In his writings, Kenn argued passionately for defiance against the Americanization of the Hawaiian people.
Kenn recorded Hawaiian chants from elders, preserving information about the Hawaiian language and cultural traditions. As a young man, he had learned lua from several teachers, such as Naluahine Kaopua of South Kona, as well as two lua practitioners who had trained at a royal lua school established by King Kalakaua. He had also studied with sensei Seishiro Okazaki.
When he was in his late 60ʻs he was approached by men who wanted to learn the ancient tradition, Kenn initially refused, but eventually agreed to teach a core group of students. He graduated a group of five ‘ōlohe (masters), who have continued teaching select students. Kenn's efforts led to the establishment of two lua pa (schools) in Hawaii: Pa Ku‘i-a-Lua, Ku‘i-a-Holo.