ABOUT the HA'AKOA
Dance of the Warrior
Definition of Ha‘akoa:
Ha‘a 1. Bent knee dance style.
Koa 1. Brave, bold, fearless, valiant, and courageous.
2. Warrior, fighter, and hero.
The name Ha‘akoa refers to the bent knee dance of the brave and fearless warrior, or simply, Dance of the Warrior. Ha‘akoa does not refer to any specific dance, but to a style of dance that is done with bent knees and is ho‘o koa (warrior in nature).
Ha‘akoa are kāne (masculine) cultural protocols that are clearly and uniquely Hawaiian i.e., Hawaiian in language, movement, ‘ike, and mana. Ha‘akoa are modern compositions (innovations) that include lua, ha‘a, hula, and mele that may be hundreds, if not thousands of years old. Ha‘akoa may include the use of instruments such as the ipu and pahu as well as mea kaua (warrior implements). Ha‘akoa are free from kapu and may be embraced by every and anyone, kāne and wāhine.
‘OHANA: Recognized by anthropologists as a “posture chant,” Ha‘akoa are a type of dance that is found throughout Polynesia. Just as Tonga has the Sipi Tau, Samoa the Siva Tau, Fiji the Cibi, Rapa Nui the Hako, and Aotearoa the Haka, Hawai‘i has the Ha‘akoa.
Each culture’s posture chants speak of specific people, specific places, and relate to specific periods of time. The mele (song) tell one story while the postures tell another. At times the postures may reflect the words of the mele, however, generally they will not. Ha‘akoa reconnect us to our kūpuna and remind us that as people of Polynesia, we are one ‘ohana.
THE FACELESS ENEMY PHILOSOPHY:
Ha‘akoa are referred to as dances of the warrior because they are protocols that will unify and empower an individual or group relative to a battle at hand. The battle is the process to overcome whatever the challenge or obstacle may be. The Enemy (Challenge) in the battle may include, but not be limited to: ourselves, others, governments, false doctrine, or unrighteousness in high places. The message and intent of Ha‘akoa are not to harm, but to show unity and commitment to overcome the Enemy (Challenge). The energy and ferocity of Ha‘akoa chants and movements symbolize how the Enemy (Challenge) will be overcome and defeated.
E ku‘i ke kāne, e naue ka moku, e kūpa‘a ke kāne i ka pono!
The men will pound (the ground with their feet), the island will shake, the men will stand firm for what is right!
The kaona (deeper meaning) here is that the practice of the Ha‘akoa will inspire today’s kāne to be warriors of the 21st Century. This includes being a man by leading, providing for, and protecting the ‘ohana; honoring all wāhine and respecting all kāne, being a role model, becoming a leader of the kauhale and community, and being a true example of sovereignty, living free of poor health, ignorance, and substance addiction.