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At the very beginning of teaching the first strokes, La‘amea instantly realized the cleverness of this pupil of his and he spoke these words of prophecy to Kekūhaupi‘o’s father:

This young ali‘i will become a famous warrior in the future and will become a fighter on the side of some famous ali‘i of the land. He will become one who seeks land for some of our ali‘i ‘ai moku. If he exhibits such competence at this young age, his future competence is established and not only with the weapons in his hand, but combined with his genuine strength. This one’s status is as a moa lawa,( one who is sufficiently adept to prevail in future battles).Moa lawa, literally white cock, refers to the warrior’s strength. “Lawa was a name applied to a class of men of great strength.”

These words by La‘amea brought happiness to Kohapiolani, Kekūhaupi‘o’s father, and he said to his son’s teacher:

Teach him all that you know, and perhaps he will become one to find a haku [lord] for the two of us, and bring us good fortune. The only thing I ask you is, do not needlessly praise him lest he become over-proud which will be of no value in your teaching of him. He will know the weariness and hardship of becoming a warrior, and you must also teach him love for his haku, so that in the future they will be of importance to him.

In this talk between Kohapiolani and his son’s instructor we can see, O reader, the truly excellent nature of the instruction of warriors of the time of our ancestors. Implanted in their lives was loyalty and love for their ali‘i and they understood that they were taught excellence for the benefit of their haku ali‘i. We shall see the feelings which truly began in the life of this famous warrior of that ancient time, which grew in all his actions thereafter.

After the passage of perhaps two years or more or perhaps before this, this young ali‘i of Ke‘ei became famous for his proficiency at handling weapons and most of all his seizing of weapons hurled at him. Also he was famed for his cleverness in dodging the tips of the ihe makawalu spears which were hurled at him and this was because of the excellence of his sight and the alertness of his body in leaping to and fro. When Kekūhaupi‘o reached the age of fifteen, his instructor well understood that the knowledge of his pupil was exceeding his and doubt grew in his mind as to whether his pupil might harm him as sometimes the cleverness of the pupil might exceed that of the instructor. La‘amea asked Kekūhaupi‘o’s father to release him and to place the young warrior under the instruction of Koaia, a certain man of Kapalilua very famous for bone-breaking wrestling, who was, in fact, a cousin of his. He should be taken and placed under the care of that cousin of La‘amea.

These words to Kohapiolani by his son’s instructor made him very pleased and he spoke to his son about going to Kapalilua for some time to learn the art of lua. When Kekūhaupi‘o heard his father he quickly agreed. He prepared himself to go with La‘amea who had taught him to hurl a spear and how to defend against and to seize the spear of his opponent. The two of them went to Kapalilua and Kekūhaupi‘o was settled with the instructor of lua named Koaia.


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

Kamehameha Schools Press, Honolulu, 2000.

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