Hapkido Books & Videos

Hapkido Books & Videos

It's a frequently asked question to recommend some Hapkido books and training videos/DVDs; and the answer takes a while. The books and videos referred to on this page are all ones I have owned and/or seen at some time or another, and these are my personal opinions on them. Your Milage May Vary. I've provided links to Amazon for my recommendations when the items are available there.

Top 5 Recommended Hapkido books

1) Hapkido: Traditions, Philosophy, & History by Marc Tedeschi

Very comprehensive, very well done, the best book on the market. The only things I could take issue with is that Dr. Kimm's history section is much better; I don't like some of the terminology in describing techniques, and I saw no point in including interviews with non-Hapkido people when top of the line Hapkido pioneers are available. A BIG hardback. A+

2) Hapkido by Dr. He-Young Kimm

Known as the Hapkido Bible, outstanding history section, bigger pictures than in Tedeschi's book, slightly less comprehensive. The most accurate history out there. Similar size, a BIG hardback. Not always available through Amazon, but you can contact Dr. Kimm at HanMuDo.com and get a copy of it directly. A+

3) Hapkido II by Dr. He-Young Kimm

A revised version of the Hapkido Bible, reorganized a little. The first is basically a capture of what DJN Han Jae JI teaches, the second is organized into groups of 12 in the way Dr. Kimm teaches. I like them both and would recommend getting both of them, but most of the contents do overlap between the two.  As with Hapkido, you can try the same links as above for Hapkido I to obtain a copy.  A+

4) Hapkido:Ancient Art of Masters by Kwang Sik Myung

The best of the earlier Hapkido books. Biased history but otherwise excellent. A

5) Hapkido: Advanced Self-Protection Techniques by Kwang Sik Myung

A little smaller but on the same level of quality as Ancient Art of Masters. A


Other Recommended Books:

Tedeschi's The Art of Ground Fighting , The Art of Holding , The Art of Striking , The Art of Throwing , The Art of Weapons: Armed and Unarmed Self-Defense

These are taking sections out of his big Hapkido book with some expanded material to make smaller books at more affordable prices.  Generally available at the big bookstores, I've provided links to Amazon above. Tedeschi has also done an excellent book on Essential Anatomy: For Healing and Martial Arts and a very comprehensive book on Taekwondo that I would also highly recommend. I have all of these in my personal library. A


Hui Son Choi's books Hap Ki Do: The Korean Martian Art of Self Defence: Practical Hap Ki Do Textbook , Hap Ki Do: A Guide to Black Belt Studies , Hapkido:Ki-Bon Gi-Sool

Decent books with some nice organization of concepts.  Shows the same technique done vs different attacks and multiple variants of technique. A-


Recommended books related to Hapkido

Joo Bang Lee's Hwarango books. The techniques are Hapkido. B

Kuk Sool Won black and red textbooks. The techniques are Hapkido. B


NOT recommended unless you're a stickler for completeness like me:

Joon Jee's Hapkido books. Poor quality pictures, early efforts nigh impossible to learn from unless you already know it. C-

Hapkido by Bong Soo Han. Very basic and almost entirely based on kicking. D

Hapkido:The Comprehensive Martial Art by Robert Spear. Very basic, slightly better than Bon Soo Han's. C-

Hapkido by Scott Shaw. Some information that is just wrong, even laughable. F

Hapkido Instructional DVDs & Videos


Geoff Booth's Hapkido Curriculum series - Best I've seen, very clear, very practical, taught conceptually, and no wasted tape. Available via the International Hapkido Alliance A+

Alain Burrese's Lock On series - I've got his Hapkido Hoshinsul - The Explosive Korean Art of Self Defense , which is excellent, and have seen snippits of his 'Lock On' series. Burrese has used the techniques in reality and it shows. A

World Hapkido Federation (Kwang Sik Myung) videos - pretty good. Too many repeats in slo-mo for my taste but solid traditional Hapkido. A-

Panther Productions (Fariborz Azakh) series - leans toward the more flashy techniques, I really dislike the HKD forms tape, but all of them are clear, nice quality, and the cane tapes are especially good. B+

AHA (Wolmershauser) series - cheap quality tapes from the 80's. Hard to see everything that's going on, but excellent HKD shown. B+

IHF (Bong Soo Han) series - I had seen most of this series some years ago but recently picked up the entire set. Lots of wasted tape, showing each technique about 10 times without adding anything.  I don't particularly like the sequencing of what's taught at what levels and they're not comprehensive enough, but overall the series is worth getting and having. The Anniversary DVD demonstrations show that Han's HKD did have some of everything; but either he cut things down for the instructional series or he saved a lot for the black belt levels that he did not put on the tapes. Han's curriculum as shown is kicking heavy but dominated by the standard front, roundhouse, side kicks everyone does; without doing much of the really practical kicks specific to Hapkido. The hand techniques shown are excellent Hapkido, GM Han and his instructors were and are very skilled, but the techniques are usually not explained well. Overall I'd give these tapes a B.

This is Hapkido series (Y.S. Lee) – This is dominated by flashy stuff for demonstrations, but there are some good core techniques too. One point of note is the last 20 minutes of the 3rd DVD has common injuries and healing techniques for them; that part is very well done and very rare to see. B+

NOT Recommended

Black Belt magazine Hapkido series (Joe Sheya) – I really disliked the format, and there is some impractical stuff here.  Basically even when good techniques they are done in a way that will only work with a cooperative partner in the dojang. C-

Pelligrini’s Combat Hapkido series –Pelligrini does show that he has some skills with certain techniques, but it’s nearly all at a surface level; he does not show understanding of the principles of why techniques work.  These are really just scattered techniques, with no logical organization to building skills or to what is in the belt levels.  Most of these tapes are about 40 minutes, with some promotional crap of pictures he’s had taken with known martial arts luminaries taking up some of the time on the tape; yet they claim there’s not enough space to show falls?   And for a style that supposedly has removed non-practical aspects, he still shows some techniques that are NOT practical that can easily be made so.  Definitely not a grandmaster level of skill or teaching.  Not quite an F, not totally worthless but misleading, there is just so much more to Hapkido than what this has.  D-.