Kajukenbo is a hybrid martial art, blending various forms of self-defense. “KA” stands for Karate, “JU” for judo and jiu jitsu, “KEN” for Kenpo, and “BO” for Western and Chinese Boxing. Kajukenbo was developed on Oahu several decades ago through the cooperative efforts of martial artists who specialized in different arts. This martial art adopts the most effective techniques from each discipline.


Self Esteem







Our Goals.

Over its 30-year history, Lawakua has helped hundreds of disadvantaged youth from Hawaii's public housing projects by…

Using Kajukenbo to teach discipline, respect, and teamwork.

Building a more hopeful future for at-risk keiki living in Oahu public housing projects.

Providing educational assistance to at-risk youth who otherwise would not have the opportunity.

Lawakua Educational Program
Solid Education


A Better Future

About Lawakua.

Lawakua Charitable Fund is a non-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization. For the past 20 years, the program has run cooperatively with other non-profits throughout Oahu.

Our Mission.

Over its 30-year history, Lawakua has guided hundreds of disadvantaged youth to a more hopeful future. The program uses martial arts to teach confidence, coordination, structure, and discipline to youth, with a focus on at-risk and low-income children. Lawakua also provides educational assistance such as covering tuition payments to private schools for the at-risk youth participants.

Our Process.

Lawakua recruits children from public housing projects to join its martial arts club. They learn discipline, hard work, self-defense, team collaboration, and respect for others. Currently, there are about 70 students participating in the martial arts program. Lawakua provides educational assistance to 17 students who attend quality private schools and universities in the state. The numbers have grown each year.

Our Goal.

Lawakua strives to positively affect as many kids as possible through Lawakua.

Our Donors.

Generous donors have given substantial amounts to Lawakua to fund the Kajukenbo program as well as quality private school education for the public housing children. Various private schools and Universities have joined in to waive tuition costs for Lawakua students to attend their schools.

Our Spirited Leader.

Matthew Levi, a black belt expert, has led Lawakua Charitable Fund to help underprivileged youth throughout Oahu for the past 30 years. With the coordination of volunteers and other Hawaii non-profit organizations, he teaches martial arts classes to troubled youth at three public housing projects: Kuhio Park Terrace (est. 1995), Puuwai Momi (est. 2004), and Mayor Wright (est. 2012). The Kuhio Park Terrace class practices each Friday. The Mayor Wright class practices each Monday. The Puuwai Momi class practices each Wednesday. In addition, students from each housing project are transported to Kuhio Park Terrace for a combined Kajukenbo practice session each Saturday. In all, there are two sessions per week for each group of public housing children.

Since 2005, Lawakua has taught martial arts to juvenile offenders from drug court, resulting in incredible success. Studies have found that former juvenile offenders training with Lawakua are far less likely to offend on any criminal offenses than those who did not.

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