Tattoos hold a different meaning for different people. In the past, tattoos were considered sacred. It was only done by warriors, representing bravery and also an achievement. Warriors managing to slay their enemies would decorate their body with the image of the enemies; a sort of a trophy or some kind.
As time passes by, tattoos are considered as body art – a representation of artistic type done by most people to show their characteristics, status, social circle, and such thing alike. In Thailand, Muay Thai fighters are said to always have the Muay Thai tattoos. As a matter of fact, they need to have such tattoos. To see the reason behind the action, you need to understand the culture and the background history.
The Original History
Muay Thai tattoos are somewhat more familiar among travelers or tourists but they are called the Sak Yant by the Thai people. If you are training the martial art, you probably wonder why most of the fighters have the tattoos which are pretty uniformed, if not common. The word Sak Yant alone means protection tattoos or the sacred tattoos. You need to understand Thai’s culture that is still filled with mystic beliefs and folk tales.
The Sak Yant tattoos are believed to provide fortune and protection. It is believed that when Muay Thai fighters have the tattoos on their bodies, they will always be blessed and protected so they can fight without harm or danger. For some people (especially foreigners and tourists), such a belief is silly but for the locals, they take it to their heart and it gives them the boost of confidence.
The Rigid Rules
Right now, having the Sak Yant tattoos is pretty much possible for everyone – you don’t have to be a Muay Thai fighter to have one. However, there are some strict rules that you need to follow if you want to have the tattoos.
First of all, you need to find a Sak Yant Thai tattoos master that is generally coming from a monk. Although it is believed that getting the tattoo from those who aren’t a monk is forbidden, nowadays there are a lot of Sak Yant tattoo artists who aren’t monks. They will do the tattoo in the traditional way by using a bamboo or a steel needle.
For the traditional Muay Thai fighters, however, they will only consult the monk Sak Yant tattoo master so they won’t violate the law which can result in the bad karma. Most of these fighters have the need to have the tattoos although the tattoos themselves aren’t a must.