Muay Thai Tattoos: In the world of Muay Thai, one can often observe fighters adorned with intricate and enigmatic Sak Yant tattoos, which are far more than mere decorative embellishments. These mystical symbols are believed to possess extraordinary powers, providing profound protection to those who bear them. Even outside the realm of Muay Thai, Sak Yant tattoos have garnered immense popularity, and here, at Muay Thai World, we invite you to delve into the fascinating realm of these magical Muay Thai tattoos and the art of Sak Yant.
Unveiling the Significance of Sak Yant Tattoos in Thailand
Sak Yant Tattoos, originally rooted in Buddhism, are tattoos traditionally administered by revered monks. It is believed that the true magical potency of these tattoos can only be harnessed when inked by the hands of a monk. Furthermore, the process involves a Buddhist ceremony, infusing spiritual significance into the tattoos.
The method of etching Sak Yant Tattoos adheres to tradition, utilizing a needle affixed to a bamboo tube. In contrast to modern tattoo machines, this technique does not only take more time but also is considerably more painful. Moreover, the ink used often contains extraordinary ingredients, including ashes from deceased monks and other mystical substances.
If a Sak Yant tattoo is not executed in the traditional manner, that is, by a monk wielding a bamboo stick, it may fail to bestow the intended magical effects, such as protection, happiness, success, and a myriad of other desirable attributes. This protection is what draws many Muay Thai fighters to adorn themselves with these mystical symbols.
The Ritual of Sak Yant Tattoos
The process of inscribing Sak Yant tattoos is commonly referred to as “Bidhi sak” (พิธี สัก). The tattoo master meticulously embeds the symbol beneath the skin using the traditional “Mai Sak” (bamboo stick). In addition to Buddhist monks, traditional healers and other religious specialists are proficient in endowing these tattoos with magical properties.
As ink, thick Chinese ink is usually employed, fortified with a blend of mystical ingredients. Recitation of spells during the tattooing process is a vital aspect, affirming the magical protective qualities of Sak Yant tattoos for the bearer.
After the actual tattooing process, the Sak Yant tattoo must undergo consecration. This is achieved through gentle strikes on the freshly tattooed area by the skilled tattoo master or by a sanctifying application of holy liquid. It is only after this pivotal step that the Sak Yant can unfurl its complete protection over the wearer.
Notably, one of the most renowned temples for the art of Sak Yant tattooing in Thailand is the Wat Bang Phra, located in close proximity to Bangkok.
The most famous Muay Thai Tattoos – Sak Yant Tattoos
Below we will introduce you to some of the most famous symbols from the world of Sak Yant and tell you what their meaning is.
Hah Taew – The 5 sacred lines
One of the most famous Sak Yant Thai-tattoos is the Hah Taew tattoo. Each of the five lines has its own magic and sacred significance. Typically, they give the wearer protection against evil spirits, happiness and success.
Gao Yord – 9 towers
The Gao Yord tattoo is usually tattooed on the neck. The geometric design embodies the nine sacred peaks of Mount Meru and also includes Buddha symbols. The wearer of a Gao Yang Yord Sak is protected from evil spirits and experiencing happiness in life.
Muay Thai Tiger Tattoo: The tiger is a symbol of power and strength. In addition, he is considered fearless. Precisely this are the reasons why this tattoo is very popular especially among Muay Thai fighters.
Muay Thai Hanuman Tattoo (Hindu Monkey God)
One of the most popular Muay Thai tattoos is that of Hanuman. This is the Hindu god of the monkeys, and the bearer of this tattoo is blessed with courage and bravery. Hanuman is worshiped by many people as a symbol of strength, perseverance and devotion.
Ganesha Tattoo (Hindu elephant god)
Ganesha is a Hindu God who enjoys great popularity in Thailand. It is said that he has the ability to clear the way of obstacles. On the other hand, he is also able to place obstacles in the way of man who does not pay homage to him. In addition, he is regarded as God of dance and as a good lover and is worn by many people as a symbol of protection.
The World of Sak Yant tattoos is extremely complex and difficult for outsiders. Here we only explain the best-known symbols shortly. Many other magical motifs are known to the monks in the temples of Southeast Asia.
Tip: Beautiful Sak Yant symbols are also used on Muay Thai Short. The well-known brand Fairtex in particular has Sak Yant Style Short in its range. Check it out here…*
Video about Muay Thai Tattoos and Sak Yant
If you are interested in the meaning of Sak Yant and Muay Thai tattoos, you should also definitely watch this video. Here you will find authentic first-hand information about tattoos and their meaning.
Credits: A look at the variety of tattoos you can see at Tiger, and two local tattoo studios where guests can get inked. ‘Bamboo Tattoo’ and ‘Protection Tattoo’. Also featuring an in depth look at traditional Thai tattoos with Tiger’s Muay Boran & Krabi Krabong instructor Kru Oh.