Hoplology: the history of arms and armour, their connection and
their transitions, plays the most important part in the annals of
Burton, Sir Richard F. 1884 The Book of the Sword.
London: Chatto and Windus, p. 1.
The IHS exists to study the evolution and development of human
combative behavior. This study encompasses the segment of human
culture concerned with weapons, armor, combative accouterments and
fighting systems, in regard to their technical characteristics and
the ways in which they interact with the economic, political, social
and religious institutions of human societies.
The IHS is an independent, not-for-profit organization. It offers
its services to scholars, universities, museums, collectors, private
and governmental organizations, writers and publishers around the
world. Current activities of the IHS include field research trips
for the collection of hoplological data, the establishment of a
library facility where such data can be made available to researchers
and an ongoing development of the study of hoplology. The data produced
by the IHS is concentrated in the following areas:
The study of environmental factors, materials and production processes
and their relationship to the development of weapons, armor and
study of the structure and organization of combative systems
including the analysis and classification of combative systems,
observation of training patterns and their relationship to real
idealized applications and investigations into the reciprocal
relationship between weapons and combative systems.
study of the psychological and physiological factors inherent
man's combativeness and his development of combative capabilities
including the variables that influence the evolution of combative
systems. This covers the socio-cultural roles and effects of weapons
and combative systems on the individual and collective social
organization. This area of research includes the identification
description of man's belief systems and their corresponding social
institutional import. The analysis of expression of behavior (internal
external) in relation to weapons and combative[s] systems and
of linguistic relationships in the evolution of combative culture
are also included in this area of study.
IHS, the society's journal, HOPLOS, the IHS Newsletter and the International
Hoplological Research Center (IHRC) are under the aegis of the its
Director, the IHS Board of Directors and Officers and the IHS Advisory
Committee, the members of which have international prestige in hoplology,
arms and armor studies, modern military and police studies, and
various related academic disciplines.
Axioms of Hoplology
The foundation of human combative behavior is rooted in our evolution.
To gain a realistic understanding of human combative behavior,
it is necessary to have a basic grasp of its evolutionary background.
The two basic forms of human combative behavior are predatory
and affective. Predatory combative behavior is that combative/aggressive
behavior rooted in our evolution as a hunting mammal. Affective
combative behavior is that aggressive/combative behavior rooted
in our evolution as a group-social animal.
The evolution of human combative behavior and performance is integral
with the use of weapons. That is, behavior and performance is
intrinsically linked to and reflects the use of weapons.
Board of Directors
B. Armstrong Director
Keeley - Staff Hoplologist
Pat Lineberger, Ph.D. - Staff Hoplologist
Karunakaran - Asian Affairs
Mary Spears - Web and Artistic Director
Enforcement Liaison - Dep. Nick Nibler
Richard F. Burton (1821-1890) began to organize hoplology as a body
knowledge with terms, concepts and a methodology uniquely its own.
devoted much of his life to the development of another discipline
which to view the evolutionary growth of social man and his cultural
contrivances - hoplology.
as an organized, academic disciple remained dormant from the
time of Sir Richard until the late 1950's when it reemerged under
guidance of the founder of the International Hoplological Research
Major Donn F Draeger (USMC Ret.) (1922-1982).
after many years in the Pacific Basin, took up permanent residence
in Japan in the mid-1950's and became thoroughly occupied with the
study and practice of Japanese martial and related disciplines.
Draeger gained membership to Japan's oldest cultural organization
for the study and preservation of classical martial arts and ways,
the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai. Draeger founded the International Research
Section (IRS) of the Nihon Kobudo Shinkokai to facilitate non-Japanese
persons gaining access to study and conduct research within the
Japanese martial ethos. By the early 1960's this Section had conducted
an ongoing series of investigations in Japan and produced a sizable
amount of data primarily relevant to Japan. Draeger soon changed
the title to the International Hoplological Research Center, and
modified the activities of the organization to include a more international
scope. Pioneer field workers widened the scope of the organization's
activities and several field expeditions were made into Australia
and the Indonesian Archipelago.
the 1970's, the organization's operations were expanded into the
Greater Malay Archipelago and the broader Pacific Basin. Draeger
spent considerable time at the East-West Center and the University
of Hawaii Manoa, lecturing, developing professional contacts between
the IHRC and scholars in various field, and performing federally
remained director of the IHRC in Tokyo until his death in l982.
Since 1983, the functions of the IHRC (renamed the International
Hoplology Society in 1986 and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization
in Hawaii in 1992) and all of its activities have continued under
Hunter B Armstrong, Director of the IHS, David A Hall, Ph.D., Coordinator
of the Advisory Committee, and the members of the Board of Directors.