Gaffs and Knives: Cockfighting’s Great Equalizers

Gaffs and knives play an important role in cockfighting. These little weapons are the game’s great equalizers – they give opposing game fowls an equal chance to win the fight.


History will tell us that weapons of any size can give anybody a fighting chance to beat heavily favored foes. David toppled Goliath with his sling, without it he won’t stand a chance.

The same is true with gaffs and knives in a cock fight. They make the matches more competitive. A physically more imposing cock can’t toy around because a single hit by his opponent can send him to a dining plate.

Gaffs and knives also shorten the fights, with some ending in mere seconds. The results are usually decisive (draws are rare) and fatal (to the loser).

For game fowls, death comes in different shapes and sizes. Shown below are some of the most popular gaffs and knives used in cockfighting around the globe.

In Colombia and Venezuela, they tie a Tortoise-Shell gaff on a game fowl’s leg.

In the United States, they use different varieties of gaffs and knives, including the American Socket Long Heels, American Socket Short Knife, American Socket Short Heels, Marsh’s Low Heels, American Long Heels and Full Metal Socket Long Heels.

The American Socket Long Heels is a steel weapon tied on the left shank of the rooster, typically 2.5 to three inches long. Longer is not favored, but can be used if desired as long as both sides agree on it.

The American Socket Short Knife is much shorter, just a 1.25-inch steel weapon tied on the left shank.

The American Socket Short Heels has the same length as the American Socket Short Knife, but they are tied on both shanks.

The Marsh’s Low Heels is two pairs of cockfighting weapons. The top pair is called intermediate (1. 125 inches long) while the bottom pair is called spikes or peg (1.25 inches long).

The American Long Heels is around 2.75 inches long. This weapon has leather strap and is tied on both shanks of the rooster.

The Full Metal Socket Long Heels is like the American Long Heels sans the leather strap.

In Brazil, they use Brazilian Espora. It is a cockfighting weapon attached on both shanks. Espora is Portuguese for spur.

In Argentina, they attach on both shanks the Argentinian Puyon, which is also called Argentinian Puon.

In Ireland, they use Irish Short Heels, which is similar to American Socket Short Heels. This weapon is also tied on both shanks.

In the United Kingdom, they use either the Scottish Long Heels or the English Long Heels.

The Scottish Long Heels, also known as Scottish Haip, is made of bone, ivory, steel and other metals. They attach this weapon on both shanks of the rooster.

The English Long Heels is also attached on both shanks. It is made of various materials like bone, silver or steel.

In France, they tie a steel weapon called French Long Heels on both shanks of the rooster.

In Cambodia, they call their cockfighting weapon the Cambodian Long Heels.

In Peru, they use the Peruvian Long Knife or Peruvian Slasher. This is a weapon tied on the left shank using a boot. Peruvian Knife Gamecock Roosters are large, but their weapon does not exceed three inches.

In India, they tie their cockfighting weapon on the right shank. They call this the Indian Long Knife. It is typically a double-edged knife.

In Indonesia, the cockfighting weapon is tied on the left shank. They call this the Indonesian Taji or Indonesian Long Knife. Balinese Taji is actually the more precise term as this 8-cm weapon originates from Bali, Indonesia.

In Malaysia, they tie their cockfighting weapon on the left shank. The knife with ring base is called Malaysian Cincin. The adjustable socket base long knife is a variation of the cincin design. Another variation of it is the adjustable half-socket base long knife.

In Bolivia, they attach the cockfighting weapon called Bolivian Cacho on both shanks.

In Cuba, they call their cockfighting weapon the Cuban Zapato. It is made of plastic these days. Zapato is Spanish for shoe.

In Middle East, they attach on both shanks a cockfighting weapon called Middle Eastern Long Heels. This is made of cut natural spurs or animal bone. Game fowls in Middle Eastern countries like Iran, Iraq and Dubai wear this weapon in fights.

In Latin America, they use either the Latin American Peg Awl or the Latin American Postiza.

The Latin American Peg Awl is attached on both shanks.

The Latin American Postiza is also attached on both shanks. This weapon is made of cut natural, spur, bone or plastic.

In Mexico, they use either the Mexican Short Knife or the Mexican Quarter Knife. Both of these weapons are tied on the left shank using boot.

Here is the Mexican Short Knife.

Here is the Mexican Quarter Knife.

In Nicaragua, they use the Nicaraguan Quarter Knife. They tie this cockfighting weapon on the left shank.

In the Philippines, they tie on the left shank the cockfighting weapon called the Filipino Long Knife. The length of this weapon varies from 2.5 inches to more than five inches. Filipino game fowl owners normally prefer a longer weapon (at least four inches), making the knife longer than the shank of the rooster.

In Thailand, they attach on both shanks the Thai Long Heels. This weapon is typically made of deer bone or antlers.



  1. Jm says:

    Interesting read

  2. sajid mehmood says:

    i want orignal..not in plastic and other .
    how can i find it?

  3. Coy says:

    There can i buy some 1.25inch short knives

  4. Kathy Bullard says:

    How much for a dozen of short knives

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