BUDO-lab’s mission is to establish a permanent research center and offer our students, staff, and faculty excellence in training, learning, and socio-scientific research in the field of Hoplology and Martial Arts Studies. Our research agenda focuses on the study of those traits in human culture that are concerned with combative enhancers and fighting systems (i.e. martial arts), with respect to the ways in which they interact with the individual, the body, and the economic, political, social and religious institutions of human societies.


BUDO-lab conducts scholarly level research on martial arts training and combative behavior (hoplology), and focus on understanding Martial Arts practice. Through BUDO-lab, Chapman University will be amongst the very few universities worldwide to explore such an interdisciplinary research cluster. While Martial Arts Studies is developed as an academic field in other parts of the world, BUDO-lab is the very first center in the United States to specifically focus on examining the role of both combative behavior and martial arts in modern societies.

BUDO-lab explores four aspects of the martial arts and combative behavior:

  • Historical and spiritual/religious milieu.
  • Cultural, linguistic and philosophical connections with disciplinary regimes of the body.
  • Socio-anthropological dimensions and their impact upon groups and individuals.
  • Training in the martial arts and its impact on humanities and creative industries.

  • Members
  • Research projects
  • Grants/funding
  • Student research


    • Alexander Bennett, Japanese Studies at Kansai University (Osaka)
    • David Brown, Sociology at Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK)
    • The President and the Vice-president of the Martial Arts Club.
  • Dr. Molle is currently working on a statistical study to explore the correlations between the practice of martial arts and the reality, and perceptions, of personal safety and risk in the United States. The study is currently in its phase of identifying and reconstructing the two main hidden populations of interest.

    • People with an interest in martial arts and combative sports will be estimated through a series of proxies such as, for example, TV rating of UFC/MMA (mixed martial arts) events and the sales volume of specialized magazines.
    • Actual martial arts practitioners will be estimated through a series of proxies such as, for example, the number of training halls, studios, and a quantification of the supply market sector.

    Dr. Wood has been collecting archival documentation and interviewing older martial artists in Japan with aspirations of one day carrying out a more formal research project that interrogates the place of martial arts and the discourse of “traditional arts” in imperial and post-war Japanese nationalist discourse. He is also interested in how the practice of East Asian martial arts has come to be a global phenomenon that deterritorializes, and subsequently reterritorializes, discourse and performance of cultural identity.  

    Future research projects will cover, but not being limited to, the following areas:

    • Basic concepts, patterns and significance of combative behavior at all levels of social complexity.
    • Factors that affect humans’ combative behavior and development of combative enhancers such as weapons or fighting systems.
    • Martial arts, peacekeeping and therapeutic implications such as in managing PTSD.


    Along with his research activities, BUDO-lab aims to:

    • Work with the Martial Arts Club to offer a wide variety of disciplines to Chapman community including traditional and modern martial arts, and competitive combat sports.
    • Host a yearly series of lectures and training workshop.

    While specific sources of funding will be identified by the group in accordance with any specific research project in agenda, the following are the most natural counterparts:

    • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
    • Japan Foundation
    • NSF and NIH.

    • Research assistantships.
    • Co-authored publications.
    • Travel courses and study abroad opportunities.