The Skills of a Hitman

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The Skills of a Hitman

Lethal Efficiency

Agent 47’s combat prowess is legendary.  Seemingly capable with any weapon you put into his hands, it’s easy to forget that from a young age, Agent 47 was also trained in hand-to-hand combat.  In fact, his hands are just as lethal as any gun, knife, or explosive you may put into them.

Now, it’s said that Agent 47 and his fellow clones are trained in kickboxing in most of his bios and backstory accounts, but it doesn’t get terribly specific.  The members of the criminal cartel that financed the creation of Agent 47, however, has its roots in the French Foreign Legion.  Given this, plus the fact that the asylum that the clone program was housed in was in Romania, I think it’s safe to assume Agent 47 was probably trained in a western style of kickboxing, not an Asian-style art.

For that, I think your best starting point is Savate.

Having its roots in English boxing, French foot-fighting, and Greco-Roman wrestling, Savate is an early “mixed martial art” comprised mostly of kickboxing, with some stand up grappling thrown in here and there (but not much in the way of groundwork.)  It originally referred to an amalgamation of street fighting styles that evolved among gangs of sailors in various French port cities.  Over time, different brands and flavors of Savate merged, eventually becoming the modern combat sport it is today.

Savate is currently on the rise.  Though it’s not experiencing the meteoric popularity of its Thailand cousin, Muay Thai, you can find Savate schools all over the world.  It’s being considered a possible contender for the Olympics in the relatively near future, and is considered to be a relatively complete striking art.

Savate differs from other styles of kickboxing in that it does not feature knee strikes or shin kicks.  Its hand techniques are similar to traditional boxing techniques, with some open hand strikes thrown in as well.  Overall, if you can find a good Savate school, I highly recommend you give it a shot!

For Agent 47’s more weapon-oriented skills, I’d recommend you find a local shooting range.  I would not recommend you walk in and tell them you’re trying to become a hitman, however!  With that said, shooting ranges, while they can seem a bit intimidating upon first visit, are usually extremely welcoming to newcomers, especially if you display a sincere interest to learn.

They’ll often have shooting lessons regularly, where you can learn to handle different types of guns.  Beyond that, it’s, as with all skills, a matter of good practice.  The other cool thing about shooting ranges is that frequently they feature a variety of weapons that you can rent for the day, relatively cheaply, so you don’t have to shell out a big pile of money just to try out one of the weapons you saw in the Hitman games!

The Plainclothes Assassin

When it comes to hiding in plain sight, Ezio has nothing on Agent 47.  A master of disguise, Agent 47 is notorious for infiltrating target locations using a variety of costumes and uniforms to blend in.  Putting on a “costume” is easy enough, sure, but that’s just the beginning!  Here’s some ideas on how to get started on the path to becoming a master of disguise!

Sherlock Holmes’s Handbook on Disguise

This is a fantastic little summary on methods of disguise and the different elements that go into it.  While Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character, the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did a lot of research on the professional methods that Holmes uses in the books.  This is a great overview for the basics of disguise.

Intro to Cosplay Makeup

When you think about it, in a lot of ways Agent 47 is just cosplaying as other people in his world.  While he probably doesn’t carry a makeup kit around with him all the time, knowing the basics of makeup and how to alter your facial appearance can make it much easier to improvise in a pinch.  Being able to alter your face, the part of your body people focus on the most, can help you look older or younger, more tired or more energetic, or even more attractive.  Click the link above for an introduction to all things cosplay makeup!

How to Do Impressions

Just looking the part doesn’t do any good if you don’t sound the part, too.  You can’t always be mute when you’re in disguise, and you need to be able to pass as whoever you’re trying to be, convincingly.  This is where voice impressions come in.  Jim Meskimen is a professional impressionist, and he’s got some great videos on his channel about how to start teaching yourself how to do impressions as well!  Check out the link above to get started.


Beginner Method Acting

In the end, your final goal in disguising yourself is to pass as the target your are imitating.  This is accomplished only though excellent acting.  Method acting is the process of making yourself believe you are the person you are trying to portray, in the situation you’re trying to recreate.  If you can make yourself believe your charade, you can make anyone believe it.

Hacking Real Life

Social engineering is the art of hacking without computers.  Basically, you “hack” people, social situations, or manipulate bureaucracies to accomplish goals that lie outside of standard social norms or laws.  It’s a method of information gathering, or a way of accomplishing a specific goal.  This is even an actual career for a lot of people who do what they call “penetration testing” for companies to discover potential security holes in corporate protocols.

This is a huge field of study, but I found a great introductory guide that covers most of the standard methods and how they are accomplished and practiced:

An  Introduction to Social Engineering

Like all skills, social engineering requires practice, but there’s a lot of ways you can practice it relatively harmlessly.  Phone conversations, interactions at stores or offices, or even everyday social interactions with people you know are a great way to hone your skills.  Give it a shot, it can be a lot of fun!

Finding the Target

In the end, none of these skills are important if Agent 47 can’t identify his target.  Typically he’s given a list of attributes of a specific target, and then has to go from there.  The target is left handed, the target prefers a certain brand of cigars, the target visits the same flower shop every Tuesday, etc.  In order to accomplish this same thing, you need to become a student of minutiae.  You need to focus your observational skills on the details of the people around you.

Try to answer questions about people without talking or interacting with them.  Are they left or right handed?  Are they wearing a wedding ring?  Can you tell if they’re in a hurry or not?  Are they loners, or do they interact with everyone they pass?

You can even turn this into a game with a friend, if you’d like.  Have them go into a store, restaurant, or some other location and identify a person, and give you some attributes to look for.  Then it’s your job to identify this person according to the attributes you’ve been given.  It’s like playing “I Spy” with people!  When you get better at this, you can give each other fewer and more obscure clues.  Have fun with it!


That’s it for The Skills of a Hitman!  Obviously I am in no way condoning you use these skills to harm anyone in any way, we’re all about helping other people here.  However, they can be a lot of fun to practice on their own merit, anyway!

I’ll see you again on Thursday!  Also keep in mind we have a full brace of videos this week over on the YouTube channel as well, continuing with Q&A Tuesday tomorrow!  If you haven’t seen last week’s video yet, there’s still time to ask a question for me to answer in tomorrow’s video!

Live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!

Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace

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3 thoughts on “The Skills of a Hitman

  1. DRKinferno says:

    I’d also like to add Filipino Kali as part of Agent 47’s martial arts. Basically it teaches you how to use absolutely everything as a weapon.

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