The Korean Institute for Martial Arts and The Center for Korean Studies of Leiden University present a unique academic approach to Korean Martial Arts Studies in the form of a distance learning course.


Korea’s rich tradition in martial arts studies was in decline during the early 20th century and has never fully recovered. In the meantime, modern Korean martial arts were being exported since the 1950’s and rapidly became popular all over the world. Many of these lack the foundation of consistent theoretical studies. Consequently, each style of modern Korean martial art developed its own take on Korean martial arts history and Korean history as a whole.





This education program aims to pick up the tradition in Korean martial arts studies where it left off by providing academically sound yet accessible material to the people engaged in the practice, thereby facilitating scholarly discourse that is typically absent from the pedagogy of martial arts.



Foundation Year:


The first course offered in this program, the Foundation Year, is an individual course and can be started at a time of the students choosing (it is not bound by the University calendar). The course is designed to be completed within 10 months at an average pace of approximately 4 hours of self-study per week. During this period, students will have access to the distance learning content (DLC) section of the KIMA website containing video reports of lectures, syllabi, articles and a reader.


This course examines the core values of the cultures that developed Korean martial arts and explores the historical, social and cultural aspects. Students will acquire an in-depth knowledge of a range of historical issues pertaining to Korean Martial Arts. In particular, a number of chapters from the Muyedobotongji will be thoroughly examined. The Muyedobotongji, the last Chosŏn Dynasty manual for close combat, was the turning point of Korean martial arts history from pre-modern to modern. Understanding this transition is fundamental for general Korean Martial Studies.





The objective of this education program is to provide practitioners - regardless of the specific Korean martial art style that they practice - a sound theoretical foundation that is compatible with cutting-edge academic research, as a starting point for further exploration.


A long-term objective is to create a community of practitioners of Korean martial arts that is well educated in Korean Martial Arts Studies. Subsequent to the Foundation Year, intermediate and advanced courses will be offered. Students completing all levels will be invited to become a member of the ‘Society for Korean Martial Arts Studies’.



Study Package contents:


- Reader; 'Classical Korean Martial Arts'


- 5 theory syllabi from the course 'An Introduction to the Muyedobotongji' – master class series


- 5 lectures (video registration) from the course ‘An Introduction to the Muyedobotongji’ – master class series


- A Brief History of Korean Martial Arts (students will receive an e-book of this publication after release, expected in Spring 2012) Link



Teaching method


This is a blended learning course. The study package entails e-books, articles and lecture video’s presented in the DLC section of the KIMA website. 
Students are expected to study the material individually and to (optionally) take part in online discussions and/or Q & A.





Dr. Bok Kyu Choi (Ph.D. Seoul National University)
Professor B.C.A. Walraven (Ph.D. Leiden University)
Professor H.S. Song (Ph.D. Keimyung University)
The faculty members will mentor the students and are available for consultation by e-mail.



Course load (approximately)

10 Hours of video lectures
100 Hours of reading
50 Hours of web discussions (obligatory for optional assesment)
These numbers are indications / estimations only, depending on the pace of the individual student.

Admission requirements


Every interested person of age 18 and over is eligible to enroll.


No Practicum

This course is aimed to support practitioners of every Korean Martial Art regardless of the particular style and therefore does not have a practical component.



Assessment and certificate of completion


As there are no admission requirements, this course will not enable students to attain accredited academic degrees. The Korean Martial Arts Studies Foundation Year is accessible free of engagement.


An optional assessment program is available to those who wish to participate at an increased level. Passing grade students will receive accreditation in the form of a certificate. This certificate is required to access the next level, the Korean Martial Arts Studies Intermediate Course which is currently being designed to be presented in spring 2012.


To be assessed, students will be required to submit five web posts (short responses to seminar questions) during the course of the Foundation Year. In addition they will be required to take part in a real-time multiple choice test as well as to write an essay at the end of the course.





For further information about the course, please contact:


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (administration) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (head of the faculty)



Fees and registration


Foundation Year: EUR 190,- / USD 275,-
Optional assessment program EUR 65,- / USD 95,- (incl. certificate of completion)



Enrollment forms (click desired option):


- Normal tuitionfee € 190,- 


- Normal tuitionfee plus Assessment program (€ 190,- + € 65,-) € 255,-


- Reduced fee for current Leaders’ Course student € 65,-


- Reduced fee plus Assessment program (€ 65,- + € 65,-) € 130,-


- Reduced fee for current Muyedobotongji Masterclasses student € 95,-


- Reduced fee plus Assessment program (€ 95,- + € 65,-) € 160,-