Hoplology: An Introduction

“Looking back on my own experience, I was always strongly interested in a subject (hoplology) which did not exist in my youth, at least to my knowledge. As a result, I found that I always seemed interested in just part of a wide variety of subjects: I was and still am interested in military history, but never saw myself as a military historian; I have a small collection of weapons, and am interested in them, but do not consider myself a collector; from an early age, I have been fascinated by combat sports and various fighting arts, but my interest in combative performance was not confined to them. I found that I had some interest in ethology, and to a lesser extent in psychology and archaeology, but tended to be very selective. In short, I was hard put to define my interests. Meeting Donn Draeger in Tokyo in the latter half of the 1970s and becoming friends with a small group of people of similar age and interests introduced me to the newly re-emerging discipline of hoplology. In particular, I remember a conversation I had with Draeger … while strolling back to our base after visiting a small village in Aceh, North Sumatra. The result of that discussion for me was a sudden crystallization of my direction. I no longer felt I was on the periphery. I had instead, a strong feeling that I had found my intellectual home. I think many of us who have been drawn to the study of hoplology have found themselves in a similar position. Hoplology is, in fact, a subject with an extremely wide appeal, and fits the interests of a large number of people who hitherto have been unable to articulate exactly what it is in which they are interested.”

Liam Keeley, Hop-lite, No. 2 (Summer 1997), pp. 9-10.


For more information on hoplology, please visit the International Hoplology Society.