In the Ring with the World's Youngest Bullfighter

With no minimum age for matadors, the country has children as young as 10 picking up the sword. Can they save a dying sport? In the ring with the world's youngest bullfighter

Dante Busquets — Anzenberger for TIME

Ten-year-old and 80-pound Rafita Mirabal during a bullfight rehearsal, in a private ring outside his hometown of Aguascalientes in central Mexico.

Rafita Mirabal's statuesque pose would evoke a classical ballet if not for the 450-lb. bull snorting in front of him. Dressed in a matador's "suit of lights," he coaxes the beast to make two angry passes under his outstretched cape, so close that the horns and snout brush his sequined thighs. But on the third pass the bull's head slams Rafita's torso and lifts him into the air until he frees himself. Rafita walks away rubbing his hip, more irked than injured. "You let him see your body instead of the cape," says his coach, Juan Ramírez. "The bull learns from...

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