At first glance, the size, strength and menacing beauty of tigers is impossible to ignore. With swift movement and a savage disposition it both fascinates and terrifies. Millions of years of fine-tuning evolution were required to produce this most ultimate of hunter’s arsenal—explosive spring-steel sinewy muscles, razor sharp fangs and claws, and super senses. But there is certainly much more than meets the eye.
Its image summons up notions of confidence, courage and wild spirit. As the supreme master of its jungle domain it is unforgiving in defending its territory. Unmistakably, its main purpose is to hunt for survival. Because it is the ultimate predator and hunter in nature it symbolizes the warrior-caste of society.
Because of its primal instincts and intense emotions, it can also represent destruction and violence. Its built-in propensity for aggression is fully unleashed when it is time to feed or defend. But to be an effective hunter it must manage its base impulses. In order to stalk and kill difficult prey it must hyper-focus its attention and fully rely on its lethal skillset. Fully present in every movement, it must enter a Zen-like state of mind to achieve a successful hunt. This state of higher consciousness is no different than what every hunter in nature employs.
The tiger appears in the mythology of many different cultures as a universal symbol for power and active energy. The ancient Chinese placed images of tigers in their charms to scare off evil spirits and devour wicked influences. “In Buddhism, their strength is also a symbol of the power of faith and of the spirit struggling to make its way through the Forest of Sin, itself depicted as a Bamboo-forest.”
The combination of these attributes and mythological associations makes the tiger the preeminent symbol for competition focused fighters—not only for its dangerous physical qualities but also for its hunting way of life and mythological symbolism. A fighter that is fit for unarmed combat and is dedicated to the hunter lifestyle embodies these very same qualities.