May 23, 2022

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K8Viva Kien Thuc Nuoi Ga Choi 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 K8Viva Kien Thuc Nuoi Ga Choi This ancient sport was based on animal cruelty and betting. It also features three-inch razor sharp blades and blind servitude to the male beast instinct. 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 bet up to ten thousand dollars and trainers earn 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! I replied, “Ah!” My expression must have indicated my dismay. He said, “Many owners buy weak roosters for bait. They get to kill them as a practice. They feel confident and can simulate real situations.

The gamecocks come equipped with a razor-sharp blade measuring three inches that is attached to their left foot. The gamecocks are then lured by a teaser birds, who read their last rites and, when the owner is satisfied, bring them out onto the “dancefloor”. They are initially held within inches of one another. The birds calmly look at their enemy while they wait. They then face chalk marks as in a sumo match. The spectators become anxious like dogs in the hunt. The birds are released after the referee gives his nod. The crowd let out a collective gasp but nothing happens. The birds move around the ring as if they were taking a walk through the garden. They are not moving forward, even though the referee moves and weaves around them to keep their axis from being pushed. Although they are within six inches of one another, it appears that the humans have outwitted them. One of the drunken tourists is just beginning to wonder if five dollars could have been better spent at the strip club. They start jumping and slashing at each other for the jugular. They leap at one another with incredible speed. Their blades move in a blur, arcing left to right like well-honed swords. A few feathers fly towards the sky. Then their bodies collide with the ground with a hollow thud. They are back in the air within seconds, their strong legs pushing them upwards as their wings lift violently above the swirling dust. They slash again and again. Both birds are in an emergency room within minutes. They fight on, and blood starts to trickle to the dust. Their passion seems to drive them beyond rationality. In a split second, a blade strikes a bullseye. Before he hits the ground, the victim is already limp.

The fight is characterized by the swooshing sound of feathers. The sound echoes off the glass, multiplies, and hovers above you like a hawk trying to grab your head. The owners of the birds are apathetic to everyone except the one he placed. Cockfight aficionados are a very unique breed.

Halfway through the third match, I snapped a photo. I was suddenly met with anger by every eye in the arena. I was like a child who doesn’t know what he did but knows it was bad. A voice said, “The flash from your camcorder blinds the birds.” I tried to offer a sheepish apology, but that was not accepted by the shaken heads. It seemed like I was going be the next one in the ring, so I quickly made my exit. I looked back at the arena as I moved through the parking lot with a wry glance. I am betting that “sports” like cockfighting won’t be able survive the death of their own mortality in today’s world.