ICHF Seminar Review

By J. Thomas Howard

On July 10, 1998, I attended an International Combat Hapkido Federation seminar hosted by Michael Rowe of the American Taekwondo & Hapkido Academy. I went for a number of reasons:

  1. I wanted to meet Mike, who is one of the few other hapkido instructors in Nebraska,

  2. Grandmaster John Pellegrini, head of the ICHF, was going to be there leading the seminar, and after reading much about him, I also wanted to meet him,

  3. I had heard much about the ICHF, some good, some bad. I wanted to see for myself what GM Pellegrini meant when he said "Hapkido,"

    and lastly

  4. I think cross-training is a very good thing, up to a point. Many times someone else has a slightly different take on something you already know---and that different angle opens up a number of insights with respect to how you can make your techniques better. Similarly, learning completely new things is not a bad idea. So whether or not the ICHF taught what I considered "Hapkido," I knew there would be things I could learn.

So, I and two of my students went to the seminar. It was held in Omaha, NE, at Creighton University in one of their gyms. It started at 10AM, had a lunch break for an hour at 12:30, and ended around 5PM. Here are my thoughts about it...

Cons | Pros | Impressions | Overall




My impression of the ICHF was of an association that was committed to teaching a viable form of self-defense, that would change over time to suit the needs of the people practicing this form. Now, this does mean that every time GM Pellegrini adds something to the style, his people have another thing to learn---which some people will like. But it ALSO means that the number of qualified instustructors for all parts of the style will be small, since they all can't go back to learn the new stuff every time something new comes out---and even if they could, it wouldn't make them experts automatically.

GM Pellegrini impressed me greatly. His movements were sharp, precise, and very efficient. Moreover, his demonstration skills (as I've said before) are VERY highly developed, so learning from him is very easy. In addition to his physical techniques, I was impressed by his vocabulary. This probably seems strange---but here you have a man who obviously didn't have english as his first language (judging by his accent), and yet, his vocabulary is immense and his use of english is precise. That kind of mind is impressive.


Overall I would consider the seminar as a definite plus. I had a good time, got to practice some new ways of doing techniques that I already knew, and learned more about a different association with a similar philosophy. NOT a waste of time. :)

I found it particularly amusing that GM Pellegrini's latest add-ons were some kung fu-style trapping and BJJ grappling. I started learning kung fu to add to my knowledge of trapping, since I thought Hapkido was a little weak there, and similarly, I plan in the future to add some BJJ, since there are some things Hapkidoists can learn about ground grappling there.

GM Pellegrini is impressive---and fun to watch. The seminar wasn't boring at all, and I'd certainly go to another one when he comes back to this area. To anyone wondering about a Pellegrini seminar in your area---go. It is indeed worthwhile.

This is a picture of myself and GM Pellegrini
after the seminar. You'll note that while
I look tired, GM Pellegrini doesn't seem to be
having any problems whatsoever. He was also
really good-natured about the MANY people
wanting to have pictures taken with him.

Important Links From This Review:

Mike Rowe's American Taekwondo and Hapkido Academy
Grandmaster John Pellegrini's International Combat Hapkido Federation
J. Thomas Howard's Nebraska Hapkido Association

Mail to: J. Thomas Howard

Member of the US Hapkido Association | Member of the USA Tae Kwon-Do Federation