The GGM’s Feathered Warriors

The Great Grand Master’s Feathered Warriors

By Master Carlton Kramer

When I meet the GGM, he loved to gamble on his fighting roosters. GGM, Mrs. Pedoy and Eddie (The Batikan) were living in a small house in Waipahu, near Leeward Community College. And the GGM kept 12 to 15 fighting cocks under his house, directly below their bedrooms. His house vibrated each morning with all the crowing. He would bring the cocks out each day and train them. In fact, he spent most of the day with them and that is why he was so hard to beat at the cock fights.

A lot of the GGM’s friends and patients were cock fighters, and they would give the GGM their man fighters. A man fighter is a rooster that hates man as much as it hates another rooster. These types of birds are almost impossible to train, so most cock fighters don’t want them in their yards. They are dangerous in the ring and are known to turn on their handlers. He loved this type of rooster, because if they weren’t afraid of man, he believed that they would be excellent fighters against other roosters their own size.

The GGM had a technique for taming these man hating roosters. He kept this a secret, so his friends would keep giving him their man fighters. He would wear an old army jacket, take the bird into the house late at night, watch TV and gently pet the bird. The man fighters would constantly bite the GGM. Eventually, the rooster would give up after 3-5 nights. During this period he would feed them by hand and soon they were friends and the biting and hatred would end.

Escrima classes were held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturday mornings, and on the weekends those students and instructors that wanted to go to the fights after class were welcomed. Eddie (The Batikan) was a good knifeman and was the GGM’s partner in their weekend sport. GGM and The Bakikan wanted their instructors to go to the cock fights to see how the roosters would never give up against their opponents. Although I didn’t go to the fights too often, there were two particular fights I still remember after all these years.

At one fight, GGM had a huge black rooster that weighed in at 6 pounds 8 oz. It was hard to match for a fight because of its size, but he took it out each weekend hoping to find an opponent. He had worked the bird so hard, for so long, that the tail of the bird had fallen off. This bird looked really funny being so tall, heavy, and had a big head. Its body was built like a pit bull, pure muscle. One of the GGM’s secret in training was that he would hold the tail of the bird and force it to dig in a sand pit. The work outs were long, and he would massage the bird to relieve their muscle pains, and to keep their legs loose so they could stretch out and hit their opponents from afar.

One day the GGM finally got a match for his big black rooster. The opponents were a Hui (group) from Ewa. He went into the ring with Eddie and they waited about 15 minutes for them to come out. Meanwhile, the crowd was teasing him because his bird looked so funny. (They didn’t know he was an Escrima Master) His age about that time was around 85 years old. Some of the spectators were calling his bird a turkey; others asked what happened to its tail? Finally the other bird came into the ring and the odds were $100 to $60 against the GGM’s bird. The other bird was a gold neck, yellow- leg, red imported rooster. By just looking at it, you could see why the odds were against the GGM’s bird.

The red flew into the air, and the GGM’s black stayed on the ground because he lacked a tail and couldn’t fly well. The black gave the red one kick, and when it landed, and the fight was over. The fight was so fast; there was total silence in the crowd. GGM picked up his bird, collected all his money and walked out so calmly, never saying a word to anyone but he certainly had the last laugh on those he bet against.

Another fight I recall, the GGM pitted a small grey rooster against a black one. The Grey rooster paralyzed his opponent quickly and kept pounding the other bird while the GGM just stood there silently. The little Grey rooster got bored, and suddenly walked into the spectators (There was no ring at this game pit), the crowd panicked and ran from the bird.  Instead of chasing after his bird, the GGM yelled out to it “Get back here and finish the fight!” pointing to the wounded bird.  To everyone’s amazement, his Grey turned when he heard the GGM voice and quickly ran back and poked his knife right through the opponent’s head, ending the fight instantly. After the fight, I could hear the crowd talking about what happened and how the old man’s bird could understand him and how the bird had actually obeyed his command.

The GGM loved his little feathered gladiators and it broke his heart when they had to move into town, because he couldn’t keep them anymore. He stopped going to the fights and eventually stopped gambling completely. This cockfighting phase of his life had ended and then he totally focused on his Escrima School and looked forward to each class with such passion.

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