Kumu Michelle Manu
Michelle began training in hula dance at 3 years old and martial arts at 9 years old. She is known for her accomplishments as a women’s empowerment speaker and advisor, founder of the SHE Program, creator of Urban Survival for Women, and a 10th Black Belt teacher of the Hawaiian warrior cultural practice and martial art called Lua.
Michelle is the only woman accepted as a first-generation disciple and earned the title and responsibilities of teacher (Kumu) under Grand Master (‘Ōlohe) Solomon Kaihewalu in about 40 years. In 2016, Kumu Michelle was given the designation of “Knight Commander” by the Royal Order of Kamehameha I for her continued work in promoting, protecting, and
perpetuating the Hawaiian culture through the Lua. She was inducted into the 2016 Martial Arts History Museum’s Hall of Fame for altering the course of history of martial arts.
Kumu Michelle is the guardian and keeper of the only Kaihewalu Lua weaponry exhibit, located at the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank,
Michelle toured the Midwest as a professional Polynesian Hula dancer and
choreographer (1990-2004). The Lua battle techniques were concealed within the Hula dance when Lua was banned from public display (shortly before the Hula was banned). These two cultural practices have been separated since the ban over 200 years ago. Kumu Michelle teaches both the Hula and Lua (Kaihewalu lineage) together in her Nā Koa system, as well as metaphysical science, wellness, and LuaLomi (the warrior massage) (
https://nakoawahine.org/). This was the way of the ancient Hawaiian Koa (warrior). Michelle strongly believes, and can show with her body
, that Lua and Hula (and Lomilomi) are the same use of energy just expressed differently based on the intent of the practitioner. Lua is full contact (to bind and dislocate), Lomilomi is contact (to heal), and the Hula is no contact (storytelling, ritual).
Michelle has had a success 25-year law career. Her experience has been vast and includes teaching college level law courses; sitting on college academic advisory boards; investigations; litigation, transactional, and administrative law; HR; mediation; finance; and operations. During her legal career, she has earned a Juris Doctorate (law).