Michelle Manu CV/Bio
Michelle Manu is internationally known for her accomplishments as a 10th Degree Black Belt, Alihikaua (General), and Kumu Lua (teacher) of the indigenous Hawai’ian cultural practice and martial, the Lua (Kaihewalu and Manu lineages). Kumu Manu is currently the only high-ranking female teacher of this art and currently the only public representative of a Hawai’ian woman warrior in over 200 years. She is presently the only woman to be given the designation of “Knight Commander” of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I (O’ahu Chapter), for her continued work in protecting, promoting, and perpetuating the Hawai’ian culture through the Lua.
Previously Kumu Manu toured the Midwest as a professional Polynesian Hula dancer and choreographer for ten years (1990-2000). Today she uses the Hula dance to teach Lua as she believes it is essential for timing, balance, placement, and micro-body movements during close-quarters combat. This is what Kumu Manu teaches at UCLA, and in her system – Nā Koa (The Warriors) and Pā Lua O Manu. She began working with Honolulu Community College in the Native Hawai’ian Program in 2022.
Using the Lua and Hula, Kumu Manu teaches self-protection to people in high-risk environments such as pilots and flight attendants, real estate professionals, healthcare professionals, university students, adult entertainers, women experiencing domestic violence and homelessness, and everyday women. Kumu Manu’s required system of study also includes ways of the ancient warrior: metaphysical science (Pohihihi), warrior massage (Lualomi or Lomilomi Koa), and wellness (Olakino) and conditioning (Ho’olā’au).
Kumu Manu has been a legal professional for twenty-six years. She has earned a Juris Doctorate (JD), business credentials from George Washington University, business credentials from Harvard Business School and George Washington University, a master’s degree in Metaphysical Science (MMsc), and is a 2023 candidate for a PhD in Philosophy with an emphasis in personal transformation.
Kumu Manu has been featured in magazines such as: Black Belt Magazine, Hawaiian Airlines Hana Hou!, Martial Arts Xperience, Inside Kung Fu, Sports Illustrated, Martial Arts Masters Magazine, Seni Beladiri (Malaysia), Tae Kwon Do Times (Korea), USAdojo.com, KenpoGirl, Herstory, Martial Arts Illustrated UK, Warrior Magazin (Germany), Martial Journal, Immersion Labs, and El Camino The Way (Spain). Some of the noteworthy awards she has been given:
- 2016 Hall of Fame Inductee
- Martial Arts History Museum
- 2006 Inductee
- Masters Hall of Fame 2017 Inductee
- Argentina Martial Arts Hall of Fame
- 2017 Woman of the Year
- Kenpo International Association
Kumu Manu also accepts offers to work regularly in the industry in shows, films, podcasts, and live television. She has been a producer, host, lead actress, fight actress, and fight coordinator in several Indie films, series, and projects.
Kumu Manu plans to release two books this year: The Woman Metaphysician-Warrior, and The Butterfly Effect.