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Hapkido Books and References

Here is a listing of some hapkido books that are either make good references, or are decent books to have for your hapkido library.

Reference Works:

Unlike many other martial arts, there just aren't many hapkido books out there---and of them all, only three (in my opinion) are really any good as useful overall reference works. While various others are decent books that have interesting ideas or good information, most are MUCH smaller and simply don't come close to covering much of the hapkido curriculum.

These three books do.

Hapkido : Traditions, Philosophy, Technique, by Marc Tedeschi
This book is one extremely large very nearly complete reference on all aspects of Hapkido. (I say "very nearly" not as a criticism, but in astonishment, simply because this book covers almost all of a HUGE curriculum.) In addition to a HUGE technique reference section, it contains a number of interesting interviews, cool historical pictures, and a number of well-written chapters on many aspects of Hapkido not normally written about.

Interestingly enough, I would say that out of the three good references books, this one is the most comprehensive in terms of techniques. Also, the verbal descriptions are the best. Now, one of the ways this book managed to cram in so many techniques are that most are not shown in a sequence of 4-5 pictures each--in general, there is a setup photo, and a finish photo. Thus, while this book is the best reference library for techniques, it isn't necessarily the best teaching aid. The book by Dr. Kimm is perhaps the best at that. However, since you shouldn't be attempting to learn from a book anyway, that doesn't matter very much---what it does is start from techniques you should already know, and then gives variations on them---and from the ending photos and your own knowledge of the basic technique, you can figure out the variations on your own. I will note that this book really isn't for beginners. Of course, none of the three good references are. However, if you are a serious Hapkido practitioner, you should have one of the three---or better yet, all of them. This one ranks right up there with the other two.

One of the few downsides to this text is the fact that with so many pictures per page, each picture tends to be small. While the pictures are clear and well-done, often you feel like you should be using a magnifying class to catch details. However, this is still an excellent reference work.

Best yet---this one is current, new, and in print, and you can get it easily. Also, Amazon has it for an excellent price.

Hapkido Bible, by Dr. He-Young Kimm
Also by him is the sequel and updated version, Hapkido II. Every person who is serious about learning Hapkido should have Dr. Kimm's books.

Unfortunately, these books can be difficult to find. While I managed to get a copy myself, the supply store I got it from said it was the last they had----and that they had NO copies of Hapkido II left. Since then, however, I believe they have gotten some more in. You can also attempt to get them through the author's association at the following address:

The Han Do Group
4816 Jamestown Av.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
225-924-2837 (Voice)
225-924-4054 (Fax)

If you find a copy----BUY IT. If you practice Hapkido, you should have this book. I was lucky enough to buy several of Dr. Kimm's books, and have them autographed by him.

Korean Hapkido: Ancient Art of Masters, by Kwang Sik Myung.
Another hard to find book, this one, is slightly smaller than the above one, but is also excellent. I'll also note that opinions vary on which is better between Kimm's and Myung's book---current vote is about even.


Other Hapkido Books:

Hapkido Weapons: Vol. 1, The Knife, by Kwang Sik Myung

Hapkido Weapons: Vol. 2, The Cane, by Kwang Sik Myung

Hapkido Weapons: Vol. 3, The Forms, by Kwang Sik Myung

Hapkido Special Protection Techniques, by Kwang Sik Myung

The above four books are by the same author as the second good reference book. Very traditional Hapkido (the forms notwithstanding) and good references. The last one can be gotten from Myung's organization, listed above. (Actually, any of the above ones can be gotten there.)

Hapkido : An Introduction to the Art of Self-Defense, by Marc Tedeschi
This book has information taken directly from Tedeschi's large book above. Much smaller (and more affordable) it contains some good basic information on Hapkido techniques, history, and concepts. Out of the smaller books on general hapkido, this is probably the best one to get.

The Art of Holding: Principles & Techniques, by Marc Tedeschi

The Art of Throwing: Principles & Techniques, by Marc Tedeschi

The Art of Striking: Principles & Techniques, by Marc Tedeschi

The Art of Ground Fighting: Principles & Techniques, by Marc Tedeschi

The Art of Weapons: Armed and Unarmed Self-Defense, by Marc Tedeschi

These five books are part of a new series where each book is dedicated to a specific technical area, such as strikes, holds, or throws. I have all of them, and am fairly impressed with them. They have similar information to Tedeschi's reference work Hapkido above, however they go more in depth to the various technical areas, and don't necessarily stay with a Hapkido focus, though there is obviously a strong technical bias. Worth getting.

Hapkido: The Korean Art of Self-Defense, by Scott Shaw

Hapkido: The Integrated Fighting Art, by Robert Spear

Hapkido: Korean Art of Self-Defense, by Bong Soo Han

Hapkido: The Korean Art of Self-Defense, by Jae M. Lee and David H. Wayt

The above four books are somewhat similar in content type, containing some history, some basics, and some technique and self-defense reference help. While not on the same level as the reference works above, they are mostly decent books to get, and are MUCH easier to find, other than the last one, which is much older than the others. Many students tend to pick these up---particularly if they are like me, and want to collect every book out there on a subject, whether they are good or not. :) Shaw's has perhaps the clearest layout and the best (and most truthful) version of Hapkido history, but it is also the shortest. I would probably recommend his first, then Bong Soo Han's, then Lee and Wayt's, and lastly Spear's book. And I probably wouldn't really recommend Spear's.

Hapkido: First Degree Black Belt Course, by Lee Chong

Black Belt Course Techniques Book, by Chong Min Lee

I have the first of the above two books, and I'm waiting on the delivery of the second one. I'll let you know what I think after I have both of them. (I'm thinking that they are supposed to be a set, since the first book by itself is more a syllabus with a couple of pictures, as opposed to a good hapkido reference book.) I'll note that the "Lee Chong" of the first book IS the "Chong Min Lee" of the second one.

HAPKIDO: The Korean Martial Art of Self-Defense (Ki - Bon - Gi - Sool), by Hui Son Choe

Practical Hapkido Textbook, by Hui Son Choe

The above two are pretty good, for mid-range reasonable priced books. The first one is a good basic primer of variations and basic usage of the standard locks of hapkido, with applications from a number of situations. The second one is more in depth with regards to differing techniques, and situations, and is a larger book. Both are decent, and probably more worth getting than the books by Shaw, Spear, etc, above.

Hap Ki Do: A Guide to Black Belt Studies, by Hui Son Choe

I'm not sure who did the editing on this one, but they need new glasses. While the concepts in this book were interesting, wading through the many typing, phrasing, and grammatical errors was a chore. That said, there is some good stuff in it. If you are compiling a library, get this one. If just buying one or two Hapkido texts, don't bother.

Dochang Journal: Level One, by Bruce Sims

Dochang Journal: Level Two, by Bruce Sims

Dochang Journal: Level Three, by Bruce Sims

Dochang Journal: Level Four, by Bruce Sims

These are all spiral-bound Hapkido books. Level One contains basic principals of striking, kicking, blocking, falling, joint locks and throws from a static posture, and Level Two has techniques building on the basics from Level One used in dynamic ways, by entering and exiting the opponent's centerline. Level Three uses the ideas from Level Two and shifts the emphasis to the use of circular force. Level 4 steps it up a notch, and adds other techniques such as chokes, locks, and pins.

Lot of interesting writing about a number of aspects other than techniques (breathing, nutrition, philosophy). The breakdown of techniques are useful as reference works. I'll note that as usual, unless you already know the technique, these books aren't much help, but they can be good references to use as a refresher occasionally. Written for the curriculum specific to Midwest Hapkido, would still be useful for the general Hapkidoist. I will note for some of the more complicated techniques, the pictures are not really that useful if you've never seen the technique before. Many of the examples have the "in-between" shot of the action missing---they have the setup, and the finish, but not the important "in process" part. Even so, the books are not bad.

Combat Hapkido: Introduction to the Science of Self Defense by Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, of the International Combat Hapkido Federation, has finished writing a new hapkido book, and has had it accepted by a publisher. I have a copy, but I haven't had a chance to take a good look at it yet. When I do, I'll write more. I will say that I know Mike, and expect to find some good material here..

Related Arts and Books of Interest:

The Ancient Martial Arts of Hwarang Do, Vol 1, by Joo Bang Lee

The Ancient Martial Art of Hwarang Do, Vol 2, by Joo Bang Lee

The Ancient Martial Art of Hwarang Do, Vol 3, by Joo Bang Lee

Kuk Sool Won Textbook, by In Hyuk Suh

Hyel Do : Vital Points for Self-Defense , by James Benko

Kwan Jyel Sul : Joint Locks, Holds and Throws for Self Defense, by James Benko

Hope you find some useful works in the above!

If not, you can use the below search box for attempt to find specific titles not listed above----good luck! (And if you find any other Hapkido books that look interesting, please let me know.)