Kahuna Bodywork

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The term ‘Kahuna Bodywork’ was created by (Kahu) Abraham Kawai’i.


In Australia today styles of Hawaiian massage available include Kahuna Bodywork, Kahuna massage and Lomi Lomi. However, it is only the Kahuna Bodywork that incorporates the Kahuna Principles. Developed by (Kahu) Abraham Kawai’i following extensive travel and study of other cultures, these Kahuna Exercises can only be truly understood via the physical experience. All bodywork where there is Ka’alele au (flying or hula dance movements) around the massage table is Kahuna Bodywork.

Students practice Ka’alele au, which are precise variables of martial art style ancient hula sequences, for many hours and days before Kahuna Bodywork training commences. Ka’alele au with its controlled and focused movements in various speeds looks similar to Tai Chi Chuan, and is an ancient spiritual dance/movement, the art of non verbal communication with all things. Ka’alele au is designed to coax the Western psyche into the practical understanding of the fluidity in motion, presence, focal point application, leverage, and positioning, Ka’alele au classes are slowly becoming more available in Australia, with benefits reaching beyond the therapeutic. 

In Australia there are only a handful of people who have been directly trained by Kahuna over many years to have a higher understanding of the application of Kahuna Principles in Bodywork.

Kahuna Bodywork is adapted from a style of bodywork that in ancient times was reserved for Hawaiian Royalty. Performed only by the Kahuna in ancient temples, Kahuna Bodywork was performed as a ‘rite of passage’ and an initiation into greater responsibilities. The arrival of Western people and missionaries however, introduced laws in 1920 which forbid ancient native Hawaiian practices, dances, chants, and language. This included the ancient initiations in the temples, because only Christian churches were acceptable. The Kahuna, a highly trained expert in one or more fields, was also deemed to be a sorcerer. Until the United States federal government passed the Native American Religious Freedoms Act in 1979, the Hawaiian people were forbidden all their cultural practices. "'Section 1034: Sorcery -- Penalty, Any person who shall attempt the cure of another by the practice of sorcery, witchcraft, ananna (sic), hoopiopio, hoounauna, or hoomanamana, or other superstitious or deceitful methods, shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined in a sum not less than one hundred dollars or be imprisoned not to exceed six months at hard labor.' There is also another section of the law which classes the kahuna with bunco men and defines him as one posing as a kahuna, taking money under pretense of having magical power, or admitting he is a kahuna. For this the fine went up to a thousand dollars and a year in prison." -- Long, 1948 

Kahuna Training, if it occurred at all, had to happen secretly within the family. Kahu Abraham Kawai’i for example, was trained in several Kahuna skills within his culture, and eventually by retrieving knowledge from ancestral memory and applying Kahuna Principles to modern life, he was able to create Kahuna Bodywork.

So what does Kahuna Bodywork mean to us? 
Why would any Australian want to learn Kahuna Bodywork if it is Hawaiian and bound to ancient Hawaiian understanding? In the accredited courses in Kahuna Sciences in Australia the teaching is still much in the way the course developer has experienced it in over 16 years of training in Hawaii. That means we are not learning anything Hawaiian, but by applying Kahuna Principles we discover our own ancestral connections and knowledge. 

A qualified Kahuna Bodyworker has gone through months of personal and physical development training, and has a high level of anatomy and physiology knowledge with the added ability to apply ancient Principles in understanding dis-function, dis-ease, dis-alignment. A Kahuna Bodyworker always strives for excellence in all aspects; learning or performing Kahuna Bodywork becomes a way of life.

Kahuna Bodywork comes from Hawaii, but by Principle does not teach something Hawaiian. Instead it teaches people to access their own inherited genetic wisdom. It shows students how to access pathways to physically, mentally or spiritually unexplored areas within the Self. The result of these explorations is multilevel and can be subtle or foundationally life changing, for both the giver and the receiver of the bodywork. Kahuna Bodywork is not a form of massage. Rather, it works like a dynamic re-patterning process on body, mind and spirit that gives clients the opportunity to realign themselves and change old non-contributing patterns within their bodies. Apart from the possible therapeutic effect the major benefit of Kahuna Bodywork lies in the client’s greater sensitivity and understanding of his/her own body.

Kahuna Bodywork requires great sensitivity and an extensive knowledge of physical human movement. All bodywork techniques and moves are applied with Ki energy through the bodyworker’s own body movement. Kahuna Bodywork is based on movement. The required motion, positioning, leverage and posture in application of bodywork is taught through an ancient precisely patterned movement, called Ka’alele au. By constantly refining his/her own Ka’alele au movements, the student learns to design technique sequences appropriate for the individual patient/client. The first aim for Kahuna Bodywork is to use stroking techniques to relax and reassure the client. Once relaxation is achieved, specific deeper work can be commenced. It is important that a relaxed and pain-free state is maintained throughout the entire session. (Pain free does of course not mean ‘without sensation’.) Deeper work may involve specific Ka’alele au movement techniques, and deep point pressure using leverage to release muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and joint movement techniques. Stroke movements and specific patters are initiated through the Ka’alele au movement, encouraging improved cell communication, and synchronisation of the heart beat and breath in the client almost immediately. To achieve this state of communication, the bodyworker has to work entirely without intent, which makes this work very different to other modalities in its foundation.

Certificate III in Kahuna Sciences Bodywork concentrates on Relaxation Bodywork. Ka’alele au training is the core of the bodywork training and self development, and requires a minimum of 200 hours for Certificate III. Students of Kahuna Sciences are highly trained in sensitivity to the client, to ensure that the appropriate depth of work is selected according to the situation. Certificate IV in Kahuna Sciences (Therapeutic) Bodywork concentrates on the aspects of deeper work such as stretching and movement sequences, point pressure, and prescribing relaxation and stretching exercises to the client. At this level a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology, health psychology, and pathology, is expected. 
Diploma level concentrates on Evolution Bodywork, which is similar to above except that it teaches the bodyworker to understand the ancient concept of movement- induced acceleration of cell communication and advancing the clients’ perception of Self.

The first Hawaiians (Kanaka Maoli) arrived after traveling in great double hulled ocean going migration canoes called Wa'a Kaulua. Traveling some 2500 nautical miles from various parts of the south pacific. They were guided by Kahuna Navigators who followed ancient prophecy, chants and dream messages that told the story of a mystic island in the middle of the sea.

The overseer of the structure of Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli) life was the ‘professional’‚ known as the ‘Kahuna’. The Kahuna were the keepers of ancient knowledge, the keeper of wisdom and understanding, the professors and the skilled ones. (Kahuna translated literally means ‘Keeper of Secret’). The Kahuna was the Navigator, Healer, Master Builder, Architect, Teacher, Counsellor, the Keeper of Things Sacred, Meteorologist (Weatherman), Geomancer, the Keeper of Genealogy, Tactical Advisor, Strategist, Priest, Astronomer, Astrologer, Scientist, Psychic, and Divinator. In all levels of Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli) life, the counsel and services of the Kahuna were continuously sought after. Children of any sex or class were selected for Kahuna Training to learn and recognise the Principle in how everything relates to everything in the Universe - when they showed talent, discipline and knowledge of Self and nature. This was basic training, and they were primarily groomed to understand the Principle of genealogy and family, in all life.

Today, the few Kahuna left living are the preservers of the ancient Hawaiians’ (Kanaka Maoli) soul and heart, the preservers of the culture, and the keepers of the Principle.

The holding fast to Genealogy was the ancient’s way of maintaining the divinity of genetic resource; power generated by ancestors, wisdom, and knowledge achieved, heights of love and compassion, and of spirituality. These were great building blocks for an emotionally stable individual, and an emotionally stable nation. Modern genealogical research, such as the Human Genome Project and its findings, concur with the ancient principle (living concept) of total inter-connectedness. Finding that the human genome contains genetic sequences of all other living organisms, we are standing at the top of the evolutionary ladder. Therefore within ourselves through our genetic heritage we can find and relate to everything that has been, is now and forever will be. The Kahuna understanding is that, "our space of existence is a magnitude that is our closest most loyal, most loving friend that we have”. Integrating Kahuna principles is a way of life, and although we cannot be Kahuna, we can still achieve the level of knowledge and power of the Kahuna for ourselves and be successful and bring out the best in our own genetic line.

Striving for reality and presence in the here and now, there is no need to cry for our own lost culture. From Hawaiian culture these ancient Kahuna exercises enable us to find our own genetic knowledge and power. Exercises from the ancient past, almost but not yet forgotten, enable us to revive our lost cultures, adapted and made available to us by one of the last real Kahuna.

Contributed by: Ki'a'i Weber


































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