What Martial Art Does The Cia Teach

History of CIA Martial Arts

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been training officers in martial arts for decades, but the exact style of martial arts taught has not been officially made public. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the agency began training its officers in Close Quarters Combat (CQC), a form of martial arts developed by William Fairbairn and Eric Sykes. Fairbairn and Sykes served in the Shanghai Municipal Police in China in the 1930s, and they developed their style based on the martial arts taught by the police. The CQC they developed helped officers deal with criminal suspects and rioters, and when the CIA was formed in 1947, it adopted their style as its own. Since then, CIA officers have received training in CQC and other forms of martial arts.

Why Does The CIA Teach Martial Arts?

The reasons why the CIA teaches martial arts are mainly related to self-defense and survival in the field. Agents need to be able to defend themselves in hostile environments and against aggressors who may or may not know martial arts. By being trained in martial arts, agents not only strengthen their bodies but also gain an edge in hand-to-hand combat. Additionally, certain martial arts may give agents an advantage in undercover operations as well as provide a way to escape from a confrontational situation if needed.

The martial arts taught by the CIA also prepare agents for dangerous scenarios and conditions. One example is SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) training, which helps agents remain composed and prepared in potentially dangerous situations. This includes the use of martial arts as well as other offensive and defensive techniques that allow agents to better maintain control of their environment. By teaching its agents martial arts, the CIA is ultimately preparing them to conduct covert operations more safely and effectively.

What Martial Arts Does The CIA Teach?

As stated earlier, the exact martial arts taught by the CIA are not officially known but is believed to involve various styles of self-defense and combat. While CQC developed by Fairbairn and Sykes is likely the core style taught, the agency is believed to supplement and build on that style with other forms of martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. Certain martial arts, such as Judo and Kung Fu, may also be taught depending on the needs of agents.

The martial arts training program of the CIA is considered to be among the best in the world and agents are held to an extremely high standard. Agents must undergo rigorous training to maintain proficiency in all forms of martial arts, and they are regularly tested and evaluated on their combat abilities. Agents that fail to meet their standards or fail to advance in their training are dropped from the program or reassigned to other duties.

About The CIA Training Program

The CIA’s martial arts training program is highly secretive and access is limited to only those who have passed the necessary background checks. CIA recruits go through a rigorous assessment process before training begins and are thoroughly screened to ensure they are up to the task. The CIA also restricts access to its training facilities to ensure agents are able to practice their martial arts skills in highly secure environments.

After completing their basic training, agents are required to attend regular martial arts seminars and courses. These courses are designed to refine agents’ skills and hone their fighting techniques. Agents are also taught strategies to counter various styles of martial arts and must demonstrate proficiency in various techniques and self-defense maneuvers.

Benefits Of CIA Martial Arts Training

While the CIA’s martial arts training program may seem intimidating, it is actually very beneficial for its agents. Agents who go through the training gain confidence, discipline, and physical strength. They are also taught the tactics and strategies necessary to survive in any situation. Additionally, the martial arts training agents receive helps them stay calm and composed during dangerous or stressful situations.

Aside from physical benefits, the martial arts training also provides psychological benefits. Agents learn to control their emotions and remain focused on the task at hand. They learn to remain in the present moment and not allow fear or doubt to dictate their actions. This helps agents make the right decisions during missions and can even help them think more clearly and logically in the face of danger.

CIA Martial Arts in Popular Culture

The CIA’s martial arts training program has been featured in many films and television shows. These shows often depict highly trained agents using their martial arts skills to take down criminals and escape from dangerous situations. The most famous example of this has been the James Bond franchise, which regularly showcases the CIA’s training program. Other films such as John Wick and The Bourne Identity also feature the CIA’s martial arts training program, which has helped to popularize the agency’s training program and make it easier for the public to understand.

In addition to films and television shows, the CIA’s martial arts training program has also made an appearance in various video games. Games such as Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, and Hitman feature various CIA agents and operatives employing their martial arts training in order to complete their missions.


The Central Intelligence Agency has been training agents in various forms of martial arts for decades. The exact martial arts taught are not known, but it is believed to involve CQC, as well as other styles such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. The CIA’s martial arts training program benefits agents by helping them stay in control and focused in potentially dangerous situations. Additionally, the program has become popularized in films, television shows, and video games, which have helped to better explain the program and its benefits to the public.

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Rosemary Harrold is an accomplished writer and researcher who is both passionate and knowledgeable about the world of secret services. She gained an MSc in International Relations in 2017 and has since built on her expertise with numerous publications on intelligence agencies, their practices, and recent developments. Rosemary has been writing about IBM, CIA and FBI activities since then, as well as providing in-depth analysis on intelligence-related topics.

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