This is what you need to know about Hawaii's ancient special forces

Hawaii has a very different history than the rest of the United States. The islands’ native culture thrives in its memory, perhaps because that “destiny” didn’t manifest itself in Hawaii like it did in the lower 48.

Related: This martial art was originally developed to beat up Nazis >

It’s a tribute to Hawaiians’ strong links to the past that so much is known about the islands’ ancient culture. But Hawaiians weren’t always a unified people. Each island had its own chief who vied for power among the others.

ancient special forces

Hawaiian Koa Warriors fighting using the Lua art.

To attack a rival’s island, a chief couldn’t just get 50,000 guys on chariots to roll over to their territory like rulers could in the ancient Middle East. Wars required amphibious operations and small unit combat.

Enter the Koa Warriors.

The Koa were the elite among the regular armies. They fought with Lua, the Hawaiian martial art, and went into combat barely clothed. Their main tactic involved using less-skilled fighters to shoot projectile weapons on an enemy. And when the enemy infantry closed in, the Koa would pummel them into submission.

Beat that, Ohio.

They used a variety of weapons, from the oars they rowed with shark-tooth edges, to knuckle dusters, daggers, and garrottes.

Learn more in the video:


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