The Kapu Kuialua

The Kapu Kuialua

Kapu Kuialua (Pa Kuialua, Kuialua or just Lua) is said to be an ancient Hawaiian martial art of bone breaking, emphasizing joint locks as well as strikes.

The name roughly translates to “forbidden way to fight”, as it is claimed to have been only taught to the king and his family, and teaching outside of the sanctioned circle was punishable by death.

The modern form of this art may actually include techniques from other traditional martial arts, such as jujutsu, judo, karate and aikido. Weapons used by natives of the Hawaiian islands may have been focused on primarily in the art at one time, as it is said the fighter who loses his weapons should then resort to “Mokomoko” (dirty fighting methods). The old warriors of this art would oil up and remove hair in order to be able slip away and avoid being grappled in battle.

“Live aloha” does not really apply here. There are three things that are pretty great about the Hawaiian martial art of Kapu Kuialua. In no particular order, ehre they are.

The first is that it is the martial art of (Hawaiian) kings, and unless it was a time of particularly terrifying war, it was never taught to the middle or lower classes of society. It was a fighting art reserved for, basically, the kings, their familes, and their elite guard. Exclusivity is so cool.

The second thing that’s rad about it is some of the weapons that are seriously part of the martial art. Some disciplines use fighting sticks and blades. Kapu Kuialua is no different. But, guess what else it uses: Hoe (canoe paddle), Hoe Lei-o-mano (paddle with shark teeth in it), and Ka’ane (strangling cord). That suffix “Lei-o-mano” actually means “nailed some shark teeth into the sucker to make it deadlier.” That’s how many shark teeth weapons they had – they needed a blanket term for all of them.

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