JOHN THURSTON is back and eager to discuss Western Martial Arts, especially relating to its history.



Postby f.Channell » Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:57 am

I thought this would be a great stand alone thread. So I started a new one.

The understanding that I have is that Donn Draeger, who wrote some of the best books still to this day about classical Japanese martial arts, termed the phrase. Or at least expanded upon it. Hoplos was a greek god of war I believe.

Three Axioms of Hoplology

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Here's more info.


Draeger also coined the phrase "an ass in tigers clothing" which could be a discussion unto itself.

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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:50 pm

Hi Fred:

The root word seems to be in some usage now.

The Greeks used it, as you know, as their name for the great round shield of the "Hoplite"--ie: Hoplon.

Draeger (and yourself) consistently amaze me with insights.

I hope I can find a way to respond in more depth.

The Hoplite Armies of the Graeco/Hellenistic world certainly were continually morphing.

The heavily armored Spartan Hoplite of the Persian Wars disappeared and the Spartan Hoplite of the Pelopenessian Wars apparently went into the fray with little more that a spolas and Hoplon as protection.

Since the Spartans were, like the Romans, indifferent horsemen, taken with the apparent fact that Greece is not Cavalry friendly to some exent, this divestment of armor was felt necessary to increase mobility..

This divestment did not last into the Successor period, I beleive.

In any case, the Spartan way of life and raisng its army did not appear viable after this war and i am not sure of all the reasons therefor.

Last edited by JOHN THURSTON on Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby RACastanet » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:39 pm

The Marines use Hunter Armstrong quite a bit in their planning and training. He is in fact the 'owner' of the Marine Martial Arts slogan 'One Mind, Any weapon'.

Two summers ago I had the good fortune to spend three days with Hunter "Chip" Armstrong for a special session with the MCMAP trainers. The considerable facilities of Quantico were not avalable for the training that was to take place and the group ended up here in Richmond at one of the ranges I have access to.

Some of the tactical handgn methods he teaches ran counter to what others have taught me. I have melded most of his training into what I do now.

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Postby Norm Abrahamson » Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:30 pm


Don't forget that hops is an important ingredient in the brewing of beer. The consumption of too much beer has led to untold armed and unarmed conflicts over the centuries. Perhaps that is the root of the word.

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Postby f.Channell » Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:37 pm


Beer has led to some of my best sparring matches...... :oops:

But no I don't think Hops has any relation to that greek meaning. The alcohol the ancient warriors in Greece drank for example was probably wine or Mead (fermented honey). Hops use would depend on the climate. The best places to grow hops in the past were Vermont, and now I believe Washington state. Although hops can be grown in your backyard, but not well.


I imagine your handgun training would share some things in common with what Draeger and his contemporaries write about in regards to 360 degree awareness of what everyone is doing. In a roomful of empty hand trainees one does not have to worry about being accidently shot or stabbed like they would in your class or a class in Kenjutsu or Iaido. Relatively safe until the sparring happens. Therefore there's a different awareness developed in a room where serious injury can occur. Such as a handgun training atmosphere.

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