Ch Maui was born on the East Coast of the country, in a litter full of vigorous pups bred by Wee Wee and Tuffliner kennels… His sire was the Ch Fire dog who was a product of River kennels’ Ballistic ROM bred to Spirit POR. His mother was sired by the great Jumanji’s Gr Ch Red Roman DOY (another son of the afore mentioned Ballistic ROM) to a pure hard biting Garners Frisco bitch 1xw Sura.

In my opinion Ballistic ROM along with Garners Scar Rom are the most prepotent producers the country has ever seen, purely based on the number of breeding’s done and the number of worthy offspring…and Maui was a perfect combination of the two. Even generations down you’d still find dogs with Ballistic ROM in their pedigrees with the same qualities of those direct Ballistic ROM sons and daughters. He commands a column to be written about him all on his own….

So Ch Maui was essentially a Bolio – Chinaman/Frisco dog down from solid stock. Maui arrived at my place when he was 4 months old, he was full of fire always looking for something to put his mouth on… As he grew I noticed he had impeccable structure and off the charts prey drive… So at an early age I wanted to see if he was eager to start, so at 8 month old I unleashed the Great White on him and he didn’t want any part of that… Back to his pen he went.

2 months went by and when Maui was 10 months old, acting like a mature dog on the leash but still squatting like a puppy… I released another boy on him and he was finally cranked up… He whipped his assailant from one corner to the next, showing tremendous talent. He had speed, intelligence and great balance. As time went by he had 2 more classes showing the same every time, his mouth became better and better.

One day while on the chain another boy who was being shaped for his big day got off his chain and ran straight into Maui, when we arrived to the scene we had to pry Maui’s mouth from the throat of his much bigger assailant… Maui suffered swollen lips and a cut above his eye… Took us hours to get the other boy stitched up.

Then we decided he’s ready, got him hooked on 13 months old, but we were paid forfeit as the opponent got sick… It didn’t bother me because he was still very young… At 15 months old Maui was a replacement for another boy who couldn’t make the weight, he was worked good for 4 weeks and so his career began…

Maui vs Grimms (Bolio – Gr Ch Barracuda)

The two boys were set down in the square and on release Maui flew over and met Grimms in his corner, Maui as I knew he would starts working the head, looking fancy and evading everyone of Grimms’ attacks. Drawing “Oooohhhhsss” and “aaaaahhhhssss” from the onlookers. Every so often he sets off on attacks of his own, working the shoulders and throat… At 20mins Grimms is down and bleeding profusely from his shoulders, I encourage the handler to Pick up, he gives my suggestion a thought but goes with his corner’s advice and leaves his charge in there.

Grimms’ handler could be heard saying “get him Grimms get him, he’s only a puppy get him.” His frustrations must’ve been shared by Grimms as he couldn’t handle those deep ear/head holds anymore and starts turning. At around the 45 min mark Maui starts seriously attacking the throat sensing Grimms doesn’t have much left, Grimms would jump back to his feet realizing he would be killed right there.

On 55 mins Maui goes to the stifle for the first time and hits a bleeder that sprays as if someone was squirting water from a syringe… At that time someone in the crowd jokingly asks the referee to check if Maui is breathing making reference to the conditioning, which became a recurring thing in the shows to follow… Grimms’ tongue is blue and his eyes staring into the afterlife with Maui glued to his throat closing hard when Grimms is picked up…he is propped up in his corner and completes a stumbling, falling game scratch. Maui is barking in his corner digging his feet to get some more of Grimms.

Maui is declared the winner in 1h08 mins.

Now we started asking for 1xw Pushkin again, many esteemed dogmen at the time thought that he was unbeatable. We wanted him real bad but his camp wasn’t coming to the party and he was later sent to a different part of the country to restart his career.

After some rest Maui was hooked for his 2nd show. I worked him as usual and 3 weeks into the keep something happened that I feel is beyond the scope of this article but to make a long story short… He lost his tail, had swelling at the base of his tail and spine, he wasn’t in any shape to be put through keep and surely not to be put in the square with another bulldog… This issue was taken care of by my lifelong friend who is knowledgeable of all things vetinary related… Maui was rested and treated for 14 days. That left us with 2 weeks until showtime. I had then put Maui through training to assess his level of fitness… I made the decision to go ahead with the show…

Maui 1xw vs Kane (Frisco)

Release and we fly across, as usual Maui settles into his rhythm of controlling the head and setting the pace… But Kane a tall beautiful black boy is rough and shoots to his desired spots in the shoulders. Kane works those holds with ferocity. Maui never let’s him stay there for longer than a few seconds though but clearly is still adjusting to life with his new shortened rudder…

Kane pushes Maui around the whole pit trying to put his mouth on something, the sound of teeth snapping as he bites into thin air gets my corner smiling. My boy is too smart, fast and strong, as he holds Kane out in the center of the square head into the carpet and Kane doesn’t know what to do as all his attacks are dealt with. Maui goes on the offensive every so often and works the shoulders but every time he does Kane grabs his nose to nullify the attack… After a few times Maui doesn’t go on the attack anymore and stays defensive working the head… At around the 40 min mark Kane grabs Maui’s nose again but this time he gets the top and bottom jaw in his mouth and he clamps down.

I knew Maui always finds a way but Kane is not letting go and I start talking to Maui, he looks at me and wags the little bit of tail he has left. Never panicking and breathing slowly, he was as calm as the great Floyd Mayweather when under serious attack. They stayed like that for a good few minutes and I knew he’d be pissed when he gets out of there, eventually he does and he unleashes an attack on the now down Kane that he couldn’t come back from. At this time one of the onlookers from another top kennel yells out “Mr ref is Maui breathing, has he been holding his breath all this time? I don’t see him breathing”

that’s when the name “Underwater” stuck. Suddenly Maui grabs a stifle and works it good, the damage is not visible and the opposing corner is excited, saying “his mouth is gone”. When he released that hold Kane was on 3 wheels. I had previously called a turn on Kane and I got a handle on Maui…. The clock says 56 mins and Kane takes the count, I couldn’t hold Maui in his corner and he escapes my clutches but I managed to get hold of him almost halfway accross and bearing down on a defeated Kane. People asked to see Maui complete a scratch and I obliged, he flew over…

Maui is declared the winner in 56 mins.

After this show I decided I was done with Maui for the year because of some personal commitments that needed my undevided attention and some failed negotiations with one or two of the top contenders in our weight class… We were into the first week of October when I got a call from Bounty with news that he had a yard accident that left 1 boy Rip and another who would be lucky to survive… 2 days later the other boy was also Rip. They were both in keep for upcoming shows. He asked if I’d be willing to put Maui in as a replacement. Now at the time I wasn’t sure, number 1 – because of the personal commitments I had coming up and number 2 – because Maui’s 2nd show was in September, so literally a couple weeks earlier. I decided to go guns blazing.

2xw Maui vs Runner (Frisco)

Release your dogs and before Runner knows it Maui is right on top of him going to work on his head immediately… Runner chasing the front end and Maui on defense. The pace these two boys are going at is frantic, Runner is pushing hard and gets what he’s looking for but as always Maui disables those attacks easily… And goes back to steering and controlling the proceedings. Runner is smart and tries to get to the top as he realized chasing this Spanish Matador is not gonna yield much success… So Runner now tries to wrestle Maui and get ontop to gain some control but as anyone who has seen Maui will tell you they’ve never seen him being wrestled to the floor, Ever!

So both on their hind legs jostling for the upper hand when Maui slams Runner to the floor asserting his dominance. It goes on in this fashion for a few minutes with Maui always ending up ontop glued to the head… Runner is still pushing hard and fast and has a good mouth, causing damage when he gets to the hold he was looking for. Runner does manage to get on top of Maui with a solid head hold and he looks slick and fancy too… Maui though never chases and in my opinion can cause the most defensive dog to start attacking and blow hot, and deals with straight ahead barnstormers with even greater ease thanks to his superior defensive and wrestling abilities.

I had called a turn on Runner before and was looking for a handle. We get handles and Runner comes hard as we meet him halfway and at that time someone in the opposing corner says “we’ll be here all night if we have to” in reference to Runners gameness.

At around 45 min Runner is slowing down and we start attacking his front end and we pop a massive bleeder, dark red blood is pouring from Runners leg and the handler tells his corner “this is bad” as it wouldn’t stop flowing. Runner gets slammed to the floor more often and taking longer to get to his feet.

Then I asked the handler to pick up a good dog as I felt Runner was a better dog than both Maui’s previous opponents. He was encouraged by the leak being plugged but as soon as it stopped Maui went back to that very spot and shook violently and it started flowing worse than before, his  front-end was shot. Everyone in attendance can see Runner is not coming back from this and we both tried to get handles on several occasions with no success.

1h10 and I managed  to handle Maui, our turn to scratch and he flew across slamming Runner who was finding it difficult to stand… At this point Runner is down and no fight left in him, Maui starts zeroing in on the pipes and shoots for his spot…. Runner by all accounts is down and he is out, he gave everything… 1h20 the opponent tells me he’s picking Runner up soon. He concedes at 1h25, we break Maui from his throat. They pick Runner up from that side laying position. There’s no way Runner is completing a courtesy scratch right,? Think again…

He is propped up in his corner, unable to stand and then released…. He falls to the floor and starts a Jaw dropping scratch that mimics the movement of a worm, his backend flips over his head and he tries to get to his feet and continues catching himself by his mouth to complete the gamest scratch I’ve ever seen (at the time).  Every single person applauded his efforts. He was a warrior!

We get a collar on Maui and he is going insane at the end of his leash to get some more. This was Maui’s toughest opponent and yet he still suffered only minor injuries always displaying fantastic footwork, balance and the ability to know exactly what’s happening around him even in the midst of being under serious attack.

Maui is declared the winner in 1h25, and is now recognized as Ch Maui.

We manged to squeeze 3 shows into only 4 months and 3 weeks… This is testament to the type of dog Maui is, never needing major aftercare.  So now we were looking to start the new year with a bang and we were hooked into a 2xw who has been claiming to be the best at our weight. He then later pulled out.

After pulling out they had the most to say in social media groups, hype masters playing ping-pong for the audience.  The very next day we hooked into a different 2xw. He too pulled out few weeks later, same guy behind the previous 2xw.

We immediately started talking to the owners of Gr Ch 7xW Mason DOY again, we had previously contacted them right after they beat Ch Travis in short order. He was hailed as the best dog in all of Africa after this show. In all honesty they’d been messing us around for months now, things were no different this time and excuse upon excuse was made. Maui was never worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as Mason according to them. Maui’s best weight was 18.5kg but came in closer to 18kg in all three shows, Mason was shown twice at 18.5kg yet they weren’t willing to meet on that weight.

We applied pressure from all angles to make the show happen, they said we needed to come up in weight and we agreed 3 times to 3 different weights only to be disappointed again and again.  Then I offered them to come in 18.9kg and I’ll bring Maui 18.5kg if I come over my forfeit is theirs for the taking, still nothing. Their response was to pretend they wanted the show but with an astronomical amount as match fee.

All this back and forth and suddenly results came out Gr Ch 7xW Mason DOY beat 1xw Duke who was dubbed as a killer, Mason brushed him aside within an hour… People all over the country were furious saying they’re running from Ch Maui. Imagine just breaking the South African record by winning your 8th show and all you have coming your way is “you’re running from Ch Maui”.

We felt dejected and wanted to walk away thinking they’ll never accept our challenge…We knew Mason could never beat Maui at any weight ever, not in their wildest dreams. So few more months went by of “negotiating” mostly them barking orders, telling us what they want and what they’ll do to us.  We then said you want 19kg let’s do it, knowing we’ll come no heavier than 18.6kg the pressure became too much for his camp and they had to accept and so the biggest show in the country was hooked 8 months after initially calling them out.

Ch Maui VS Gr Ch Mason

The show was kept under wraps and social media groups were still going crazy hoping for this show to happen. The country was devided Maui had loyal backers and so too did Mason. Masons camp claiming we’ll see what a Great White shark or was it a dinosaur, or a crocodile will do to Maui infact it was all of the above.  All these adjectives flying around yet they couldn’t believe our confidence, what arrogance you have to call out the Gr Ch 8xw DOY “best” in Africa, see they thought they’d seen it all “been there done that” kinda attitude.  We on the other hand knew something they didn’t, we had something they didn’t and never will… We had Ch Maui!

Keep went well with time seemingly flying by, the day had come and Maui was the epitome of perfection, he was stunning! He was glistening from head to toe.  Tall lean and strong with fire in his eyes, what a sight to behold. We spent the day in bed sleeping and watching videos on YouTube, walking out every few hours and back to snoozing.

Arriving at the venue I’m sat in the car waiting for the signal to come weigh in. Walking Maui to the scales the crowd gathered around and you could sense the tension… Maui in his usual tiptoe manner looks around calmly when one of the opposition members turns to his buddy laughing as if to say “look at this dog, we’re smashing him tonight”  because to them a bulldog should look like a participant at the Mr Olympia competition and not the Bruce Lee type that we prefer.

The crowd is standing around the box waiting for Maui’s arrival, Mason in the one corner as I take up my position and my 2nd hands Maui to me, I’m battling to hold him as he’s fighting to be released. Dogs faced to their corners the ref gives the command “turn and face, release!” before Mason takes a step Maui is right on his head starting as he always does. Maui goes to steering and Mason pushing trying to enforce his game plan and sporadically gets to the shoulder scruff but never longer than a few seconds. He keeps pushing with everything he’s got giving his all and Maui evading those attacks and in control, in charge of everything happening within those four walls.

Masons camp looks like they’ve seen a ghost. Hahahahaha they thought we were joking when we said you’ve never faced anything like this before. Maui now dazzling the onlookers with fancy footwork, balance and power. Every time Masons camp thought they had him pinned in a corner they would pipe up “we will break you” with excitement, Maui would smack those smiles right off their faces with moves Bruce Lee would’ve been proud of. By 40 minutes Mason is down and fighting in short flurries when he would get up Maui slammed him back to the floor and going to work on his shoulders and throat and back up on his head as soon as he tries to get up, this is the way the show was like for long periods… Masons face looked like he was locked in a cage with an angry Tiger, he was being manhandled by the flawless Maui. Seeing their facial expressions as Maui “ate” Masons muzzle/face as a snack was priceless.

Maui showing no strain at all he was in perfect shape. It was clear for everyone to see there will only be one victor and people started asking the inevitable “pickup a good dog” questions. They were met with replies of “this is a yellow/Mayday dog, he’ll keep coming and he’ll make that Ballistic dog quit tonight”,  see there was one problem with that statement this wasn’t just any dog, this was Maui! and if they didn’t know before they damn well knew now.

They were hoping for a miracle and we had no hesitation letting them know Mason never stood a chance against Maui. 2 hours in and Maui on the face dragging Mason around, parading the spoils of war for everyone to see. his body is stretched out and he is spent. Back to the shoulders, Mason doesn’t want anymore of this relentless beating and he relieves his bowels the crowd hollering “he doesn’t want anymore”

I called a turn on Mason earlier on and the ref granted it so I was ready to handle and I eventually managed to handle, Mason to scratch…He looks dejected and hesitant when his handler pushes him… He walks very slow, and I released further punishment on him with Maui straight between the eyes. Maui to scratch and he jumps right between the eyes again.  From the face to the throat and I handle again.

Masons next up… He walks to his left, seemingly looking for a way out, stumbles and comes walking towards us. Halfway and Maui goes back on the face Mason is down with no fight left in him… We’re now in extra time and Maui is sensing the end is near, he has Mason against the walls digging deep and closing the pipes, he looks like a dog chiseled right out of mount Aoraki.

Masons eyes are shut I don’t know if it was from the 2 hour face beating or because he was at deaths door. Maui and I were one the whole night but more so with this final onslaught, he responded with fury putting the final nails into the soon to be ex Gr Champions coffin. Big finish and they concede right on 2h33 minutes. The ref hands us the breaking sticks and I’m battling to get those Jaws off the curled up and badly beaten Mason. He was cut to ribbons! We were beside ourselves, ecstatic would not even describe the feeling. Mason made a slow march courtesy with Maui pulling and fighting to get out of my grasp with the same fire in his eyes as ever.

Maui is declared the winner and is now recognized as Ch 4xw Maui.

Straight into the history books, I genuinely place Maui amongst the best the sport has ever seen anywhere in the world… No matter what style of dog he faced he would impose his style on his opponent. If an opponent was a defensive head dog he would be made to switch to chasing and attacking and if a dog was forward he would blow himself out pushing…in all (2) his schooling’s and all 4 of his shows Maui was never behind, no dog could put him in the rear view. Always ahead always leading the way.  a modern day great, a true ACE.  Sabani nama Ballistic!!!!

Maui was seemingly out of danger, minimal damage but tired… The days following the show he was walking, eating even jumping on the couch to relax. On the third morning Maui wasn’t looking good, he was sick and vomiting within a few hours he was gone… This was as mysterious as it was shocking… It was extremely hard to say goodbye to my son. So as Maui bowed out I am too. I was always going to turn my back on this sport after Maui’s 5th show, too bad we didn’t get the opportunity to showcase our skills one more time. The 18kg to 19kg weight class can breathe easier now that the king is gone.

I feel the sport has too many characters who are willing to do anything to win and that is a dangerous thing. I read stories of old time dogmen talking about this being a gentleman’s sport and having respect for your opponent and his animal etc if it ever was it’s long gone. I met many people through the sport and made many friendships that will last a lifetime but I also met people who if I never see them again it’ll be too soon. What I realized in the 2 years and 8 months Maui and I spent together is this, I was never a “dogman” I was just a man with a dog and what a blessing he was… Sleep well Maui boy!

I want to give thanks to those who stood beside Maui and I.

Special thanks to my brothers E & E thank you for your unwavering belief, the early mornings and late nights, Maui blew out many a hamstring that needed serious attention but the commitment was unshakable.To Bounty, The Abattoir, Full throttle and Big L

Thank you guys for the support you’ve given us.