Tattoos are very cool, and in today’s modern world, they are trademarks of almost every football player, basketball player, and martial artist.
The truth is, tattoos are a great addition to someone that fights in nothing but shorts, and they can add a lot of uniqueness to the appearance, especially in front of millions of cameras.
But, when it comes to Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or kickboxing, which are all disciplines with a rich history and a lot of tradition, the tattoos have a meaning, and they are not just “for a show”. So, here you can read about Sak Yant and other Muay Thai fighter tattoos explained.
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Muay Thai Fighter Tattoos
Muay Thai fighters are warriors who have been through hell to achieve their physique and take great pride in who they are.
MMAWhisperer believes that making it to the top of the mountain is just as important as the fighter’s journey. Seeing Muay Thai on TV or live will only give you the basic trademarks of fighters, like weight, height, wins, and losses. This is where tattoos enter the scene.
Traditional Muay Thai fighters have certain beliefs and ideologies which they bring to training and fights. The tattoos represent symbols of their hard work and the many struggles they had to overcome to be where they wanted to be.
Muay Thai requires discipline and is a sport that focuses on the passionate spirit and brute force. So, the tattoos of fighters need some explanation for regular people to understand their meaning.
Because Muay Thai fighters have nothing but shorts while in battle, most turn to tattoos to become more recognizable. Not all Thai fighters have tattoos, but most do, and they use them as a shield from negative energies.
What Does The Muay Thai Tattoo Mean?
Ink drawings are now a trend! Even though most people who get them have a special meaning for the chosen design, some just get a tattoo that only looks good.
When it comes to Muay Thai, a history-rich combat sport, there is more than aesthetics involved; fighters like to express something with their tattoos. Whether that is a struggle they have been through or something that gives them courage through every fight.
When people talk about a Muay Thai tattoo, they usually refer to the “Sak Yant, ” the most popular tattoo that is part of the culture and tradition in Thailand.
The Sak Yant tattoo is a big deal in Thailand and many other Asian countries. The tattoo is not applied on the skin traditionally, and artists use a Bamboo method with triangular-shaped needles. Traditionally, Sak Yant is done by Buddhist monks who use “holy” ink.
We will describe the meaning of Sak Yant in more detail after sharing about Muay Thai fighter tattoos explained.
Muay Thai Fighter Tattoos Explained
Even though the Sak Yant is the most popular tattoo category that Thai fighters get, the book with symbols and designs is huge. Many designs are popular amongst fighters, each with a different meaning.
The Paed Tidt tattoo goes in eight directions. This secret tattoo has a meaning for each symbol pointed in a different direction. Buddhists are very fond of this design because it serves for protection at any time.
This tattoo is also popular among beginners and students just starting Muay Thai training. The Paed Tidt can bring a nice ambiance to the fighter’s life and make the journey more bearable.
This symbol consists of five secret lines representing the fighter’s guidance, protection, and good luck. The tattoo became even more popular when the movie Wanted came out, and Angelina Jolie had the symbol on her back.
The designs have many variations, and each line carries a different meaning. However, the first lines of the tattoo are sacred, and they always cast a spell to prevent unwanted spirits. The second row of the lines is against bad fortune, the third against black magic, the fourth for positive energy and great fortune, and the fifth for boosting the charm.
Hanuman, or “ The Monkey God,” is another popular tattoo amongst Muay Thai practitioners. This design represents strength, wisdom, agility, and stamina. When Muay Thai was not as popular and hadn’t made its way to America yet, the fighters in Thailand used to practice a Hanuman striking technique.
Another reason why fighters choose this tattoo is that it represents their devotion to Muay Thai and their love for the sport.
Ganesha is a Hindu god with a potbelly and an elephant head. This symbol is worshiped across Asia and is a well-liked tattoo design in the Muay Thai culture. Thai fighters make this symbol an addition to their skin for protection, fight success, and good fortune.
The traditional design of the tattoo is black and white, but new and modern tattooing studios use methods that change the pose and the colors of the Ganesha.
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What Are Sak Yant Tattoos?
The Sak Yant is a tattoo anyone can get as long as they feel worthy. The tattoo is a great piece of art that focuses on three things; fighting and protection, curiosity, and overall better life.
Because the sport brings a lot of health concerns and injuries that are tough to recover from, Sak Yant is a tattoo that offers protective power.
According to the old legend, you must wear the symbol with pride to have healing features. Foreign Muay Thai fighters like to get this tattoo because they like to have a constant reminder of their training time in Thailand.
Tattoo cultures, whether from Japan or Thailand, carry a lot of stigmas that are odd to the working class and regular society.
What Do Sak Yant Tattoos Mean?
The meaning behind this tattoo is simple; the Sak Yant is supposed to protect the fighter from any danger, whether from physical or spiritual nature.
Many people have tattoos to embellish their appearance, but when it comes to Sak Yant and other designs with deep meanings, people have different interpretations. The symbols represent a memorable moment filled with different moments, successes, pains, trauma, death, and more.
The Sak Yants are believed to be protective of their wearers and imbue them with superhuman strength. The symbol is religious and well-known around the world.
Sak Yant tattoos are a part of the Muay Thai community and can also be seen on Mahouts, boxers, and gang members like the Yakuza.
What Are The Rules Of A Sak Yant Tattoo?
Before getting a Sak Yant tattoo, every Muay Thai fighter has to be aware of the rules that come with the tattoo. Getting a Sak Yant tattoo is not as simple as any other tattoo, and the entire process is a ritual.
To be worthy and receive the tattoo with a blessing, the wearer must follow the rules to gain spiritual power. The five rules of Sak Yant are:
- Never kill another living creature
- Never lie or steal
- Never cheat on your partner
- Never lose control because of alcohol consumption
- Never speak in harm of your family.
Is it disrespectful to get a Sak Yant tattoo?
Getting a Sak Yant tattoo is not disrespectful to the culture, but where you get the tattoo is an entirely different story.
In Thailand, tattoo studios are on every corner, and the competition is fierce. Most tattoo artists have remarkable skills. Some even use the traditional Bamboo poke method of drawing, just like the Buddhists.
However, getting a Sak Yant tattoo is a spiritual and life-changing experience. For a proper Sak Yant tattoo, you must find an artist administered by a true Sak Yant master, also known as Ajarn.
Getting a Sak Yant tattoo from someone who a Sak Yant Ajarn hasn’t approved can be disrespectful to Thai people.
Are Sak Yant Tattoos Permanent?
Even though the Ajarns use a different method for drawing the Sak Yant, the tattoo is permanent. The tattoo color may fade after a couple of years because the ink doesn’t go that deep into the skin.
In the ritual of tattooing, the Ajarn blesses the wearer of the tattoo, and if he breaks even one of the rules, he must return to get the tattoo blessed again.
How Much Does a Sak Yant Tattoo Cost?
Like any other tattoo, the price depends on the design size and the rate of the tattoo artist you visit. If you want the traditional tattoo done by a monk, you will pay as a donation.
On the other hand, if you want a trained Ajarn to do the Sak Yant, you can expect a price between $30 and $350, depending on the design size.
Who Can Tattoo Sak Yant?
Every tattoo artist can agree on making a Sak Yant tattoo. However, to get the real deal and receive a traditional tattoo with a blessing and a ritual, you must find an Ajarn or someone that an Ajarn has blessed.
What Is The Symbol Of Muay Thai?
The Sak Yant tattoo symbol for Muay Thai is the Tiger Yant. Every fighter likes to have the features of a tiger and be quick, fearless, agile, and strong.
This tattoo not only brings a lot of power and courage to Thai fighters but also drives away negative energy and evil spirits that usually appear before an important fight.
This was everything about Muay Thai fighter tattoos explained. Our article covered everything about the Sak Yant tattoos, like what each means, where you can get one, and from who.
A Sak Yant tattoo brings Muay Thai fighters protection and positivity, amongst other benefits. When culture is involved, and you must go to Thailand to get the real thing, the tattoo is more than just body art.