Cockfighting is a “Sport”

To make a village look unappetizing, they suggest that you walk with a limp when visiting a cannibal village. As I walked towards the arena, I remembered this. I was unable to remain calm and my attempts to be nonchalant were ruined by the insecure attitude of visitors out of their element. This was unexplored territory. Any sport that revolves around death should be approached with caution. I was met with a tense look from the crowd. They were probably already intoxicated by the stench of approaching slaughter. I hesitated but the cackling of the roosters encouraged me to move forward, their song sounding like a battle cry, bouncing in the slow moving air.

This is the cockfight. This ancient sport was based on animal cruelty and betting. It also features three-inch razor-sharp blades that are 3 inches in length. I assumed the role of a Japanese hotel clerk, and politely accepted the group. I was granted entry into the small arena with five dollars and barely perceivable nods. The crowd settled on the plywood bleachers. I took my place at the ringside, near the elevated dirt circle that was surrounded by plexiglass.

Cockfighting, a centuries-old tradition that dates back to ancient China, is now legal. Residents of Kansai, who are now illegal on English-speaking soils, can place bets after a three-hour trip to Saipan Island. Here, cockfighting is more than a hobby. Each fight can be worth up to ten thousand dollars, and trainers often make a good living by raising their birds for victory. The eggs are imported usually from Alabama, Jumping Goat and other places. They are fed well and trained for a long time. “Training?” I replied. It was impossible for me to imagine a chicken wearing a bandana jumping up and down, or avoiding rolling coconuts. But the locals said they train like prizefighters. An amiable local said, “You know that I know cockfighting.” The training is intense. Each morning, the trainer chases the cock around on the farm for up to an hour! “Ah,” I replied. My face must have screamed at my dismay. He said, “Owners often buy weak roosters for bait. They get to kill them as a practice. They feel confident and can simulate real situations.

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