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No, not the water, that's Pellegrino.

From my time on some of the other Hapkido forums, I have observed that many Hapkidoists really despise master John Pellegrini, calling him a fake and a fraud, and criticizing his Combat Hapkido style as being incomplete or "not real Hapkido".

I don't mean to open up a can of worms on this website, but I just watched two of Pellegrini's Combat Hapkido demo videos on Youtube, and his stuff looks like good, solid Hapkido.

The embed links are disabled for these videos, but here's the link to the first one:

I admit that Pellegrini does not have that super-fluid, devil-spirit-in-motion dynamism of some of the Korean Grandmasters. But consider that Pellegrini is an old man in these demos, and he's tall, which makes him seem ungainly.

He is clearly skilled. His Hapkido looks good, and his moves are sharp. So what if he dispensed with high kicks and chose to focus on hand strikes, joint locks and low kicks? Frankly, that would work very well for someone like me with bad knees. I'd sign right up.

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This topic has been gone over in great and painful detail on other sites. One primary being Hapkidoforum. I know that many people have issues with him going from 1st Dan to Grandmaster of his own system in less than 10 years. I myself have met the guy and he is very nice and polite. He is also very intelligent when it comes to his business. That is another thing many do not like is that CHKD is his business. So many people out there think that we should be teaching for free or next to nothing. Somewhere along the way they got the idea that martial artists are not supposed to make money teaching. They have been watching to much Kung Fu Theatre!
As for GM Pelegrini, I was not overly impressed with his personal basic abilities, but some are great teachers and some are great doers. Very few are great at both. I wish the man all the best of luck and hope that he and his art goes far..
Very balanced response. Thank you.
Oh and Wael, I did a seminar with him. He is not that tall. He is shorter than me. I am 5' 11". You can get an idea of his height by looking at my albums and comparing our sizes. He is actually kind of a smallere man. Not just in height but in overall size.

Another answer for your question is simple. Jealously! He has become almost unthinkabley successful and for some people in the martial arts that is selling out. For others who wish to successful the hold the same against others until they themselves achieve success.
looks good to me.....I wish I could do some of these techniques half as good, all these joint manipulations are what's so difficult about Hapkido, it's extremely technical....
Alright, well I guess we have solved this great and painful debate, lol. He's a decent guy, good businessman, good teacher, maybe a bit too self-promotional, competent Hapkidoist but maybe not great.
You forgot makes more money than others, is better known, has his own system which prob creates jealousy and ultimately his life and abilities are really no ones business if they do not want to train under him or his system.
Lets not forget that he has got more nifty pictures of himself out there than most. Everyone hates the person who is most well known. Its the green eyed monster!

Great answer..

Basically, his basic motion is not very good, and certainly not for "grandmaster" status. Too many steps, incorrect placement of limbs, outright dangerous techniques (gun disarms without removing yourself from the line of fire, for instance). Not impressed at all by what's available online, and not surprised either, knowing that Pellegrini has spent very little time with competent instructors and his lofty rank is all paper.

Nobody really hates him as such, but there sure are a lot of people wishing he didn't use "Hapkido" as a label on his system, because what he does isn't Hapkido. On the other hand his videos can be a source of amusement.

He IS a first-rate businessman, nobody denies that. I don't think that many people begrudge him the financial success either. Most of the instructors I've had dealings with have careers in other fields so they don't need one in the martial arts. Some are even retired.

As for the quality of CHKD classes I'd have to observe the individual class. Most CHKD instructors do the "add-on" thing, i.e. they're often BB in some other art and couldn't figure out decent self-defense techniques from that, which CHKD promises a quick fix for. Others find something in CHKD which their own art doesn't offer, and integrate elements of it - fair enough and good for them. I definetely wouldn't pay the price Pellegrini charges for a seminar, there's too many other offers out there with much better value for money.
I know the History of John, being in Hapkido since 1970 I have seen his people who now hold 5th 6th and 7th dans under his system. Remember he created this form of Hapkido, Instant coffee to say the least. He has made a name for himself and made a lot of money for marketing his system. His Ego is as big as the universe his system poor at best. He started training Hapkido in 1989 Ian Syris gave him his first promotion which ian said was a mistake. I was with him in Korea and he had to ask some people from my group if he could use them because none of his people could take a fall. My yellow belt are better at hapkido than his 3rd Degree black belts are. Learning Martial Art is now about the piece of paper you get it is about knowledge. I trained the Han Pul system of Hapkido and it took 5 years to get to first degree another 3 years to get to second degree, 4 more years to get to third degree, 4 more year to get to 4th degree. After training for 20 years I got my 5th degree. I don't care about all of these other people who collect plaques and pieces of paper. it is about the student you produce. I have over 10 student who own school and do martial art full time and they themselves product top quality student. Martial art has went down hill for the past 20 years. That is why I am Teaching in China and working on bringing college Degree programs to the Martial Arts community. I am currently work with Shandong Sport university in Rizhao City to link up with other College in the US.
My hope is that we can have people teach martial arts in America but they need to go to college to get there degree just like every other profession in the World. In China there is none of the Bullshit like in the rest of the world, you have to go to college to become recognized in martial Arts to teach.
"In China there is none of the Bullshit like in the rest of the world, you have to go to college to become recognized in martial Arts to teach."

Really, I didn't know that. So it's not enough to have a promotion or certification from your instructor or from a martial arts federation?
Does the Chinese government pay for all college students education? According to the Chinese Ministry of Education, there are over 100,000 private educational institutions in China, which means obtaining a degree from a private institution would most likely have to come from private funds or a student loan.

As in any country, not everyone can afford a college education. Therefore, those who cannot pursue a higher education in China due to their economic conditions, would be eliminated from teaching a martial art regardless of their skill level in a Chinese martial art.

This would seem to create a hopeless situation for many economically challenged Chinese martial arts students who would aspire to teach a some point in time. Especially if their opportunity to teach a martial art is tied to obtaining a college degree. To me, that is a very sad situation for those with a dream of teaching. It simple kills the dream and the spirit.

Is a college degree something that one should try to obtain? Yes. However, this does not guarantee success in any professional field including the business of martial arts. There are thousands of people, who through hard work, dedication and passion to their endeavors, and a belief in themselves, who become very successful without a college degree.

I have an uncle who owns a three hundred acre cotton farm, a tire company, a tractor repair shop, and a restaurant. Hell, he never finished high school, but he has a hell of a lot of passion and savvy for what he does, and a lot of grit. There are no college diplomas or plaques hanging from the rear view mirror of his cadillac,

I do not know Mr. Pellegrini. I’ve never met the man. I do not know of his martial arts ability or lack thereof. According to what I am reading here, he is very successful with his business venture. So, are people upset with his Hapkido skills, or more with his success in the business of martial arts. I suspect more of the latter. You see, success breads envy, and envy breads animosity. If his dreams and success were never realized, would there even be this conversation. Besides, who are we to try and kill the dreams of another person. Life itself too often gets in the way of ones dreams, without the help of others.

There is an old saying. “Once I learned to laugh at my own faults, I have been in hysterical laughter ever sense.” Give a try.




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