The word lua means pit or depression and the number  two. The number two is significant for lua because it encompasses the idea of duality, which involves force–counter force, action-reaction, life - death, masculine-feminine, positive-negative, yin-yang, good-bad, right-wrong, soft-hard, to name a few. Duality for the lua practitioner is about understanding the nature of opposites, because it determines the choices you make in every situation. For example, for every force there is a counter force. When a punch is thrown, expect a counter strike. In battle it is about action choices that means you may live or die.

By the end of the 18th century, King Kamehameha had acquired firearms, which brought him victory in his battles to unite the islands without resorting to hand-to-hand combat. In 1820, the kapu system was broken, disrupting a societal system that had insured the passing of Hawaiian traditions for generations past. Then, when missionaries appeared on the scene, the teaching of lua was looked upon with disfavor, and by the 1840s it was banned. Only a few Hawaiian families continued to practice the moves and pass the secrets of the discipline down to younger members. The art virtually disappeared.

Lua is a way of life because as you learn how to break bones, you must also learn how to put them back. This philosophy refers not only to the physical part but the spiritual part, too. This is important because as a person you have mana (supernatural power). And mana can be used for good or it can be used for hewa (wrong purposes).