Tai Tuivasa, his full name being, Tai Anthony Tuivasa, is an ascending Australian MMA fighter. He currently competes in UFC’s heavyweight division. Tai is known to have begun his professional start in 2012 from Australia. Just like most of MMA’s, Tai is also known to be tattoo-crazy, and this is not our perception, but his body says it all. Let us explore his unique body designs!
“I’m a Foboriginal from the area. FTA. That comes from my group of boys, when we were kids. I’m proud of being from the area – Western Sydney – and it means a lot to me. I got it tattooed on my lip when I was 15. For me to get something tattooed it’s serious, so it means a lot to me.”
Samoan Culture Tattoos
Tai’s body is covered with multiple elaborate tattoo designs that relate to Samoan Culture. They can be seen on his upper body, covering the major portion of his stomach, sides, thighs, and lower back.
Being a product of two different cultures opened Tai’s eyes to a new universe of possibilities. His father, who comes from a warring tribe, is immensely happy every time he steps out to the cage because he shares their tradition.
According to Tai, the Samoan culture is vibrant and active, in contrast to the Koori culture (his mother’s heritage), which is dying. But, with his recent success in mixed martial arts, Tai isn’t only proud of his lineage; he’s pleased to be the first indigenous Australian to win in the Octagon.
Tai has a Pea tattoo, which is a traditional Samoan tattoo done in the exceedingly painful and old-fashioned technique of tapping. There is just no other option for him, and maybe for any Samoan. Otherwise, it would be impolite. Because he had to fly overseas for his fighting engagements, the tattoo took three months to complete. According to him, it is more than simply a tattoo since it is steeped in tradition.
Tai claimed that he inquired from his uncle once about what he had on his body when he noticed his uncle wearing the Pe’a and his mother answered. “Only real men get those, son,” He says he had decided that day to get this tattoo for his mom.
“One day, mum,” he said, “I will get that for you.”
1. Back Design
2. Samoan Tattoo Design on Upper Thighs
3. Navel Tattoo-Mana
Tattoo: There is another Samoan Pe’a design on Tui’s navel.
Meaning: Mana begins in the stomach or mid-section, and the navel symbolizes freedom because of the figurative connotation linked with the severance of the umbilical cord. Individualism is not highly prized in Polynesian society (as it is in most others), but independence is. As claimed by Tuivasa, how independence and freedom run in their family culture and are also regarded with honor once the male gets the traditional tattoo done.
The tattoo is used to strengthen an established order in Samoa, which is still very much a hierarchical culture. The tattoo helps the tattoo wearer signify his patrilineal claim to the land.
4. Tattoos on Legs-Tatau
It is applied to start at the waist and go down to the knees, meaning “protected and shielded.”
From the knees to the tops of the thighs, it’s applied. Tattoos on both men and women indicate that they are ready for life, adulthood, and community duty. Leg tattoos from Samoan Culture are named Tatau, which is a symbol of a person’s ancestors, personal history, present, and future. Their Tatau represents everything that defines who they are now and in the future and acts as the specific mark to recognize them as members of their family and community.
5. Front Thighs