving matador. This pass requires nerve, skill, and timing.
Pase Por Alto. This is a pass in which the Spanish phrase 'Parar, templar, y mandar' has originated, coined by Pedro Romero. This phrase means planting the feet, slowing
A mistake could mean the death of the star of this drama. Between the bullfighter and the bull there should always be a relationship based on the distance. This dynamic art form is based on the fact that the matador's dexterity makes him the creator and master of this relationship, instead of allowing the bull a chance to take command.
Larga Cambiada. "The most dramatic of the cape passes is the larga cambiada. The man kneels, swirls the cape out on the sand in front of him, and holds onto the corner with one hand. When the bull charges, the matador waits until the animal is about six feet away, then flips the cape over his head. As it flares out, it changes the bull's direction so that instead of passing on the man's right side, it goes by on the left. It can be highly exciting, beautiful, and dangerous. The problem is knowing the exact moment to swing the cape."
SUERTE:This is an inclusive term which refers to any interaction that takes place in the ring between torero and bull. "Pases" include only the moves done with the cape or the muleta. The' natural' and the 'veronica' are ' pases' and therefore 'suertes'; but the placing of the banderillas and the picking are only suertes.
Ok, so can you now take these ideas, tips and guides and make something practical out of there shared sameness ? Can you spot the concepts underlying each discipline (The Corrida & the Knife) ? It is not the Comtech way to spoon feed you your lesson on a silver platter. This is profound knowledge, you must earn such wisdom through study and life experience.
I have shown you a parallel path to gather knowledge about combat with edged weapons. Dare you pursue it more ?
If so, then onward to page two. There are a few more things for us to discuss before we close this study for the time being. ADVANCE SCHOLAR !
Note From above:
* A capote is a big work cape, magenta on the outside and yellow (sometimes blue) on the inside. It is used by all the toreros but in the final tercio the matador or novillero will change it for the muleta, made from red flannel on a wooden stick, which he will use for the faena. A faena is all the work done with a muleta by a matador or novillero in the final and most important tercio of the bullfight.