15 Mar Interview with a bullfighter
Interview with a bullfighter (Eduardo Davila Miura)
Today I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting a well-known figure in the world of bullfighting: Eduardo Davila Miura comes from bullfighting royalty, his family started the ganaderia (bull breeding farm) Miura 175 years ago and it has gradually evolved to become one of the most famous ganaderos (bull breeders) in Spain. Miura is revered in taurine circles for the quality and spirit of its bulls. It gained infamy with the tragic death of Manolete who died after being gored by a Miura bull in 1947. For the last 75 years Miura bulls have featured in the Feria of Seville and all professional matadors strive to pit their wits and skills against a Miura bull at least once in their careers.
Eduardo was born in 1974 and started his professional career in 1997 retiring at a young age for a bullfighter in 2006 much to the surprise of everyone as he was at the top of his profession. He has since forged out a successful career as a businessman and motivational speaker and for the last three years, to the delight of the aficionados, he has made an annual reappearance in the bullring always with Miura bulls. This year it will be to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the family ganaderia and will take place this June in Madrid during the Feria of San Isidrio.
Eduardo very kindly met me in Jose Luis, a popular bar and hangout for locals in Plaza De Cuba where we had a coffee and a chat about all things taurine :
Gerry: The Ganaderia Miura is very famous and everyone talks about the Miura bulls. What is it about the Miura bull that is so special?
Eduardo: The Miura Ganaderia was founded in 1842 and is currently the oldest in Spain in terms of being in the same family since its inception. This year is its 175th anniversary and it´s true that it is a special ganaderia because its bulls are special, they have a lot of personality. This is thanks to, not just the founder of the ganaderia but also to those who have continued the tradition including my grandfather and now my uncles Antonio and Eduardo, they have managed to maintain the special character of Miura bulls.
Gerry: And people are scared of these Miura bulls?
Eduardo: Miura bulls have a special significance for bull fighters. It is unfortunate that several well-known bullfighters have died fighting Miura bulls, most famously Manolete. Our bulls have achieved a tragic kind of infamy.
Gerry: What makes a bull good for a bull fight?
Eduardo: Fundamentaly a bull must be brave, this is what differentiates it from other bovine animals. Apart from bravery the bull should display the desire to attack and fight, the desire to win. The bull can also display various types of behaviour, ideally he will have a mixture of bravery and nobility. When the bullfighter fights well and correctly, the bull should accompany him.
Gerry: So you maintain a relationship with the bull?
Eduardo: Absolutely. The bullfighter has a very strong relationship with the bull.
Gerry: And do you feel that from the very beginning?
Eduardo: Yes. From the minute you stand in front of the bull you feel it.
Gerry: Have the characteristics of the bull changed much over the last 15 to 20 years?
Eduardo: Yes. The bull has evolved a lot, the same time as the bullfight itself has evolved. You do not bullfight today the way you did 60 years ago and the bull has adapted to changes in the form of bullfighting. This is the merit that the ganaderias have, to select and breed an animal that fits into the evolution and style of today´s bullfighting.
Gerry: The first time you picked up the capote (bullfighting cape) you were seven years old?
Eduardo: Yes, I started in the countryside. From an early age I liked bullfighting and it started a bit like a game.
Gerry: Your parents supported you in your wish to become a bullfighter?
Eduardo: My parents made things clear to me. If I wanted to bullfight they understood, but they obliged me to continue my studies and they made me understand that it is a difficult profession.
Gerry: Who showed you how to bullfight?
Eduardo: I learnt from many professionals, I was watching all the time in the countryside, in the tentaderos (this is where the ganaderia tests the breeding cows to see how brave they are. A bullfighter will do this in a plaza de toros in the countryside. A selection is then made of cows to breed from). I think I am a bit self-taught but in the end, I have learnt from many toreros, also from spending time with older bullfighters, always asking questions and absorbing.
Gerry: And the training , is it very hard?
Eduardo: Well, if you like your profession, it´s not so hard. Of course there are difficult moments because you need to do a lot of training both physical and mental. But for me perhaps it is more difficult to go and sit in an office than to be in the countryside training.
Gerry: But now that is what you do isn´t it, you are a businessman?
Eduardo: Yes, but I am a businessman in the taurine world so it´s still something I like.
Gerry: And how do you prepare yourself mentally before a bullfight?
Eduardo: Its a very important preparation. It´s vital to prepare yourself mentally, to have confidence in yourself, to know that when you arrive at the plaza it´s because you have the right qualities, life does not give you anything for free, you need to remember all of this and that you are capable of standing before the bull. There are always times that you will have more triumph or less but fundamentally you must be a professional and you are there for a reason.
Gerry: And the question of fear, did you feel more fear the first time you stood in front of a bull in the plaza or is it always present?
Eduardo: I feel fear always, although it´s a different type of fear. The fear one feels at the beginning is a bit the fear of the unknown.
Gerry: And fear of the public?
Eduardo: I always feel fear of the public. The biggest fear is of the public, the responisbility of performing in front of them and of triumphing. This fear never leaves.
Gerry: You were a bullfighter for 12 years, why did you give it up?
Eduardo: I stopped because the time came when I realised that I didn´t have enough desire to live the life of a bullfighter, to do the training, to do what this profession demands, so I stopped in 2006.
Gerry: How would you explain a bullfight to a foreigner who has no idea?
Eduardo: I would suggest that they spoke to professionals before going to a bullfight. To go to a bullring and see a bullfight without any idea is not easy.
Gerry: There are lots of people who do this.
Eduardo: Yes. And many of them demonstrate a great sensibility and many fall in love with bullfighting from the first moment but this does not work for everybody. The ideal is that before, they make contact with a torero and also a breeder (ganadero), that they see a little of the bullfighting world so that when they go to the plaza they have more knowledge and understanding of the spectacle.
Gerry: Bullfighting, is it sport or art?
Gerry: A bit like ballet with blood?
Eduardo: Yes, it´s an art form where you never know what will happen. The result is never a sure thing. There are many circumstances that the torero cannot control and above all it is the coming together of many feelings, two living beings coming together and creating a one-off, it is much more art than sport.
Gerry: What makes a torero magnificent?
Eduardo: To have certain qualities and the capacity to display them. Bravery, fortitude, the ability to fight in front of huge crowds. To be an important bullfigter, one must have many qualities.
Gerry: who in your opinion has been the best torero?
Eduardo: There are many. It would be unfair to just name one. But one who was amazing and very popular is Benitez El Cordobes. I have had the good fortune to see him in various plazas and in the countryside and although he is controversial for many aficionados, I think that when you are an icon and able to bring large crowds to the plaza, it is for a reason.
Gerry: Why was he controversial?
Eduardo: The purists in bullfighting said that he did not fight well, that he had many eccentricities, they always criticise the greats. He was critisized by many, but he had something, he had to have something to be so popular with the general public.
Gerry: This year you are going to bullfight again in San Isidrio. Are you looking forward to this?
Eduardo: Yes, because it´s something I do because I want to, I fought in 2015, 2016 and now I will do so in Madrid 2017.
Gerry: How do you define yourself as a bullfighter?
Eduardo: I think I had my own personality. Having been brought up in the countryside I think this has had a great influence on how I bullfight and I think above all, I had my own personality as a bullfighter.
Gerry: Do you eat very little before the fight?
Eduardo: Yes very little, also with the fear that you feel you lose your appetite!
Gerry: The trajes de luz (suits of light worn by the bullfighters) are very beautiful but are they uncomfortable?
Eduardo: They are uncomfortable but they are beautiful and special. It´s something traditional. I have mine made in Madrid. I have lots. Sometimes I give them to friends or charities.
Gerry: Are you worried that one day they will ban bullfighting?
Eduardo: I sincerely don´t think this will happen. It is a spectacle that has a lot of power because it has a lot of truth, things with truth always continue.
Gerry: Do you think it will return to Catalunya?
Eduardo: It could happen. It won´t be easy but it is not impossible.
Gerry: What is the worse thing about being a torero?
Eduardo: The day you have to stop being one, you feel bad.
Gerry: So you felt terrible the day you gave it up?
Eduardo: Well, I´m lucky that I still work in this world but I do understand that the moment you leave it is awful, although you never really leave it, but what we all like the most is the bullfight and to be a torero.
Gerry: What is your favorite place in Seville (not for eating)?
Eduardo: The place I most like to be in Seville is the Plaza de Toros!
Gerry: And a tapas bar?
Eduardo: I love one in Triana called Las Golondrinas
Gerry. Another place you love in Spain?
Eduardo: I love Gijon in Asturias. I like the people there, the city, Asturias in general but really Gijon.
Gerry: What do you recommend a tourist does here in Seville?
Eduardo: Go to a bullfight!
Gerry: What would you change about Spain if you could?
Eduardo: I think, above all, we cannot permit the disunification of Spain, this is what most preoccupies me at the moment.
Gerry: Would you change anything in the Taurine world?
Eduardo: I think what we have failed to do and what is important, is to communicate to the public what this world is. The bullfighers, the ganaderos, the taurine sector in general needs to be more open so that more people in Spain know our world.
Gerry: A personality that you admire that is not involved in bullfighting?
Eduardo: Pope Francisco. I really like him and identify with him. I think he is the most important personality that we have at the moment.
Gerry: Does he like bullfighting?
Eduardo: I don´t know! I´d love to have a chat with him and ask.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]