This is the oldest spectator sport in the world going back to ancient Persia. The practice spread with armies and men who fought them. Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Henry the VIII, George Washington enjoyed or participated in Cockfights. Even though the practice (I'm trying to refrain from using the word "sport") is banned in most first world countries ( exceptions- parts of France and Spain) the rest of the world has it's own rules. Cockfighting in Bali is a centuries old but was officially banned over 30 years ago... It took me one day to find and organize a trip to an illegal Tajen event... I have to make one thing clear before I proceed - I am both disgusted and fascinated by cockfighting. An anthropologist and photographer in me sees an important local tradition worth documenting and photographing. A humanist in me sees animal cruelty plain and simple... Illusion of objectivity here I come.
My local contacts could not agree for quite a long time where and when the Tajen is taking place. A lot of phone calls had to be made to establish a name of the village who decided to stage one. It was decided that the best thing would be to dress me in a traditional Balinese male garb just in case. Me and my guide set off in the morning the next day and were one of the first people to arrive... we were one of the first because we were an hour early but it turned out to be a good thing - The Ceki was being played and I decided to dive right in. WARNING some of these images are quite graphic.
Click to enlarge.
Part 1 from my trip to Bali is HERE