Lima lama is a martial art that originated on the South Pacific island of Samoa. Derived from the words “lima” and “malamalama,” meaning “five fingers of understanding and intelligence,” lima lama symbolically means “hands of wisdom.”
Founder Tu’umamao “Tino” Tuiolosega practiced aikido, Shaolin kung fu, choy lay fut and hung gar in his early years, and as the son of a royal Samoan family, was required to learn various self-defense techniques steeped in traditional Polynesian martial skills. Thus lima lama mixes the traditional movements of Polynesian dancers with the battle-proven tactics perfected by fierce Samoan warriors of yore.
Lima lama focuses on warrior traditions (specifically dance), shifting and swaying tactics intended to unbalance one’s opponent, wrestling (including holds and takedowns), boxing and street fighting, pressure points, knife fighting, trapping, kicks and stick fighting.
Tu’umamao “Tino” Tuiolosega introduced lima lama to California in 1964, and one of the United States’ most famous lima lama experts is Hawaiian native Ted Tabura, who continues to spread the Polynesian art throughout the world.