Tercio de Muerte
Rules to play Bull Fighting
Tercio de Muerte
In the final stage, the tercio de muerte the third of death, the matador reenters the ring alone with a small red cape, or muleta, and a sword. It is a common misconception that the color red is supposed to anger the bull; the animals are colorblind.The cape is thought to be red to mask the bulls blood, although the color is now a matter of tradition. The matador uses his cape to attract the bull in a series of passes, which serve the dual purpose of wearing the animal down for the kill and creating an interesting display, or faena. He may also demonstrate his domination of the bull by caping and bringing it especially close to his body. The faena refers to the entire performance with the cape muleta.
It is usually broken down into tandas, or series, of passes. The series tanda ends with a final series of passes in which the matador, using the cape, tries to maneuver the bull into a position to stab it between the shoulder blades and through the aorta or heart. The sword is called estoque, and the act of thrusting the sword is called an estocada. During the initial series, while the matador in part is performing for the crowd, he uses a fake sword estoque simulado. This is made of wood or aluminum, making it lighter and much easier to handle. The estoque de verdad real sword is made out of steel. At the end of the tercio de muerte, when the matador has finished his faena, he will change swords to take up the steel one. He performs the estocada and kills the bull with a pierce through the heart, if all goes according to plan. Many times the bull does not get pierced through the heart during the estocada initially, and repeated efforts must be made to bring the bull down and end his life.
If the matador has performed particularly well, the crowd may petition the president by waving white handkerchiefs to award the matador an ear of the bull. If his performance was exceptional, the president will award two ears. In certain more rural rings, the practice includes award of the bulls tail. Very rarely, if the public or the matador believe that the bull has fought extremely bravely, the events president may be petitioned to grant the bull a pardon indulto. If the indulto is granted, the bulls life is spared; it leaves the ring alive and is returned to its home ranch. There the bull becomes a stud for the rest of his life.