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This man named Koaia was famous for lua which was wrestling and bone-breaking, however he had ceased his work because of old age.

Something which was said of this lua instructor of Kekūhaupi‘o was that he was not in the habit of engaging in the robbing activities of the teachers of lua nor was he one who used this knowledge to harm men. Although he was a man much feared in his own place, it was never heard that he used his knowledge to harm the life of another. When Koaia saw this young man with long arms and a physique showing great strength, he turned and spoke to his cousin La‘amea these words glorifying his student whom he was to instruct:

Eh, my cousin La‘amea, the warrior is a moa lawa, he is sufficiently well made to prevail in combat and the names of his teachers will live through him for here we see his body full of strength and his opponent will be harmed if he approaches closely. This perhaps will be my last pupil whom I teach and make an adept by [eating] the eye of the man-eating niuhi shark of the ocean. I shall teach him all the strokes of my profession, reserving perhaps one for myself, lest I might die by him in my old age. Then La‘amea smiled inwardly as this was the first time he had heard words such as these from the mouth of his cousin. Kekūhaupi‘o also heard these words by his new instructor and he spoke these good words to his teacher:

Have no doubt about this for I was taught the excellent forms of fighting by my beloved teacher. He strongly advised me not to convert these things I have learned into the means of destroying and harming others, except only their use on the battlefield with the enemy.

To this Koaia responded:

Your words are good, it is known by the pāpālua of the hair upon my head. ( Use of the term pāpālua may mean that the teacher had second sight in regard to the future of Kekūhaupi‘o. His origional words read: Maika‘i kēlā mau ‘ōlelo a‘o iā ‘oe, ka mea nō ia āu e ‘ike maila i ka pāpālua o ka lauoho i luna o ko‘u po‘o).The profession of bone-breaking of men was taught to me, however this knowledge was not to rob the weak of their lives, and because of this the lua deity (‘aumakua lua) loves me and has lengthened my life. You shall become my true pupil and perhaps I shall show the numerous strokes which will enable you to become a famous warrior in the future. The hearing of the instruction and care for the kapu of the ‘aumakua lua are what are to be learned.

Kekūhaupi‘o remained for a year with that lua instructor, and during this time his ali‘i father sent him the necessary things for his stay at that place of Kapalilua for, at that time, Kapalilua was a land of starvation. Kekūhaupi‘o’s father understood the conditions in the land of Kapalilua and for this reason he sent canoes with food and kapa for his son’s well-being while he resided with his lua instructor.


Desha, Stephen L. "Kamehameha and his warrior Kekūhaupi‘o. "

Kamehameha Schools Press, Honolulu, 2000.

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