Outlined this the other day. It is actually an interpretation of a bible verse. Not sure which verse exactly but it alludes to fighting a serpent, and makes reference to a sword, breastplate, belt, boots, and helmet.
His first request was to represent this as a samurai fighting a snake.
Unfortunately samurai didn't use shields, and wouldn't have fought giant snakes. I went with a more Suikoden style take on it, which was the inspiration for a lot of Japanese tattoo imagery anyway.
The shield is just peeking out from behind his back (as I was hesitant to make it a main image) to show that it is there as it had to be to include all the elements from the verse.
There will be substantial patterning in the dude and the snake and all that coming soon...