Cockfighting is popular in many countries but the rules for every country differ according to preference as well as tradition. This is also true in terms of the weapons used when two roosters are pitted against each other in the cockpit.
The Blades Used In Cockfighting
There are three kinds of weapons attached to the left leg of a gamecock and these are the gaff, the short knife, and the long knife. The use of these weapons will depend on the country where the sport of cockfighting is legal. In Mexico and Puerto Rico in particular, the short knife and in some instances the gaff are preferred by cockers. In the Philippines however, cockers prefer the slasher or the long knife. But there are petitions to also use the short knife especially in derbies.
Some countries also prefer that the cocks fight the natural way so they use the naked heel fighting technique. Here, the cocks will use their natural spur (Tahid) to fight one another. The spurs are sharpened and will serve as the weapon. Fights using naked heel take a lot of time to finish that’s why a special breed of fighting cocks is used in this type of cock fighting. Asils are the bloodlines preferred because this strain has strong endurance as compared to other fighting cocks. They are slower but at the same time can take on a lot of hit and can last for a long time because of their strong body.
This type of weapon is like a nail with a sharpened point. When attached to the foot of the gamefowl, it works as a stab and with almost no slash wounds. Cockfights using the gaff normally take longer as compared to having the knife type. Blood flow is controlled so you will not see fighting cocks bleeding profusely from wounds. The fight usually lasts longer because it is hard to kill a rooster with deep gameness unless it was hit in the heart. Not many countries use the gaff but it is still used nonetheless.
The short Knife (Tari)
Measuring one inch to an inch and a half, the short knife is famous in the USA mainly because it is the preferred weapon by Mexicans. US breeders of gamecocks produce roosters basically for the Mexican market so they produce hybrids that can perform better when using the short knife. Since the knife is short, the fight can also drag for several minutes.
The fighting cock must be very good at cutting and shuffling. Multi-shuffling cocks are actually preferred in the short knife type of fight because they can inflict multiple injuries in just one buckle. Breeders developed strains particularly for this purpose like Sweaters, Hatch, Roundheads, Lemons to name a few.
Long Knife (Tari)
Also called the slasher type, the long knife is famous in the Philippines and preferred by cockers all over the country. The knife measures three inches more or less from the base and can inflict severe damage with just one hit. It is normal to see a cockfight in the Philippines to end with just one buckle because one of the cock was hit in the heart and died instantly.
The length of the long knife to be used will depend on the size of the foot of the fighting cock. If it is a short heeled cock, the knife will be shorter but if it is a high station cock, the knife can well be over three inches. The size of the leg where the long knife is to be attached is also the basis of the size of the long knife.
Since the size to be used will vary according to the size of the fighting cock, the gaffer must be an expert not only in attaching the knife but as well as in terms of determining the appropriate length of the knife to be attached. This is important and therefore crucial that’s why cockers study carefully what size a long knife should be.
As of this writing, some big time cockers are introducing the short knife in Philippine derbies. They know that the bloodlines they have were specifically designed for the short knife so they want to use it in their roosters’ fights. It is also one way to eliminate the factor of luck in the fight. With the use of the long knife, even a not so game rooster can win against a strain with deep gameness because the long knife can inflict severe damage with just one strike.
The use of the short knife will somehow ensure that only cocks with deep gameness will eventually survive the fight. This is one way for the big time cockers to fully dominate the fight against small time backyard breeders. It is not known however if small time cockers will patronize the short knife. The use of the long knife makes the battle about even because even ordinary cocks can accidentally kill a purebred and this is the equalizing factor that may not be so easy for small cockers to give up.