So I snatched some of this video a few months back…
Every March, the sleepy little village town of Cheongdo awakens to host the Annual Cheongdo Bull Fighting Festival and this year, I went with fellow EPIKers to see what the festival was all about. No, this is not like a Spanish bullfight with a matador and lots of arena blood sport. This is bull vs. bull (and seldom will one die in the ring).
A 100 year tradition, bullfighting in countries such as Korea and Japan used to be a village sport. In a Korean bullfight, two bulls enter the ring and lock horns and butt against each other until one yields or gets intimidated and runs away. Sound exciting? For the outsider this might emit a bit of a yawn, but there’s more to this sport than meets the eye. The bulls and their trainers develop a close bond of trust. The bulls get picked at 2 years old from cattle going to the slaughterhouse and raised and trained from thereon. Each bull’s name is proudly burned into its side as a visible tattoo. Some trainers sleep next to their bulls when going to competitions, while some do jogging workouts with them. Furthermore, raising one of these bulls is not cheap– the bulls get fed a special vegetarian diet with occasional seafood and ginseng drinks and they are treated with as much care as a heavyweight champion boxer. Once in the ring, the trainer will accompany the bull, shouting bullfighting expressions as if shouting to a boxer to ” jab!”
According to a 2009 NY Times article, there are 500 trainers and over 1,500 contending bulls. Cheongdo is the training center for over half of these bulls.
Advance Ticket Purchase: Adult 4,000 won / Youth 3,000 won
On-site Purchase: Adult 5,000 won / Youth 4,000 won
※ Free Adimission – Child (ages under 7), Born in Ox year (2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949) and disabled visitors
Getting there from Daegu:
You can take the train from Dongdaegu or Daegu Station to Cheongdo. It is a 30 minute ride.