“I only select a rooster that fights and usually the first to hit the opponent,” enthuses Art de Castro, a professor-lawyer-game fowl breeder and cocker who not only excelled academically and professionally but also made his mark in the sport of cockfighting with flying colors.
Academically, Atty. de Castro graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines School of Law in 1970 and was one of the topnotchers in the bar exam with the third highest score. “I took my master’s and doctorate degrees from the Michigan University,” he shares with a smile.
Professionally, Atty. de Castro has been teaching law at the Ateneo de Manila University for the past 30 years and served as dean of the College of Criminology of the University of Manila. “I also taught law for some time in UP,” recalls the professor-lawyer.
Of course, as a game fowl breeder and avid cocker, Atty. de Castro had emerged as World Slasher Cup champion not only once but twice. The first was in 2010 and the second this year. The World Slasher Cup, known as the “Olympics of Cockfighting,” is held bi-annually at the Araneta Coliseum with local and foreign participants, many of them noted cockers from America and other countries.
Curious with his success and accomplishments, the team from Pit Games asked Atty. de Castro his secrets and tips for a successful breeding and cocking career and share them with Pit Games, your favorite magazine for game fowl.
Here are three sure-fire tips from Atty. de Castro that work when you’re aiming to get a better score in big-time derbies like the World Slasher Cup, and eventually become a champion, not just once…but twice or more.
1. Select roosters that fight
Atty. de Castro gives importance to the proper selection of excellent roosters. “The key is to select a rooster that fights,” advises the attorney.
Atty. de Castro says 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 the attorney’s 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 explains. “If the thigh is longer, the rooster will throw punches with precision,” he adds.
* 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 emphasizes. 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,” points 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 stresses. “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 explains. The attorney fights four and five years 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.
Atty. de Castro 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 shares.
2. Bring out the best in your roosters
“The timing of strike is very important,” reveals Atty. de Castro. 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,” the professor elaborates.
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,” the professor claims. To develop the speed of his rooster, he spars it against the bantam. “The bantam has good cutting ability and makes prompt turns,” he says.
3. Use multi-time winners
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.
Atty. de Castro says he entered the 2016 World Slasher Cup-1 8-Cock Invitational Derby with two entries. It was Mario Villamor who financed the entry that won as co-champion of Engr. Sonny Lagon.
“Most of the cocks used are imported and have genes that originated from the game fowls of Jesse Horta and bred by Victor Gamboa,” Atty. de Castro reveals. He says 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,” the attorney reveals.
Aside from his multi-time winner Grey and White-Legged Roundhead, Atty. de Castro’s arsenal of fighting cocks includes the Leiper Hatch Roundhead, Dark Kelso, and White-Legged Sweater which are noted for their gameness and cutting accuracy.
According to Atty. de Castro, the White-Legged Sweater looks like Kelso to him. He admits he couldn’t distinguish the difference between the two in terms of appearance. “The Kelso that we have from Doc Robinson looks like a White-Legged Sweater,” he describes.
“The White-Legged Sweater demonstrates aggressiveness, while the Kelso shows style and calmness,” Atty. de Castro explains. The sources of his White-Legged Sweaters are Jesse Horta and Joe Sanford. His cocks from Sanford had scored seven wins, he says.
Atty. de Castro’s other entry, the Thunder Bee Angry Birds, also made it to the finals and scored 5.5 points. This entry used graded Peruvian fowls, he says.
When the large Peruvians fowls were introduced in the Philippines, cockers were impressed and began a craze for them. But Atty. de Castro already had his own even before the craze started. He takes pride with different Peruvian fowls at his Thunder Bee Game Farm in Las Piñas City, among them the Open Air and Carmelo.
Atty. de Castro selects Peruvian fowls that weighs no more than 2.4 kilograms. The Peruvian fowls in his game farm were acquired from Gamboa and originated from the authentic line bred by Victor Emmanuel Centeno.
Atty. de Castro claims that his Peruvian fowls has speed. They dodge assault by side-stepping and watching out defensively for the opponent’s attack. They fight non-stop and are known for their vertical flight.
Asked what brand of feeds he gives to his Peruvian fowls, Atty. de Castro says: “It’s Vitarich Titan Panabong Feeds.” He reveals that he feeds his Peruvian chicks with Vitarich Titan Panabong Stag Developer Crumble Muscle Builder. “Feeding my Peruvian chicks with Vitarich Titan Panabong Stag Developer Crumble Muscle Builder made them grow fast. They never catch cold and never get sick,” he shares.
Atty. de Castro’s Peruvian fowls are made available at the World Gamefowl Expo for backyard breeders who want to acquire this formidable bloodline at affordable prices.
With the tips from Atty. Art de Castro, there are three things you can do now to start your quest to winning your first-ever championship title:
* First, you may start selecting roosters that fight based on the two-time World Slasher Cup champion’s criteria.
* Second, train roosters that are available in your game fowl farm to adjust to different fighting styles of possible opponents.
* Third, condition your multi-time winner cocks for their next battle.
Who knows? You might be the next World Slasher Cup champion…soon.
*This article was originally published in Pit Games Magazine Issue No. 69.