Life is Good – Lua: Art of the Hawaiian Warrior

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Lua – Art of the Hawaiian Warrior

Late at night and in secrecy ancient Hawaiian warriors would practice the art of self-defense called lua. The lua master, or ‘olohe lua’, believed that this discipline would help balance both spiritual and physical embodiments so that they could not only win a battle but also achieve daily harmony in their lives.

The art was only taught to those of royal bloodlines and was forbidden to be taught to anyone else. Thus it remained a secret until, with the changing times, lua slowly became a lost art. Today few masters teach this ancient art of self-defense.

The physical aspect of lua meant muscle toning through gymnastics, wrestling, swimming and surfing. In attaining the spiritual balance, lua warriors learned to chant and to dance hula.  Some cultural practitioners even believe that hula came from the study of lua. And like today’s modern-day yoga practices, lua warriors learned breathing techniques. Playing games like konane, similar to checkers, helped them to think quickly and strategically.

Mitchel Eli, a present-day ‘olohe lua, points out that during the time of battle – aloha was set aside. Hawaiian chiefs led their men into battle as a threat to their opponents. Lua warriors performed the warfare haka a dance that displayed their strength and fearlessness. The end of the haka signaled the start of a bloody battle with one objective, victory, which in all instances meant death.

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Special report by Alyssa Navares for


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