Bali Tourism Watch: Cock Fighting

By: I Nengah Subadra
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Dosen Bahasa Inggris dan Pariwisata Di Yayasan Triatma Surya Jaya
(MAPINDO, STP Triatma Jaya, dan STIE Triatma Mulya)
Handphone : 081 239 26773
Email : insubadra@yahoo.com
Homepage : http://www.subadra.wordpress.com

Melayani:
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• Private Bahasa Indonesia untuk orang asing
• Bimbingan IELTS, TOEIC, dan TOEFL
• Terjemahan bahasa asing tersumpah
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A basic concept of Balinese life is the maintenance of a harmonious balance between the world of men and the world of the spirits. Apart from satisfying their everyday needs, the Balinese feel that they are obliged to perform certain religious rites. One of these rites is to appease the evil spirits who inhabit the ground. This can be done by the sacrifice of an animal so that its blood sheds on the ground. This is the original idea of the cock fighting we are seeing today. Besides its religious significance until recently cock fights were often held for gambling.

Many prominent Balinese were involved in this. However since 1981 this gambling has been banned and cock fight are only allowed for religious reasons. A license for holding a cock fight tournament is still quite easy to contain from the nearest Police Head Quarter if there is a ceremony.

Cock fight has been known in Bali since before the Hindu period. It is not known if it was an original Balinese practice or not. The fact is that cock fights are practiced all over the world.

Raising a good rooster for cock fighting needs serious care and attention. In Bali this is man’s job. No women is ever seen taking and active part in the care of the roosters. It is absolutely the men’s world.

Extensive care and attention must be given to the favourite rooster. As you see in that village hall, the men are caressing, fondling and massaging their future champion. They believe that more that a healthy diet and regular exercise the rooster needs affection from its owner.

Still in the line of physical, the cocks are kept caged. They are never set free to mingle with hens. As we see here, two roosters in their cages are put comfortably under the shady trees to cool them.

In regular alternation with this, the birds are put but in the heat of the sun over a dusty hole so that they can have sun and dust baths. It is bathed regular, early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Occasionally warm water is used. After several months or a year the creature is fit to challenge an opponent in the arena.

Before they are brought to a tournament they must be trained to fight with extensive exercises. Sparring partners are usually picked from the neighbors favorite birds. These rooster in cages and baskets are waiting to be matched and confronted with their opponents inside the ring.
There are two squares, the outer square and the inner one. At each corner a lineman is stationed. As well there are 2 empires and time keeper sitting an a plat form. The time keeper is quipped with a clay pot full of water and half a coconut shell as the “water clock”. As well, there is a round counter and small metal gong (kemong) which serves as the bell, the signal the start, the end of each round and to stop the fight if needed.

One fight consists of maximum of five rounds. Two rounds are helping the outer lines, two in the inner lines and one inside a cage if necessary. Normally 2 and 3 rounds are sufficient to and the deadly fight.

Two expert rooster handlers ( juru kembar ) are matching a pair of roosthers to try to match roosters of equal size, height and temperament. They inspect the roosters in the turn. By doing this each handler can make a personal judgment before they decide to match a pair. As for the bettors, their judgment is based on the physical appearance of the rooster including, shape, colour and temperament.

After both parties agree to challenge each other, the fight is announced by the umpires. This is followed by the discussion about the amount of the central bet ( roh dalem ). The rooster handlers the tie on the murderous blade on to the left leg of each rooster supervised by an assistant umpire (saya taji ).

After each creature is armed with the best blade, the cocks are confronted with each other in the ring. And the people other than umpires, linemen and the rooster handlers must leave the ring immediately. Before the first round begins, a chance is given
To the betters to make up their mind which cock to bet on. This short period of time is usually very noisy because each better has to call out his side, and the amount of the bet till he finds the opponent.

The amount of the bet is sometimes unbelievable compared with the standard of living in Bali and the per-capita income. The odds of the bet varies. It can be even odds such as Rp. 1.000,- against Rp. 1.000,- if the cocks are equally popular. If one cock is more popular than the other the odds can be one of the following :
3 against 2 (neludo)
5 against 4 (ngasal)
4 against 3 (ngecok)
10 against 9 (ngedapang)

The umpires are discussing the central bet, with the expert handlers. The central bet is usually placed by the expert handler concerned, the owner of the bird the blade owner and some additional supports. Apart from the entrance tickets, sellers of food and others, the tax is collected only from the central bet.

After the bets, the procedure is fixed and the first round begins. According to the cock fight code, for the first and the second rounds the roosters are released from the outer square line, following the cardinal directions. The third and the fourth rounds use the inner square line so that the birds must fight each other at a closer distance.

The fifth round done inside a cage prepared for this purpose. Generally a fight needs 2 or three rounds. The fight does not necessarily follow the standard order of rounds. If one of the birds can hardly stand up, or is not strong enough to fight, or if it doesn’t want to continue the fight, they are put in the cage so that they have fight. If one of the rooster strikes the other in the cage and the opponent does not strike back, especially if it kneels down, or is knocked out, it is considered to have lost.

The owner of the winning cock receives an amount of money equal to his bet plus the carcass of the loosing cock, minus one leg. This is because the owner of the winning blade receives one of the legs of the loosing bird. The cruelest part of the fight is when one of the legs of the loosing bird is cut off while it is still alive.

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