Cockfight or as Balinese would call it Tajen is a word for cock fighting gambling, yet in the sense of true gambling of Bali Tajen has developed from a small number of men gathering at the village temple during the ritual making their cocks to fight each other until one is dead or gives up, armed with sharp two sided knife tied at the leg of the cock involved in fighting. Both cocks will injure each other, even kills one or both. This sharp knife is called “taji” which word forms “tajian”, and tajian is assimilated into “tajen”.
The bebebotoh is the name of tajen gambler who use the money for betting, and the fighting field is called “kalangan tajen”.
It is not known when Balinese started to know this type of gambling.
In Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan and Lombok the tradition of cock fighting also exist, but the cock is not armed with taji like in Bali. Here the winner is the cock that made it’s sparing smacked down until it gave up or run away with the sigh of tortures. During the kingdom of Bali it was permitted by the smaller kingdoms as the source of retribution or a kind of tax. This is probably the beginning of popularity of tajen, which then among priests also relate it as a requirement of religious ritual called ” tabuh rah”. The meaning of tabuh rah itself is water or essence of blood.
Since the government of Indonesia declared a regulation that tajen is one of gambling activity and is forbidden, the bebotohs looked for a reason that tajen is a tabuh rah, for requirement of ritual, and always iclude the tajen in the temple ritual, or during family ritual.
Cockfighting is so popular. Why? For one thing it is the slot machine or the bingo game of the third world. A fair percentage of the world’s population seems to be addicted to gambling. In the West, this may require some fairly sophisticated equipment, some odds-making center, complex communications equipment, and an assurance than an unseen and perhaps unknown person will pay up if you win. Not so with cockfighting. One doesn’t even need to own a cock. He can just show up and gamble to his heart’s content – limited only by the money in his pocket, since all bets are in cash.