By Brandon Bosworth
Kai Kamaka, owner and head trainer at 808 Fight Factory and King of the Cage promoter, wants the worldwide martial arts community to know what Hawaii has to offer.
“I want to set a foundation for Hawaii fighters to be seen nationally so we can compete on the highest level,” he says. “That was the reason we started promoting shows again and brought King of the Cage to Hawaii.”
A Waipahu High School graduate, Kamaka first became involved in MMA 1995.
“My brother-in-law, Ray Cooper, was helping Kawika Pahaluhi train for his first Superbrawl. We would watch them train in the back of his house,” he says. “Then it was Ray’s turn to go into Superbrawl. We started to help where we could and then a whole bunch of us started training. From there we evolved into a team, Jesus Is Lord, which was a representation of our faith.”
Kamaka first stepped into the ring to compete in 1997. “It was an event called ‘Ultimate Explosion,’” he says. “There were no weight classes back then, and the rounds were 10 minutes long. Head butts were allowed. It was basically a street fight.”
When it comes to fight disciplines, Kamaka likes to call what he does simply “freestyle.”
“We calibrate a lot of styles all in one,” he says. “I started doing stand-up with Richard Pelen, Danny Kaheaku and Adrian Silva at Waianae Boxing Club. I learned wrestling from Tatsuhiko Hikiji. For my ground game, my brother-in-law, Ron Jhun, and I trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with John Lewis at Nova Uniao. Everything after that was kind of learned on our own through trial and error.”
Kamaka now has his eyes firmly set on the future.
“I want to train Hawaii boys so we can sent them out there to compete,” he says. “If they make it, we make it.” Keeping with a well-established family tradition, his sons will soon be competing.
“l will be here in the MMA community for a while.”
WHO: Kai Kamaka
WHAT: Owner and head trainer, 808 Fight Factory; Promoter, King of the Cage
CURRENT LOCATION: Pearl City
TRAINERS: Richard Pelen, Danny Kaheaku, Adrian Silva, Tatsuhiko Hikiji, John Lewis
FIGHT DISCIPLINES: Freestyle, Boxing, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
FIGHT RECORD: 4 wins, 5 losses