Hapuka's Mau Rakau Blog

Discussion in 'Other Styles' started by Hapuka, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. Devon

    Devon Valued Member

    For what it's worth, I became interested in Mau Rakau about 40 years ago and did some training with a good club in Hastings (Hawkes Bay) maybe 35 years back - I think the instructor's name was Steve Heperi. I know Mita Mohi was running his taiaha courses on Mokoia Island then as well; Irirangi Tiakiawa was also teaching at that time. Later on (1990s) I did a bit of training with Hirini Reedy in Wellington. Never heard of teaching the art being illegal (?!) but I've heard of a few people over the years being arrested for attacking others with a taiaha.

    The big change was when Pita Sharples started running truly public classes and developed a more structured curriculum, maybe in the late '80s (?)
  2. HeWhanoke

    HeWhanoke New Member

    Ngā mihi ki a koe!

    Kia ora Hapuka,

    Ko Hikurangi te maunga
    Ko Waiapu te awa
    Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi

    I stumbled across your blog totally by accident and what an awesome insight into starting mau rakau from the perspective of a pia (beginner). I myself have just started my journey into Mau Rakau. I am hoping to be graded at the end of the year with the Porirua Rōpu.

    I live in Queenstown (although I am originally from the East Coast), and I have the unbelieveable fortune of living just down the street from a Pou-ono kairakau. Even better is that she is trained in Te Whare Taua o Aotearoa style (Pita Sharples) which includes aspects of the East Coast style (Arapeta Awatere).

    Long story short is that she has agreed to train a rag tag bunch of us and to say Im hooked is a gross understatement. We catch up weekly and its probably the highlight of my week.

    So I would just like to say, that I really enjoy your blog and stepping through your early journey including your first grading (which I am yet to experience). Ngā mihi nui ki a koe me tō tuakana hoki. Huge congrats to you and your older sister too. Well done on passing your grading.

    Hope you keep updating your blog as Id love to hear how your journey progresses.

    Mā te wā (bye for now)
    He Whanoke
  3. uepohatu

    uepohatu New Member

    Tena koe He Whanoke,

    No Te Tairawhiti au. Mangahanea me Raahui o Kahu toku Marae.
    Ko Kaiwai taku ignoa whanau.

    Awesome to see more people picking up the rakau. Train hard and grade easy :D

    Every ropu/kaiako is different, but we're told trainings should only be used to correct mistakes - 80% of your training should be in your own time.

    This has stuck me since I started this journey. Don't leave your rakau in the corner until the next training, pick one up every day. Even if you're not training the mahi, get used to moving it around in different ways.

    Train your mahi religiously, learn why you do each movement, research what each word means, so you know and understand it - this will only benefit you later down the track.

    How well do you know the mahi? Different kaiako will sometimes put you on the spot using a new way of teaching. Know your mahi. Using Ahei as an example - do you know it in order, mixed up, backwards, every second in order etc. Strive to be the best you can be for the level you're grading.

    Kia kaha
    Kia maia
    Kia manawanui

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
  4. HeWhanoke

    HeWhanoke New Member

    Tēnā koe uepohatu

    Tēnā koe uepohatu,

    Ko Iritekura te marae. Ko Sadlier taku ingoa whanau.
    Ko tāua he uri o Porourangi.. Mauri ora!

    ATM I have 4 rakau for various types of training and most of my training (refining technique) indeed happens away from training.

    The quick answer to your question is, kei te marama au i te mahi katoa i te whakaako ki au i tēnei wā. Yep, I understand all the mahi (me ngā kupu hoki) that has been taught to me so far (Poutahi).

    Ngā mihi mahana

    He Whanoke
  5. Hapuka

    Hapuka Te Aho

    Kia Ora Koutou, Hello everyone.

    Since November last year I've been training hard for this year's grading. For pou rua we have some real butt kicking techniques (as in they're kicking my butt trying to do them). One technique known as Whitiwhiti Porotaka is a low squat plyometric jump done in the shape of a box - going left, forward, right and back. Similar to below.


    I'm not sure what Porotaka is in reference to (I've been told its a frog), but It can also refer to the Grass Spider (Agelenidae).

    I'm also training to do an 8km run at the end of the year (for the grading), so I've been running every second day. At the moment I'm running about 3km so I have a fair way to go.

    I've also carved myself a Taiaha and have been practicing with it daily.

    The curriculum is pretty full on so I haven't had time to cross train. But its probably for the best as I'm finding that habits (that are unhelpful for Mau Rakau training) from past training keep creeping in. What may of worked for Boxing or Muay Thai doesn't necessarily work for Mau Rakau. So I'm at the stage where I'm setting in my foundations and ironing out any kinks.

    I found this really good article on how to cross train which might be of interest, I will highlight the points I found valuable - http://www.martiallife.com/index.php/component/content/article/4-personal-development/14-the-10-commandments-of-martial-arts-of-cross-training-.html

    1. Stick exclusively to your primary style for at least 5 years

    Going from school to school every few years is not good cross training. If you don’t stick long enough in one school, you cannot fully assimilate all the intricacies of its training, making you at best a mediocre practitioner. Being a mediocre practitioner in many styles does not make you a good practitioner; it only makes you a practitioner with lots of experience at being mediocre.

    3. Empty your cup

    • Forget everything you have learned before. Pretend you are completely new to martial arts. If the new school uses a belt system, wear the lowest belt.
    • Remember that you are there to learn, not to teach, show off or otherwise be a disruption to the class.
    • As soon as you step in the training floor, remember the fact that you are a novice to that school. Give due respect to those who were there before you.

    4. Do you best to learn everything

    5. Do not judge or reject anything

    People often quote Bruce Lee out of context: “Keep what is good, reject what is bad” is being said in the context where the practitioner gave the training an honest chance. Only after he has assimilated and understood the movements and principles, can he make an educated decision on what to keep working and what to dismiss.

    6. Don't try to be better than anyone else

    8. Follow the path created by that school

    Do not try to impose anything on the school. The minute you signed up and walked in that school, you morally accepted to submit to their teachings, their rules, their ways. If you cannot follow their rules for any reasons, then you should find another more suitable school.

    9. Refrain from telling people your training experience

    You have emptied your cup anyways, so you have no past training to talk about.
  6. Hapuka

    Hapuka Te Aho

    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  7. HeWhanoke

    HeWhanoke New Member

    Good timing

    Kia ora ano Hapuka,

    Coincidentally, I just returned from a weekend wananga with te rōpu Te Whare Tu Taua ki Waitaha. Our small training group in Queenstown were welcomed very warmly to join their wananga, and to keep in contact via their FB group.

    We all enjoyed the weekend immensely and since returning home we have already made plans to ramp up our training with an aim toward grading in October.
    Hapuka likes this.
  8. Hapuka

    Hapuka Te Aho

    Long time no see, so time for another update.

    Things have been bit up and down for me this year. Mau Rākau is one of the hardest martial arts I have been a part of, because its more that just swinging a Taiaha around. For me the journey of Mau Rākau has been about reconnection, and this for me has been harder than any of the physical training involved. There is a very deep connection that I feel with Mau Rākau, and that's because of my ancestors.

    Growing up I didn't have much do with my Māori side, I didn't acknowledge it because I didn't know how to. So walking in to Mau Rākau I knew it was going to be tough, because of the cultural learning curve. There's the language, you can't really advance in Mau Rākau without speaking Te Reo at least semi fluently. There is also the tikanga (customs), the kaupapa rapunga whakāro ( philosophy), the haka and waiata (dances and songs). So as an art, it may only have 8 ranks, but the art itself is very deep and comes with a steep learning curve. Many of the younger people (kids and teens) have grown up with doing Māori studies or went to a Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa (Māori schools), so doing this stuff comes more naturally to them.

    I remember as a teen doing Taekwon-do and Muay Thai etc. sure we said the names of the techniques in Korean and Thai, you learnt to bow during training and sparring etc. but there was no requirement to immerse yourself culturally.

    Due to stress and not meeting expectations (my own expectations), I've decided not to grade this year. I've gained 20kg from depression (which is a different matter altogether), and haven't been to training for the last 3 months. Mau Rākau has revealed some inconvenient truths about myself that I am currently working on. I've also decided to spend time training in the bush (hanging out with Tāne-mahuta - the forest god), just walking, as that's pretty much all I can do at the moment. I am also working on improving my diet. And of course, working on improving my Te Reo.
  9. Hapuka

    Hapuka Te Aho

    And another video too showcasing Mau Rākau by Hinetu Dell, Kuia and Kaitiaki (female elder and guardian) of Ngāti Porou.

  10. HeWhanoke

    HeWhanoke New Member

    Kia ora anō Hapuka (Hello again Hapuka),
    Thanks for the video. I always feel inspired watching the kaumatua (elders) from my iwi (tribe), especially mana wahine (strong women) which my iwi is known for.

    Im sad to hear that you have taken time out from training. I hope you get back into it at some stage as I do enjoy reading your blog and journey.

    As for my journey, I graded last weekend in Wellington and I passed my Poutahi. While all in all it was a happy occasion, there was some disappointment because most of our small Queenstown group could not make it to the grading. Only myself and one other (we were both akonga or beginners) made it to grading, and he failed. So while I was relieved and happy to pass, I was so disappointed for my friend.

    At the grading, I happened across my niece who was also grading and I took this picture after we passed poutahi with our tipare (headbands).

    So I hope to see you back blogging soon Hapuka, and good luck with your journey learning te reo (the language).

    Ngā mihi mahana (warm regards)

    He Whanoke

    Mitch and Mangosteen like this.
  11. Tuukariri

    Tuukariri New Member

    Kia kaha raa kootau ko ngaa kairaakau. E hika Hapuka, kia ita, kia manawanui. Ki ooku whanaunga noo Te Tairaawhiti. He uri teeneki noo Tuuwhakairiora. Kaare he toa i tua atu! Kua mau i a taatau ngaa uri teeneki taonga hai tuku iho ki a raatau ngaa tamariki mokopuna, kia kore ai e ngaro. Ngaa mihi ki a kootau katoa
  12. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Mod Note" Welcome to MAP Tuukariri. Please be aware that MAP's Terms of Service ask for members posting to add English language translations when posting in another language. Sharing your language and culture is wonderful, but we want everyone in on the the conversation in a public forum. (You can read our TOS by clicking on the Terms and Rules button on the bottom right hand corner of every page.)


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