Interview with matador Jorge de Jesús “El Glison”
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
One of the most famous and interesting bullfighters in Mexico is “El Glison,” well-known not just for having had many occupations during his life or for having suffered multiple fractures during his bullfighting career, but also for being married to a beauty queen. On December 31 he will perform in a bullfight at the Plaza de Toros Oriente. Jorge de Jesús Gleason talked to Atención.
Jesús Aguado: What does it mean to you to be considered the best Mexican bullfighter?
Jorge de Jesús Gleason: Statistically, I hold the record as the best apprentice in the history of Mexico, and I was on the top of the bullfighting hierarchy for five years in a row from 1990 through 1995. Those measurable objectives make me feel happy. But I get more satisfaction when I receive people’s love and support thanks to my effort.
JA: Before being a bullfighter you were a shark hunter, a wine vendor, and a soccer player, and finally you studied to take up a career. Why did you decide to be a bullfighter?
JJG: I did many things before being a bullfighter. I got a ride to Alaska, where I worked as a salmon fisherman. When I was 21 years old I traveled around the world and later studied agricultural engineering. I also did alpine climbing, diving, rodeo, charrería, rappelling, and more. At the beginning my motivation for bullfighting was just the adventure, but nowadays I realize that it is much more than just adventure, because it is related to the human being’s evolution on the planet. It brings together passions, arts, instincts and everything. It is about human beings fighting in the arena and those who observe from their seats in the plaza.
JA: Thinking about your multiple fractures, is it easy to fight without thinking of retirement?
JJG: Thanks to my passion I have received 37 gorings and I have had 18 fractures. Four times I have been on the edge of death. In fact, some time ago the doctors were about to amputate one of my legs. Thank God that did not happen, but my leg was so injured that they predicted that I would not walk again. I have endured much physical pain and mental and emotional pressure, but resigning from bullfighting is not an option because my admiration for the bull and privilege of fighting against him have increased my spirit. For that reason I prefer to die alive with illusions, rather than living a life full of unsatisfied desires or frustrations.
JA: What is your opinion about the new generation of bullfighters in Mexico and about the bullfighting ambiance?
JJG Technically, there are many good bullfighters in Mexico, but they do not have strong and attractive enough personalities to become idols, and for that reason the bullfighting ambiance is boring and unattractive.
JA Some countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, as well as Cataluña in Spain, have forbidden bullfighting. and those prohibitions have been promoted by animal-rights activists. In fact, the city council from DF has voted six times in several administrations to forbid that kind of spectacle in DF. What do you think about that?
JJG: The lack of bullfighting promotion, culture and information about bulls in the 21st century provokes the incomprehension of it, and for that reason they are trying to prohibit the events without understanding that their decisions could lead to the extinction of the savage bull. They could bring about the extinction of the animal that they are trying to protect.
JA: How to recover the image of bullfighting?
JJG: By promoting cultural values about it and its protagonists in books, lectures, movies or plays with good content to make people understand what happens in the arena and why. If we can achieve that, then they will be full of passion about the mysteries and realities of life and death, and they will accept the design of the planet and will understand the life of the bulls.
Plaza de Toros Oriente, Recreo 52
Tickets 500, 300, 200 and 150 pesos