The very dignified and curious story of the Colombian bullfighter Juan de Castilla | The bull, by the horns | Culture | EUROtoday

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He says that he will get up at 3 within the morning in Guadalajara, the place he lives along with his spouse, travels in his automotive to the Madrid neighborhood of Coslada, and goes to work at 5 at a bundle supply firm. He ends his day at 1 midday, and as we speak, half an hour later, he arrived on time to his appointment with EL PAÍS; Once the interview is over, he runs to the fitness center, then has a light-weight lunch, and two hours later he begins bullfighting coaching. He arrives at his home round 9 at night time, with simply sufficient time to take a bathe, have dinner, and get into mattress.

And so day after day, and he has no grievance; On the opposite, he assures that he feels fortunate as a result of he has a job that permits him to “live as a bullfighter” in Spain, though he nonetheless can’t make a residing from bullfighting.

His identify is Juan Pablo Correa Sánchez, he was born in September 1994 within the Colombian city of Medellín, he’s a bullfighter and he pronounces himself on posters as Juan de Castilla, as a tribute to his dad and mom, initially from that neighborhood the place he was born. “And also as a gesture of rebellion,” he explains, “because the first time I bullfighted, I was 14 years old, I noticed bad faces among the attendees when I said that I had been born in Castilla, which is true that it has been a difficult neighborhood, from where Many hitmen came out of drug trafficking, but I come from a very good, humble and hard-working family, of which I feel very proud.”

Thanks to Botero, the bullfighter and his trainer lived for a yr and 7 months in Seville, “and I made sure to keep him informed of my progress in Spain.”

Juan de Castilla is introduced subsequent May 19 on the San Isidro Fair on the poster for the Miura bullfight, a place that he gained in Las Ventas on September 19 in opposition to a sophisticated bull from the Sobral ranch. The provide got here to him when he had already dedicated to bullfighting that very same day within the morning within the French city of Vic Fezensac. A tough coincidence, indisputably, however one which he needed to settle for. “In my circumstances I can't say no,” he says, “because of what a bullfight in Madrid could represent for my life.”

A life, that of Juan de Castilla, was not simple. He made a reputation for himself as a bullfighter in Colombia, however, in his opinion, the triumphs had been inconsequential. Together along with his trainer, the bullfighter Fernando Arango, he considered the opportunity of leaving the nation in order that his profession wouldn’t be stagnant. “But we didn't have the means to do it, because my parents couldn't pay for my trip and stay in Spain, which was our dream,” he says.

Then, Arango had an concept: write a letter to the well-known Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, who had been a patron of younger artists. And the trainer answered them; He had by no means supported a bullfighter, however he determined to wager on Juan de Castilla, and granted him a scholarship in order that he may make his method in Spain for a yr.

“In the end, Don Fernando paid my teacher and me for a year and seven months an apartment in the Sevillian town of Espartinas, food, transportation, clothing, and we still had a little money left to save.” “He was very generous with me,” provides the bullfighter, “and I made sure to keep him informed of my progress in Spain thanks to his support.”

Juan de Castilla, natural in the Plaza de Las Ventas.
Juan de Castilla, pure within the Plaza de Las Ventas.Alfredo Arevalo

Juan de Castilla was solely 17 years outdated when he crossed the Atlantic in 2012. Some time in the past he had met Iván Fandiño in his nation, who promised to assist him and invited him to hitch the CITAR (International Center for Bullfighting and High Performance), positioned in Guadalajara, and the candidate traveled there after his time in Seville.

“I entered as a student and started working, and then I was a 'todero' more than a bullfighter; That is to say, I did everything: bricklayer, butler on a farm, waiter, poster-sticker, field worker, hunting assistant…”

Until February 1, 2022, he was employed by the Sending firm, devoted to pressing parcels and logistics, the place Juan de Castilla manages the incidents of Madrid deliveries. He says that he’s very grateful to the businessman, who presents him services to bullfight, attend tentaderos and permits him to get pleasure from his holidays at Christmas, which is when bullfighting festivals are celebrated in his nation.

He took the choice in 2017 in his hometown, and since then he has solely participated in about 30 bullfights, and solely 7 of them in Spain.

“I have been a 'todero' (I have worked in everything) before being a bullfighter, and I still don't make a living from bullfighting, but I have blind faith”

“There have been years in which I have not had even a temptation,” says the bullfighter; “That is why the beginning of 2024 is so exciting, last January I triumphed in Manizales, I fly to Peru on May 12 and I am announced in France and in San Isidro. “I don't have more, but I feel very lucky, and I'm delighted.”

Juan de Castilla is aware that the bulls he will have to fight are not, in principle, the most suitable for showing off, “but I prefer to suffer with the crutch in my hand than to be comfortably seated on the sofa at home,” he says; “and for this I prepare myself every day, to take on these challenges with the greatest possible dignity.”

“Unfortunately, I still don't make a living from the bull,” he provides, “and this drives me to do so out of conviction and encouraged by great inner strength every time I dress up as a bullfighter.” “I feel blessed because I can make a living from my work, but what I do is harder than going through fatigue in the arena with a crutch in my hands,” he concludes.

He is satisfied that he has solely been capable of present a small a part of his bullfighting idea up to now: “I consider myself combative, brave, always willing not to turn my back on complications and to enjoy when I overcome them.” And he qualifies his profession as “a career of constant struggle and sacrifice, which has not been explosive, but every step I have climbed I have not descended.”

Ask. Have you ever considered establishing your self within the firm and leaving the bulls?

Answer. “Never. Sometimes, I have a hard time seeing that others bullfight and I don't, but blind faith remains in me. It's true that I have moments of weakness, but I never throw in the towel.”

P. But the life he leads…

R. “I couldn't maintain this life plan in five years. I sleep little and I try a lot. Therefore, my goal is to succeed before that time period. And I dedicate my life to that.”

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