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Originally, the tattoo signified [in Russian prisons] that the wearer could not be brought to his knees. The tattoo was meant to send the message to administration that the person wouldn't cooperate, which in Russian prisons meant being willing to withstand hours long beatings, as well as cold and starvation. To prisoners, the wearer was verified fearless, tough, and brutal. Both knees are tattooed, covering the entire kneecap. Russian organized crime uses a 6 point tattoo, while others might have as many points as years in prison.

Despite the distinct anti-authoritarian message, these tattoos havent caught on outside of Russian prisons. The process is more painfull that but a few areas of the body [neck, face, elbow, back of knee, knee caps and genitals are the pain winners.] because the flesh is so thin on the knees. legs flex and straighten just like a reflex test a doctor performs, during the tattoo. bone contact happens. healing times are doubled, with multiple applications required unless one is immobile.

this was actually a reason why the location was chosen: a good looking star kneecap tattoo requires hours and hours of work to appear fresh. its not unusual for a star the circumference of a soda can on both knees to take 12+ hours of work. hours and hours of pain, in an area estimated to be 2-3 times as sensitive as a bicep tattoo. the wearers ability to withstand pain was obvious.

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Q: What does the star tattooed on the kneecap mean?
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