book cover of The Art of Holding: Principles and Techniques. By Marc Tedeschi.
One in a series of remarkable books
that provide an in-depth look at the
core concepts and techniques shared by
a broad range of martial arts styles.

This illuminating work outlines the essential principles and techniques that define the art of holding in most martial arts. More than 1300 outstanding photographs introduce over 155 practical techniques encompassing all types of holds: joint-lock holds, chokes, head locks, nerve holds, pressure point attacks, takedowns, ground pins, advanced combination holds and transitions, and defenses against chokes and joint-lock holds. Comprehensive introductory chapters provide an authoritative overview of important technical principles, East Asian energetic concepts, and 69 fundamental skills encompassing stances, footwork, grips, and methods of tumbling and falling. Precise anatomical illustrations and descriptions of 106 common Oriental pressure points, and a visual comparison of different martial arts, make this an invaluable resource for all martial styles.

Expertly written and designed by the author of the 1136‑page Hapkido—widely acclaimed the most comprehensive book ever written on a single martial art—this exceptional work is designed to stand alone, or function as a companion text with the author’s other works on martial techniques and anatomy. Regardless of the style you practice, these books will enrich your training, improve your technique, and deepen your understanding of the unique qualities embodied in your own martial art.

Other Books in the Series
The Art of Holding is part of a remarkable series of books that provide an in‑depth look at the core concepts and techniques shared by a broad range of martial arts. Each of these stand‑alone books is dedicated to a specific technical area, such as strikes, holds, or throws. Other titles include: The Art of Striking, The Art of Throwing, The Art of Ground Fighting, and The Art of Weapons.


The Art of Holding: Principles & Techniques
Author: Marc Tedeschi
Language: English
First Edition, September 2001
Third Printing, 2007
Published by Weatherhill,
an imprint of Shambhala Publications
Softcover Edition, May 2015
Published by Floating World Editions
208 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches
Over 1300 monochrome photos,
60 illustrations, bibliography
Foreign-language editions available
in French, Italian, and Russian
Hardcover: ISBN 978-0834804913
Softcover: ISBN 978-1891640766



Historical Development
Types of Holds
Responsible Use of Force
Comparing Martial Arts


Energetic Concepts
Basic Principles
Tumbling Skills
Pressure Point Targets
Pressure Point Locations
Hold Summary


Basic Stress Motions
Wrist Locks


Basic Concepts
Arm Locks


Shoulder Locks


Finger Locks


Leg Locks


Basic Concepts
Choke Holds
Head Locks


Nerve Holds


Basic Concepts
Table of Combinations


Basic Concepts
Defense Against Full Nelson
Defense Against Chokes


Basic Concepts
Defense Against Joint Locks


Further Reading

“Without a doubt the best works on martial arts today are those written by Marc Tedeschi . . . Marc has put himself in a class by himself as the author of martial arts books, from his knowledge and understanding of the arts to his presentation . . . great reference for anyone who is serious about learning or teaching the martial arts.”
– Professor Willy Cahill,
Two-time Olympic Judo Coach, Jujitsu Grandmaster,
Inductee Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame

4starsExcellent Introduction to
Joint Manipulation Techniques

“An excellent job of explaining fundamental concepts in joint locks and holding techniques, as well as getting into some more advanced combinations and counters . . . The experienced martial artist will appreciate the explanations of the different moves, the use of pressure points to strengthen familiar techniques, and the excellent categorization of the different holds.”
– (USA)

5starsMarvellous Buy!
“This is really a great book. There are many martial arts books and authors, however, few of them manage to show techniques this clearly. This guy knows what he is doing. The book is really well presented with good, clear photos and explanatory text. The chapters include wrist locks, arm locks, finger locks, shoulder locks and leg locks as well as chokes and combinations. The author comes from the art of Hapkido, but everything here is easily accessible to practitioners of any martial style. I was so impressed I ordered the other books in the series.”
– (UK)

“Although the author is primarily writing about Hapkido, he has ensured that this book, and the others in the series (The Art of Throwing, The Art of Ground Fighting, The Art of Striking) are all readable and informative for students of any martial art. The pictures and descriptions are of good quality, there’s sufficient background text to get started, some information on weak points in the human body, a comparison of some simple techniques across various martial arts, and then a compendium of examples from Hapkido. Well worth adding to any martial artist’s library.”
– (England)

5starsOutstanding Book on Subject
“This is one of the best books out there on holds and locks . . . nicely laid out and designed with very clear photographs and clear and concise explanations and text accompanying the photos. The book presents over 150 holds and locks, so the coverage is very complete. So if you just learned all the techniques in this book, you really wouldn’t need to learn anymore. The techniques are organized by area of the body, as is typical, so there are chapters on wrist holds, finger locks, armlocks and holds, neck and headlocks, and leg and ankle locks. Standing holds are included as well as ground holds, so some matwork is included too, which may be of interest to the grappling and BJJ [Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu] enthusiasts out there. In addition to the above, the book also has many useful or even unique features that I haven’t seen in other books on holds and locks, such as:

1. Comparisons of the same holds and locks in the various arts, such as aikido, jiu-jitsu, judo, wrestling, and hapkido, showing the similarities in techniques across the different arts

2. Very thorough and detailed pressure point and nerve charts

3. A presentation of wrist holds by biomechanical action . . .

4. Overview pages at the beginning of each chapter, such as wrist locks, illustrating the final position of the lock, which makes it easy to review the material or go to the lock you’re interested in (since the names of the different holds and locks vary widely in the different disciplines)

5. Tips on holds and chokes, such as how to eliminate ‘play’ in chokes

6. Detailed photo sequences, usually incorporating more photos than in other such books, making it easier to follow the action

7. A chapter specifically on nerve and nerve cavity type holds

8. High quality, glossy paper that is rare on all but the most expensive books these days (you pay more for it, of course)

9. Photographs are black and white with very high contrast, making them easy to see

10. The whole book is just very nicely organized, laid out, and convenient to use . . .”

– (USA)

5starsIncredibly Thorough Volume on
a Specific Subject!

“If you would like a volume which is incredibly specific on the subject of holds and locks, this book is the thing! . . . I am pleased with the quality of the volumes put out by the publisher, Weatherhill. Clear photographs are printed on slick acid-resistant paper, and the boards of these volumes are covered with a laminated paper that will resist picking up sweat (or any other of those wonderful things we get on our books while taking them on the mat or discussing techniques after practice). Tedeschi has gone the extra mile in making ALL of his books as specific as possible. Most of the techniques shown include extra photographs and diagrams of bones, muscles, and pressure points as they apply to the specific technique. For instance, the section on chokes and head locks includes 6 pictures of wrist action along with two diagrams of pressure points on the hands—and the explanation of why you align your wrist in a certain way, and how it is the most effective biomechanical method. Similar photo-diagrams show the difference between Basic Entries and Forced Entries, Eliminating free play in a choke, the importance of body positioning, types of chokes, major targets (again, several pictures naming areas with their pressure point location and proper location name), and attack points—this is before he even begins to show and describe a variety of chokes!”
– (USA)

4starsMust have for all Martial Artists
“Finally after sifting through piles of useless books on martial arts with bad pictures and little to no explanation on the correct way to perform them and the theory behind the technique, I have come across Mr. Tedeschi’s great book. Excellent book with great illustrations and in-depth theory. The techniques described in the book can be applied to any martial art. The book has excellent pictures that are easy to follow and very comprehensive. Unlike other books the author has great explanations on the different movements and the theory behind them. The book isn’t geared to one style of fighting but combines the best techniques from various martial arts. He explains a throw technique common in many martial arts from the point of view of Aikido, Ju-Jitsu and Hapkido; and how they are very similar with only a few subtle differences . . . a must have in any marital arts library.”
– (Canada)

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