Basics of Gaffing (Pagtatari) a Fighting Cock

Basics of Gaffing

For a cock fighting aficionado, gaffing  or “Pagtatari” in Filipino is an important part of the game.  More than just training and choosing the most ideal bloodline, this part of the game is very important to learn as it can spell the difference between winning and losing in cockfight.

The battle cock will be fitted with a blade called gaff and an expert gaffer is needed in this regard. Even if you have blades on both feet of your fighting cock, if they are not properly fitted, no amount of effort, gameness, and ferocity can make your rooster kill its opponent simply because the blade is not hitting its target the fatal way.

The Filipino blade used in cock fighting is the slasher type.  If mounted properly and according to the basics, it can cause extreme damage to an opponent even with just one strike.  But it must be properly fitted to serve its purpose and to this an expert and trusted gaffer is very important.

So what are the basics in gaffing a fighting cock?  One can actually write a short e-book about this topic because it has many nuances.  But we will just focus on the basics to make it short.

1.  Make sure the gaff is really sharp

This is the first thing that you must check. Just being sharp is not enough.  It must be really sharp.  You can check this when you SLIGHTLY press the blade against the palm of your hand.  It must have the feeling of wanting to slice and not slide off your skin.

As for the tip, you can check if it is sharp enough by SLIGHTLY  pressing it on your thumb nail.  If it wants to penetrate with just a very light press, then it is really sharp.

2.  Check the gaff for defects

This is the first thing that you should do whether you own the blade or paying a gaffer to fit his own blade on your fighting cock.  I’ve seen several fights where the gaff broke in two when the strike hit the floor.  When inspected, there was already a hairline break in the blade that was not readily noticed by the gaffer and even by the cock owner.

There are also some small time gaffers who will still use a gaff even if it has minor defects because it is expensive to buy a new one and they want to make the most money out of it even to the detriment of the fighting cock.

3.  The size of the gaff

The gaff must be measured in relation to the foot of the cock where it is to be attached.  Every fighting cock has their own size, weight and this is the same with the length of their feet.  If the gaff or Tari is too long, it might hit the butt of the cock when a strike is made so you have to be familiar with how long a gaffe should be in relation to your cock’s foot.

4.  The feet of your fighting cock.

Just like humans, they also have different types of feet.  There are those that are knock feet or “Piki”, straight, bandy legged or “sakang.”  The gaffing technique must be applied according to the condition of the leg where it is to be attached.  You as owner of the cock must also know if the gaffer knows it by observing him.

5.  The angle of the blade

If you look at the blade sideways, you will not notice it but when you look at it squarely from behind or from the tip, you will notice that it is not straight and there is an angle of a few degrees going inward.  This is to to make sure that the blade can inflict maximum damage once it connects to the opponent.

The Filipino gaff is designed to slash as much as possible and it is angled that way.  But when the positioning is not done correctly, it can result in your cock not wounding the opponent because the blade will just hit and then purposely miss because of wrong gaffing.

A  blade that is not aligned properly according to the feet of the battle cock might inflict only superficial wounds and not fatal ones.  That is why the gaffer must be an expert and you as owner of the fighting cock must know it too.

6.  Timing when to attach and tie the gaff

Just because you are scheduled to fight any moment, does not necessarily mean the blade must already be attached to the fighting cock.  Wait until your turn is one fight away before letting the gaffer tie the blade.

This is to prevent the fighting cock from feeling the discomfort of the blade being attached for too long.  You will notice the cock feeling uneasy with it when it starts to limp while walking.

During training, gloves are used for sparring so the fighting cock must already be familiar with something attached to its left foot.  But it is important to still make sure that the gaffing will not produce discomfort when it is about to do the real fight.

Good luck on your next Fight!!

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4 Responses to Basics of Gaffing (Pagtatari) a Fighting Cock

  1. yanyan says:

    TJT Cocking Academy kac c “AMPY TARE” Mr. Weng Bahia mismo ang nag tuturo.

  2. jimto says:

    Hello Paul,

    You can try TJT Cocking Academy and see if they are still offering it as part of the course.
    You can also watch Youtube videos that explain how gaffing should be done.
    Gaffing of fighting cocks is a specialized skill that must be learned hands on so the best is to
    know somebody who is an expert in this profession and for him to take you as a protege.

    Good Luck :)

  3. paul says:

    I want to learn the basics in a actual demonstrations specially the correct angular position of the gaff and how to tie properly,. Im looking for a school or person that would trained me, pls help me..

  4. Pingback: Factors in Choosing the Ideal Fighting Cock | Tinkering with Ideas and StuffTinkering with Ideas and Stuff

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