Arturo “Art” de Castro is the owner of Thunder Bee Game Farm and a two-time champion in the World Slasher Cup, winning the prestigious event in 2010 and 2016.
But de Castro is more than just a champion cocker. He graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines School of Law in 1970 and passed the bar exam with the third highest score. He took his master’s and doctorate degrees from Michigan University. He has been teaching law at the Ateneo de Manila University for the past 30 years and served as dean of the College of Criminology in the University of Manila.
Obviously, he’s not lacking in wits. One blogger was fortunate enough to pick his brain and get a few tips on how to become a champion cocker. Let us share you the meat of the blog post.
Atty. de Castro gives importance to the proper selection of excellent roosters. “Select a rooster that fights and usually the first to hit the opponent,” he said.
He goes for a rooster that’s tall, fast, and throws powerful single punches. A rooster that doesn’t fall under these criteria doesn’t deserve an opportunity to undergo his conditioning program. Consider his criteria in selecting an excellent rooster that fights:
Height. Harnessing a rooster’s height for his advantage can dominate shorter opponents. In Atty. de Castro’s strict standards, height means longer thighs, shorter shanks. “If the shank is longer, the rooster will not hit the opponent,” he explained. “If the thigh is longer, the rooster will throw punches with precision.”
Speed. Atty. de Castro’s roosters win over their opponents mostly because of speed. No showing of sensational maneuver, but the cutting ability is extremely well. According to him, small roosters are fast. Thus, speed accompanied by height is an advantage. “The excellent rooster should also have a short body, broad shoulders, and small hips,” he emphasized. He points out that a rooster with a large hip is slow, while a rooster with a long body isn’t only slow but also heavy.
Power. “A rooster with crooked foot is no good,” said Atty. de Castro. He calls a rooster with crooked foot “komang.” To him, a komang has no stable foothold especially upon touchdown following a squabble in the air and tends to sit on its feet upon touching the ground, giving the opponent an opportunity to throw a dangerous punch. A komang may be caught off guard in such a situation. “The first thing experienced handlers examine when selecting a rooster are the feet,” he stressed. “The feet should be straight, strong and powerful.”
Throws powerful single punches. Atty. de Castro automatically rejects game fowl that have a telegraphic stroke. A telegraphic stroke, according to him, is a punch that’s very obvious, careless and seems slow to the eye of the opponent. “Such a punch can be easily avoided,” he explained. The attorney fights four- and five-year old game fowl, and doesn’t put one under his conditioning program unless it throws powerful single punches.
Aggressive roosters are a no-no to Atty. de Castro. If he has to choose between an aggressive rooster and a man-fighter, he would choose the latter.
He tames a man-fighter rooster by holding it upside down by the feet. “I place the rooster upright on my chest level. Once the man-fighter begins to chirp merrily, it means he has calmed down,” he shared.
The rooster should have well-timed punches, otherwise he would reject it. Atty. de Castro trains an aggressive and careless rooster to have a calculating move. “Each time the rooster shows aggressiveness and carelessness, I allow its sparring mate to hit. This way, the rooster will be cautious the next time and learn to throw timely punches,” he said.
Aside from training his roosters to throw well-timed punches, Atty. de Castro also brings out the best in his arsenal of fighting roosters by exposing them to different combat styles.
Atty. de Castro executes this technique by first keeping reserves of sparring mates with aggressive, calm, breakers, swift and other fighting styles. “No one can tell how the opponent will implement his plan of attack during an actual combat. That’s why I always make sure that my fighting roosters are well-prepared,” he said. To develop the speed of his rooster, he spars it against the bantam because it has good cutting ability and makes prompt turns.
Most of the cocks Atty. de Castro entered in the World Slasher Cup were multi-time winners, aged four and five years. His Grey was a three-time winner, while his White-Legged Roundhead was an eight timer.
“Most of the cocks used are imported and have genes that originated from the game fowls of Jesse Horta and bred by Victor Gamboa,” he said. He added that their entry that won the championship used seven cocks only. “We fought in the finals with the same cock that won on the first day.”
Aside from his multi-time winner Grey and White-Legged Roundhead, Atty. de Castro’s arsenal of fighting cocks included the Leiper Hatch Roundhead, Dark Kelso and White-Legged Sweater which are noted for their gameness and cutting accuracy.