Ha‘a Koa Defined

Ha‘a Koa (Dance of the Warrior)

Ha‘a is the Hawaiian word referring to the ancient (pre-hula) “bent-knee dance” that was performed by kāne (men) while koa is the Hawaiian word for “warrior.” The term Ha‘a Koa translates to Warrior Dance or Dance of the Warrior. The Ha‘a Koa is a kāne (masculine) protocol that is clearly and uniquely Hawaiian; Hawaiian in language, movement, ‘ike (thinking), and mana (spiritual power). The Ha‘a Koa is not a particular dance, but refers to a type or category of dance that falls within an established criteria. As such, a particular Ha‘a Koa may be a modern composition or consist of an ancient ha‘a that may be hundreds of years old.

The Ha‘a Koa is rooted in traditional Hawaiian practices including the lua (martial art), hula (dance), and oli (chant), and may include the use of musical instruments such as the ipu and pahu (percussion instruments) as well as mea kaua (war implements). In essence, the Ha‘a Koa celebrates the spirit of the ancient Koa and the virtues of Aloha (love & compassion), Koa (valiant & courage), Lōkahi (unity & peace), Kupa‘a (firm & loyal), and Mana (power & authority).