Grandmaster Sam Kuoha
Sam Alama Kuoha. Kuoha's martial arts career started at the age of four when he was trained by his Uncle, Sensei Joe Mack Makahilahila, who was also taking care of him at that time. As he grew older the fascination was even more apparent as he watched his father, also Sam Kuoha, a full blooded Hawaiian who trained in the Hawaiian Art called, "Lua". The translation of Lua is referred to as "bone crushing" and indeed it was so. At the age of 10, while training in Judo at the local YMCA, he observed a karate class going on, and after watching it for a while, he approached his mother to take lessons. After a couple of years in Judo, he was introduced to a karate instructor, named Charles Kuheana. As things would turn out, Kuheana was a protégé of Chow's. Kuoha ended up living in the same home set up as a BuddhistTemple, along with 5 other students training nearly 10 hours daily. Kuheana started Kuoha in the Chinese Kenpo System. The meeting of Kuoha and Chow occurred several times during when the training was held at the Salvation Army Gym. The training of Chow was tough and demanding and for this reason he rarely taught the younger generation. Unlike Chow, Kuheana was extremely patient and understanding with the students. Kuoha assisted Kuheana at the gym teaching others and at times had almost 100 students.
After high school, Kuoha got married and moved to back to an area where he lived originally all his life, called the Kalihi Area, known as a tough neighborhood and which he grew up as a youngster. There he met with Professor Chow, who only lived the very next street away. Kuoha's dream of becoming a law enforcement officer was starting to fade as in Hawaii at that time a strict height and weight requirement was enforced (at 21 years old, Kuoha stood 5' 10" and weighed a mere 135 #). Kuoha did in fact have an opportunity to train the new officers in hand to hand combat, (better known as defensive tactics). As things would have it, Kuoha moved to California and started training in various systems to include Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu and an art that he truly loves for the internal teachings, Aikido. Being homesick for the Kenpo Art, he made several calls to Hawaii, but no-one knew of the where-about of Chow. In the middle 70's, he received a call from his mother, who was a friend of Patsy Chow, and Professor Chow was finally located and was willing to speak to Kuoha. It should be noted that all efforts during this time to contact Kuheana again proved futile. Kuoha flew back to Hawaii and spent a few weeks with Professor Chow. He had no regular students at that time. Kuoha started to train again with Professor Chow and having the ability to take several vacations during the year, he did so (as a law enforcement officer he built a lot of compensatory time and would have between 8-10 weeks each year). The training was intense and visits with his own family was very scarce. In a 3 week period, Kuoha and Chow would spend everyday from 9 AM to 10:00 PM. Kuoha wanted to become dedicated and wanted to prove to not only himself, but to Professor Chow that he was exactly that, a dedicated student.
Professor at times would relay the dissatisfaction of many people who came to visit him for a few hours and then he would hear that they were making claims of being dedicated and devoted students of his, and he was very upset with them. As of September, 1987 at the untimely passing of Professor William K.S. Chow, Kuoha was still and today remains a dedicated and devoted student. Kuoha trained with Professor Chow just 5 weeks prior to his death and at this time Chow had the opportunity to meet with Kuoha's Daughter, Ka'imipono Renaye Kwai Sun, a child whom Chow wanted named after him. On this visit, he brightly whispered to Ka'imi that she continue training and someday take over his system.