The method behind the meaning

Imua! had always meant forward! to me, in the sense of onward and upward, chin up, catching the tailwind and actually gaining ground to take the race — that was in outrigger canoe paddling. Chanting the word ‘imua’ gave us a collective power to push forward, despite some disheartening and overwhelming circumstances.

From a fascinating website:

These are some definitions of the word IMUA, some nuances I had heard and other permutations I did not know:

“Imua – Hawaiian word meaning ‘to go forward with spirit’ in Shantung, means ‘silk’ for fluid movements of self-titled martial arts forms; Imua Shantung KunTao (From now just called Imua) is alledgedly one of the oldest martial arts in the world; …because of its history, Imua developed to have a very tight, fighting range;…a defense system – all training is focused on eliminating your opponents as fast as possible;…neither long-range [karate, kung fu, tae kwon do] nor short-range [akido, judo, jitsu], ‘imua is one of those rare styles that are specially developed for something in between.
“Because of this, fighting somebody who is good at the Imua style can be difficult – the practitioners are always too close to get in a good kick to the head, and always too far away to get in a good throw or wristlock;
…rumored to be used in CIA special agent training.”

To me, it means forward, as in moving ahead without looking back, into a forward creative momentum with fellow collaborators, much like the feeling of racing an outrigger canoe on Hawaiian waters.

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