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Combat Hapkido
Also known as Chon-Tu Kwan Hapkido, Combat Hapkido
Focus Hybrid
Country of origin United States United States of America
Creator John Pellegrini[1]
Parenthood primarily Hapkido
Olympic sport no
Official website
Combat Hapkido
Hangul 전투관 합기도
Hanja 戰鬪館 合氣道
Revised Romanization Jeon Tu Gwan Hapgido
McCune–Reischauer Chǒn Tu Kwan Hapkido

Combat Hapkido (known in Korean as Chon-Tu Kwan Hapkido) is an eclectic modern Hapkido system founded by John Pellegrini in 1990 the grandmaster of the system who holds a 9th degree black belt.[citation needed] In 1992 Pellegrini formed the International Combat Hapkido Federation (ICHF) as the official governing body of Combat Hapkido. The ICHF was recognized by the Korea Kido Association and the World Kido Federation, collectively known as the Kido Hae, in 1999 as a hapkido style.[2] The style is recognized under the Korean name Chon Tu Kwon Hapkido.

The World Kido Federation is recognized by the Korean Government as an organization that serves as a link between the official Martial Arts governing body of Korea and the rest of the world Martial Arts community.[3] The founder of Combat Hapkido was very clear in his statement that he did not invent a new martial art. He stated "I have merely structured a new Self-Defense system based upon sound scientific principles and modern concepts. For this reason Combat Hapkido is also referred to as the "Science of Self-Defense." Combat Hapkido is a new interpretation and application of a selected body of Hapkido techniques.[4][citation needed] The word "Combat" was added to Combat Hapkido to distinguish this system from Traditional Hapkido styles and to identify its focus as Self-Defense.[5]

The style employs joint locks, pressure points, throws, hand strikes, and low-lying kicks, and trains practitioners to either counter or preemptively strike an imminent attack to defend one's self. In common with many Hapkido styles, it also emphasizes small circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of an opponent through force redirection and varied movement and practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork, distractive striking and body positioning to employ leverage.



Combat Hapkido's focus means it has deleted some traditional Hapkido techniques which may be impractical for modern self-defense scenarios . These include aspects such as acrobatic break falls, jump/spinning kicks, forms, meditation, along with the removal of some weapons such as swords and other weapons which would be impractical and not-typically carried around in today's modern society.

Combat Hapkido's strategy includes adopting features from styles like Jeet Kune Do, Jujutsu, Western Boxing, and Kuntao Silat[6] to enhance its core curriculum. For instance, some Traditional Hapkido practitioners have complained that Traditional Hapkido doesn't provide an extensive ground self-defense curriculum;[7] Combat Hapkido attempts to address this by researching and incorporating grapling techniques from different styles.[8] Another instance is attempt to incorporate derived-versions of Jeet Kune Do trapping and entering techniques to enhance transitions into Combat Hapkido's core Joint Locking and Throwing techniques. The ability to incorporate such features into official curriculum is one of the characteristics that differentiate Combat Hapkido from Traditional Hapkido.

Combat Hapkido's core techniques rely heavily on those Traditional Hapkido techniques that the ICHF determined to have the most practical applications for their goal of modern self-defense. The core curriculum has been organized into 10 basic levels or ranks. Extensive reference materials, including a complete video reference library, are provided to schools and individual students through the ICHF. All training in Combat Hapkido is reinforced with an extensive yearly seminar schedule,[citation needed] with most months containing multiple seminars located throughout the United States. To supplement the core curriculum, the ICHF researches and develops "modules" that are compatible with the core curriculum. Some examples are "stick and knife combatives", "ground survival", "combat throws", "anatomical striking/pressure points", "trapping", "cane", "dan bong", and "weapons disarming". New modules are supported by DVDs, seminars, and local instruction. ICHF students are required to know the core curriculum for promotion and are encouraged to study various optional modules as well. Instructors may require their students to learn some of these additional technique modules as well as the Core Curriculum to advance levels.


Ground Survival

Combat Hapkido's Ground Survival program previously referred to as the Ground Grappling program was developed to create a ground self-defense program where the purpose is to survive encounters on the ground by escaping and evading along with takedown prevention methods. The program's focus on ground self-defense utilizes transitions from ground positions to standing positions avoiding long extended confrontations on the ground, which the curriculum addresses but doesn't encourage. The Ground Survival program blends with Combat Hapkido's core curriculum and adopted aspects of Combat Hapkido's Anatomical Targeting Strategies (Pressure Point) program utilizing small and large joint locking and pressure point techniques. To develop this program, Combat Hapkido Master Instructors experienced in the grappling arts, researched different styles such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Vale Tudo and Combat Sambo, with additional technical assistance from grappling experts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu such as Carlson Gracie Jr.[9]

Anatomical Striking/Pressure Points

The "Anatomical Targeting Strategies" (A.T.S) program was developed to enhance the effectiveness of Combat Hapkido self-defense system's core curriculum of manipulations of an attacker's body by targeting vulnerable areas, weak points, pressure points, or vital points of the body to produce significant pain or other effects.


The Combat Hapkido Trapping program is designed to be reactionary and reflexive. The techniques and drills in this program are based on a specific technical attribute from Jeet Kune Do that blend drills and techniques with Combat Hapkido. Trapping is a way to gain advantage over an opponent by manipulating them to accomplish a finishing technique, such as strikes, joint-locks, and throws.[10]



Combat Hapkido along with some other systems incorporate self-defense techniques using the cane into their training curriculums. The reason the ICHF choose the cane as one of their preferred self-defense weapons of choice was due to its modern real world self-defense applications. A normal walking cane within most state and national jurisdictions is generally recognized as one of the only blunt carrying objects allowed to be carried in public by law.[citation needed] Due to the cane's legal status, ready availability to acquire, general lightweight carry and being a cheap weapon to use, Combat Hapkido developed a "Cane" curriculum in partnership with "Cane Masters," an organization dedicated to the development, and training of self-defense cane techniques. The "Cane" curriculum includes: Offensive Strikes, Joint Locks, Sweeps, and Traps, along with Defenses against Kicks, Punches, Bear Hugs, and Grabs.

Dan Bong

The Dan Bong (Short Stick) is a Self-Defense tool measuring 8 to 12 inches in length and approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. It carries none of the visual shock value that a baseball bat would, and it is not wielded with any kind of "flashy" movements. The Dan Bong's use is in the application and reinforcement of joint lock, pressure point, choking, and striking techniques. Combat Hapkido master instructors specializing in the Dan Bong have developed their version of the use of the Dan Bong for what they feel is need for modern self-defense needs.

Weapons disarming

Combat Hapkido's 'Weapons Disarming Module' is designed to address most modern types of attacks and situations from blunt weapons, handguns, and long firearms. Techniques involve close quarter combat where footwork and bridging the gap are used to gain superior positioning to gain control of the weapon or the weapon's carrying arm, and then to disarm the attacker. Used sometimes in military and police training,[citation needed] the ICHF has been invited by many foreign and domestic police organization along with invitations from the United States Military[11] to train both U.S. and Coalition troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "John Pellegrini: 2004 Instructor of the Year". Black Belt Magazine. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  2. ^ Rowe, Michael. Introduction to Combat Hapkido: The Science of Self-Defense. Dan Il Press. ISBN 0970387407. 
  3. ^ "about: World Kido Federation". World Kido Federation - USA Offices 3557 Valenza Way Pleasanton, CA 94566. 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  4. ^ TKDT (April 4, 1994). "Master Pellegrini's Combat Hapkido". Taekwondo Times (1423 18th St. Bettendorf, IA 52722: Tri-Mount Publications, Inc): pp. 24–29,32–35,88–90. ISSN 0741–028X. 
  5. ^ "about: International Combat Hapkido Federation". DSI - 4960 S. Gilbert Rd. Suite 1-485 Chandler, AZ 85249. 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  6. ^ Floyd Burk (June 2003). "Combat Hapkido: This No-Nonsense Korean Martial Art Will Make You Ready to Neutralize Any Threat!". Black Belt Magazine (24900 Anza Dr, Unite E, Santa Clarita, CA 91355: Black Belt Communication, Inc.): pp. 62–67. ISSN 0277-3066. 
  7. ^ Incorporating Elements from Other Arts - Topic: Traditional Hapkido at
  8. ^ Mark Daley (September 2002 volume 22). "Hapkido Pioneer Grandmaster John Pellegrini". Taekwondo Times (1423 18th St. Bettendorf, IA 52722: Tri-Mount Publications, Inc): pp. 26–33,36–38. ISSN 0741–028X. 
  9. ^ Mark Daley (September 2002 volume 22). "Hapkido Pioneer Grandmaster John Pellegrini". Taekwondo Times (1423 18th St. Bettendorf, IA 52722: Tri-Mount Publications, Inc): pp. 26–33,36–38. ISSN 0741–028X. 
  10. ^ Mark Daley (September 2002 volume 22). "Hapkido Pioneer Grandmaster John Pellegrini". Taekwondo Times (1423 18th St. Bettendorf, IA 52722: Tri-Mount Publications, Inc): pp. 26–33,36–38. ISSN 0741–028X. 
  11. ^ Edward Pollard (January 2009 volume 47 No.1). "Korean art goes Reality-Based". Black Belt Magazine (475 Sansome St., Suite 850 San Francisco, CA 94111: Cruz Bay Publications, Inc): pp. 86–93. ISSN 0277–3066. 

External links

Combat Hapkido is a new, modern style of Hapkido developed by Grandmaster John Pellegrini.
In 1989 Grandmaster Pellegrini began conducting Hapkido seminars around the country gaining a strong following in the Martial Arts community. He called his style "Combat Hapkido" to identify his mission (Self Defense!) and to distinguish his system from other traditional Hapkido styles. Combat Hapkido is an extremely realistic and versatile discipline of self protection that includes an extensive variety of strikes, kicks, joint locks, pressure points, ground survival and disarming techniques. The result is a practical, comprehensive Self Defense system that is enjoyable to learn and truly effective in realistic situations. It is well suited for men and women of all ages and sizes because physical strength and athletic abilities are not essential. In 1992 Grandmaster Pellegrini structured a unique curriculum and founded the International Combat Hapkido Federation as the official Governing Body to issue Certifications to students and instructors worldwide.

Combat Hapkido differs from other Hapkido styles philosophically as well as technically.

Following are a few examples:
Combat Hapkido is 100% Self Defense. There are no forms (Kata/Hyungs).
All Combat Hapkido kicks are directed to the lower part of the body.
Combat Hapkido does not teach "acrobatic" kicks.
Combat Hapkido employs breakfalls and throws in a very limited manner.
Combat Hapkido has no hard blocks or stances.
Combat Hapkido does not teach "Traditional" weapons like joot-do (bamboo sword) or fan. We teach cane, belt and other Self Defense tools.
Combat Hapkido teaches special firearms disarming techniques.
Combat Hapkido contains a complete Ground Grappling program.
Combat Hapkido, because it is flexible, dynamic and eclectic, continues to evolve.
Combat Hapkido is not a sport and cannot be modified nor regulated to be one. There are no competitions, tournaments or championship.

What Combat Hapkido is not:

A new Martial Art
Traditional Hapkido with a different name
A "Free-Style" type of Martial Art
A Martial Sport
An amateurish mix of random techniques from different Martial Arts

What Combat Hapkido is:
A new, modern style of Hapkido.
A totally scientific approach to Self Defense.
A realistic and effective discipline of personal protection.
A dynamic and flexible program of learning and teaching. the science of Self Defense.
The result of over 35 years of Martial Arts study, research, application and synthesis.


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