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Author Archives: Hunter B. Armstrong

About Hunter B. Armstrong

As Director of the International Hoplology Society (established in 1976 by Donn Draeger), Hunter 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. Starting in karate in the early 1960's, he has been training consistently for the past fifty 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.


Ever forward is a moral axiom for the Exemplar man or woman. It is a principle of action and a charge of behavior. Ever forward is the means by which […]

Defensive vs Protective: A Matter of Mindset

(Reproduced from   The word “mindset” is often bandied about in combative training, though it doesn’t seem to be easily defined nor well applied in practice. We prefer the […]

Intent and Creativity within Patterns

The mindset utilized in following the patterns of techniques extends to aspects other than the movement/behavioral patterns we do in training. “Patterning” can be a very useful attribute until it begins to impinge […]

“Defend” vs “Protect”

In hoplology, attack and defense are definitely considered distinct. Moreover, hoplology separates “defend” and “protect.” While in the common vernacular “defend” and “protect” are often used interchangeably, for hoplological purposes, […]

Speed versus Timing

I have been working on the translation of an old Japanese text on battlefield combat. The writing makes an interesting point that while speed is at the root of combative action, timing is […]

Forward Movement

One of the adversary handgun drills we do is called the “Barricade Flow Drill.” Essentially, it’s a drill for the striker (good guy) to train in moving forward through a […]

Intent, Movement, Timing

We frequently work on combative engagement drills that are particularly designed to work on a couple of specific concepts: To keep the mind on the target rather than the threat; […]

Mindset Again

It is always interesting to see how easily the advantages and the lessons learned from training combative patterns and techniques often go straight out the window when engaging sparring (particularly […]


The key to training is not the amount of people in a session, nor is it the amount of time spent. It is the amount of mindfulness put into the […]


In adversary training, striker (good guy) can defeat virtually any strike from the assaulter (bad guy) not by beating the adversary’s speed, but by understanding his timing (and distancing) and […]

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