Muay Thai and Sak Yant
Also referred to as “the art of the 8 limbs”, Muay Thai (thai boxing) has a long history in Thailand. It was first created as an effective self defense technique for Thai warriors in the 16th century. Indeed, it extensively uses the hands, shins, elbows, and knees as powerful weapons to neutralize the enemy.
Thai boxing is now known as the national sport, but takes its roots in ancestral martial practices, such as Muay Boran (traditional boxing). Nowadays, many Thai people try to live from this art; in fact many youngsters yearn to become Muay Thai professionals.
Long carrying a poor reputation of being a violent hobby, on the contrary, Thai boxing requires dedication and rigor, adding strong beliefs in ancient traditions. It is now gathering more and more disciples all across the world, thanks to the perfect blend between a powerful sport and important cultural aspects.
Nak Muay (thai fighters) can often be seen with mystical tattoos covering up their body. These traditional tattoos, also called Sak Yant (pronounce “Sak Yan”), can first be mistaken as decorative symbols. On the contrary, at that time, warriors wouldn’t wear heavy armors and counted more on mobility and divine protection. Therefore, Sak Yant are believed to provide magical powers to the carrier, such as power and safety.
Sak Yant tradition
Sak Yant - Sak meaning “to tattoo”, and Yant for “Yantra” - first appeared about 3000 years ago, in the ancient khmer empire, that included parts of actual Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma.
Originally worn by warriors, they are known to provide magical powers to whoever carries them, and are therefore growing extremely popular across the world.
Sak Yant are given by a qualified monk (Ajarn) during a solemn buddhist ceremony, that will include various prayers and chants.
During this ceremony, the Sak Yant is engraved with a needle, attached at the end of a bamboo stick. In order to acquire its magic, the tattoo will need to be blessed, only then will it be able to provide its mystical effects, such as protection, power, success, or even love.
With every Sak Yant comes a list of rules that need to be followed in order to keep its magical effects.