As Director of the International Hoplology Society (established in 1976 by Donn Draeger), Hunter B. Armstrong is professionally engaged in the research and development of hoplology – the study of human combative behavior and performance. In his efforts to gain a broader perspective on hoplology, he has spent considerable time on field research in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India, researching the training and fighting arts of those areas.
Armstrong and his family lived in Japan for ten years spread over a 25 year period. Starting in karate in the early 1960’s, he has been training consistently for the past forty plus years. Now, primarily concentrating on classical Japanese battlefield martial arts, he has also trained in a number of Chinese combative arts.
In addition to Asian weapons and fighting systems, Armstrong has researched and studied classical European weapons and fighting systems and the relationship of biomechanics to the development of weapons use. In particular, he has concentrated on the principles of efficient behavior in combat, especially as expressed in traditional martial cultures.
Since 1996, Armstrong has been involved in developing training programs and seminars for the military and law enforcement. To facilitate that work, he co-founded Exemplar LLC (formerly “Integrated Combative Systems (ICS)”) based specifically on principles extracted from the world’s premier classical close combat systems.
This work has particularly involved him with the United States Marine Corps. He is one of the original subject matter experts (SME) brought on to help develop the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) and continues to work in further developing combatives training for the modern military. In 2007, he was one of the SMEs interviewed in the PBS documentary, The Marines.
Concurrently, Armstrong has been involved in strength & conditioning training and study since the mid-1970’s. In that area, his focus has been on the enhancement of combative performance capabilities through functional training methods. Armstrong has studied movement and traditional training methods in Asia as well as in the United States. Armstrong has developed unique training programs that integrate fitness with body-mind-spirit performance enhancement, as well as programs specifically aimed at combat performance enhancement (to that end, Armstrong completed a training text entitled, Strength and Conditioning for the Combative Athlete). Armstrong has written numerous articles on combative behavior and performance, including work on European non-firearm fighting and weapons, and he has translated several Japanese articles and texts concerning both classical and modern Japanese fighting arts.