ARCHIVE SERIES #0004: KEKŪHAUPIʻO [MUA]

Posted in Updates on February 6th, 2020 by FITTED

004_KEKUHAUPI`O-MUA

Behind every great leader stands a pragmatic adviser, who sometimes consults from the shadows, doling out knowledge that may one day help shape history. While the legend of King Kamehameha now expands across cultural barriers (the name has been appropriated into the 90ʻs pop culture zeitgeist known as Dragon Ball Z), it was the exceptionally skillful warrior Kekūhaupiʻo who helped forge Kamehameha into the tough and illustrious King that he was.

Legend has it that while Kekūhaupiʻo wasnʻt an imposing figure in a practical sense, he was known to have “broad shoulders” and was incredibly quick. The senior adviser to Kamehameha was taught multiple forms of Hawaiian martial arts from his kumu Laʻamea at a young age, quickly picking up kapu kuʻialua (bone breaking), moa lawa (dart fists), and mea kana (weapon fighting with spears and a wooden staff).

Kekūhaupiʻo was fairly proficient in these disciplines following the passing of a few anahulu to the point of nearly being an expert, yet he remained humble and respectful to his kumu. Realizing how far he had excelled in his training, and that putting his skills up against a man would simply be childʻs play, Kumu Laʻamea decided that a more ambitious challenge would be for Kekūhaupiʻo to fight a “terrifying fish of the wide ocean which people fear.” The ʻailolo ceremony began, and Kekūhaupiʻo left the shores for the depths of the ocean aboard a waʻa kaulua (double canoe) alongside Koaʻia and a band of warriors to meet his imposing match; a niuhi (great white or tiger shark). Kekūhaupiʻo leapt into the waters, and after struggling and wrestling with the massive beast, plunged his ike pokole into the rough, sandpaper-like skin of the niuhi. After killing it, the ceremony concluded with Kekūhaupiʻo consuming the right eyeball of the shark and presenting its left eyeball to Akua.

Kekūhaupiʻos profile in courage and greatness was further heightened when his path converged with that of Kamehamehaʻs and eventually became his aide-de-camp, fulfilling Laʻameaʻs prophecy that “this young aliʻi will become a famous warrior in the future and will become a fighter on the side of some famous aliʻi of the land.”

Kekūhaupiʻo was an incredible visionary in terms of warfare. One story tells of their first experiences with hearing cannons fire off a visiting ship. Both Kamehameha and Kekūhaupiʻo were mesmerized by what were considered advanced weaponry at the time. Legend says that although King Kalaniʻōpuʻu “trembled in fear at the thundering sound of the canon,” Kamehameha and Kekūhaupiʻo showed no fear externally, and compared the advanced weapons that were onboard the ship to Hawaiiansʻ “long spears and fighting staffs” to “the great cannon and flashing swords of the foreigners, and the small guns which flashed like lightning.” With his understanding of how powerful these weapons were, the newly enlightened leader would go on to acquire these superior weapons of war, with the foresight to implement them in battle and ultimately rally the people in unification.

Our Mua motif is one of the earliest graphics we designed during the genesis of FITTED, which translates to “forward,” “first,” “future,” or “advance,” and is an ode to the importance Kekūhaupiʻo played in Hawaiian history.

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