IHA How To Hapkido Series with Grandmaster Geoff J. Booth DVD Review

The International Hapkido Alliance How To Hapkido Series with Grandmaster Geoff J. Booth is an excellent resource for anyone studying Hapkido or wanting to learn Hapkido. The set consists of four information and technique filled discs that provides a great foundation to this Korean self-defense art. I have known GM Booth for over a decade, and each time I’ve been on the mat with him I’ve enjoyed the session and learned a lot. He is an excellent instructor, and the way he’s created his organization’s Hapkido syllabus is excellent. He doesn’t just teach a collection of techniques, but rather concepts and techniques that compliment the concept. In this way, you can learn to adapt the concepts into techniques for a wide range of situations.

The production value of this DVD set is excellent. The package, disc covers, menus, and such are all attractive and easy to navigate. The filming was done at various angles and show the instruction very well. The sound is also good, and the concepts and techniques are taught by GM Booth teaching to the camera. (People who read my reviews know that I prefer this rather than those DVDs that illustrate things with a voice over narrating the techniques.)  If you can’t attend a class or seminar by GM Booth, this is the next best thing, him teaching to the camera.

Disc 1 contains chapters titled: Introduction, DVD Overview, White Belt, Orange Belt and Yellow Belt. The Introduction is simple and short, less than one minute, and introduces you to the material taught on the DVDs.  The DVD Overview is just under seven minutes long and explains why the DVDs contain what they do, and how the tests feature other material, such as lock flows, which are not shown on the DVDs. (The reason is GM Booth wants students to develop their own, not just copy flows he illustrates.) This was a good explanation of how the DVDs relate to the testing requirements of this system and organization.

The White Belt section contains stances, strikes, kicks, falling, striking drill, Concept 1 – Evasion, Concept 2 – Circular Releases, and a bonus lesson (equipment – strikes) for this level. It’s almost 34 minutes of instruction.

The Orange Belt section contains strikes, kicks, falling, striking drill, Concept 3 – Arm Bar Over, Concept 4 – Hand Attacks and a bonus lesson (equipment – strikes) for this level. This section of the program is just under 30 minutes long.

The Yellow Belt section contains strikes, kicks, falling, striking drill, Concept 5 – S Lock, Concept 6 – Arm Bar Under and a bonus lesson (equipment – strikes) for this level. The instruction for this segment takes just over 25 minutes.

Disc 2 contains chapters on the green belt, blue belt, and brown belt requirements. The Green Belt section provides instruction on strikes, kicks, falling, striking drill, Concept 7 – V Lock, Concept 8 – Balance Stationary and a bonus lesson (equipment – strikes) for this level. The section is 29 minutes long.

Following along in the same manner, the Blue Belt segment contains strikes, kicks, falling, striking drill, Concept 9 – Chokes, Concept 10 – Arresting and the bonus lesson showing how to use equipment to practice your striking. This chapter is a little over 21 minutes long.

Brown Belt covers strikes, kicks, striking drill, Concept 11 – Balance motion, Concept 12 – Kick Defense (front kicks, turning kicks) and the bonus lesson using equipment to practice strikes. There is a little over 33 minutes of instruction on this level.

Disc 3 contains chapters on Red Belt, Provisional Black Belt and Black Belt Concepts. The Red Belt segment provides instruction on strikes, kicks, Striking drill, Concept 13 – Ground Defense, and the bonus on equipment for the red belt level. The instruction is just over 24 minutes in length.

The Provisional Black Belt segment covers striking drill, Concept 14 – Weapon Defense (knife stab, knife slash, bat inward and downward) and the bonus equipment striking drill for this level. Over 27 minutes of instruction for this section.

The concepts covered in the Black Belt Concepts chapter include:pressure points, take downs, one hand self-defense, leg v leg, reversals, throwing defense, rear grabs, ground locking front, ground locking back, leg locks, falling, and straight punch defense. The instruction in this segment takes a little over 45 minutes.

The fourth and final disc in the set contains chapters on 1st Degree Black Belt, 2nd Degree Black Belt, 3rd Degree Black Belt and some Bonus Concept Variations.

The 1st Degree Black Belt section provides instruction on kicks, Concept 19 – Hook Punch Defense, Principle – ABC, Principle – BMT, and Dan Bong (or short stick). Note: GM Booth is awesome with the specially made Dan Bong that he uses.  It is a bit shorter and thicker than those we used in Korea, with a longer cord. If you can’t learn dan bong from him in person, you can at least learn some here.  This section is just over 44 minutes long. (Half of that is dan bong.)

The 2nd Degree Black Belt section covers kicks, Concept 20 – Destruction Blocks, Concept 21 – Offensive Motion, Principle – TLC, and Cane.  The section is 36 minutes long, with about half of that on the cane. (Having put out a 2 disc set on just the cane myself, I realize this short introduction of cane techniques just scratches the surface of Hapkido Cane, and I know that GM Booth knows much more than he shared here, but these are what he teaches at 2nd Degree Black Belt.)

The 3rd Degree Black Belt chapter contains kicks, Concept 22 – Offensive Series, and Principle – TLC plus. The section is just under 20 minutes long.

The Bonus Concept Variations chapter includes Hand Attacks, Arm Bar Over, V Lock, S Lock, and Arm Bar Under. The instruction of these variations takes about 8.5 minutes.

Throughout the program, GM Booth provides tips, suggestions, and reasons behind the techniques he’s teaching to help make you a better hapkidoin or martial artist. There really is a lot of information packaged into these four discs.

If you study under GM Booth’s organization, this set is a must have reference for additional instruction when you are at home. If you are interested in a unique and well thought out Hapkido curriculum, this DVD provides a great example. If you want to know more about Hapkido concepts and techniques, GM Booth does an excellent job of teaching just that in this series. This is an outstanding set of DVDs on Hapkido by an instructor that I greatly respect. Highly recommended!

Watch a preview of the How To Hapkido Series: