What Is A Soft Skill?

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What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  Perry Gamsby on Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:59 am

To get the discussion started, I think soft skills include, but are not limited to:

Attitude
Awareness -Situational, Personal, Geographical etc
Observation and Description skills
First Aid


no doubt there are more but let's start with these. Any comments? Perry
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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  David Turton on Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:08 am

in my system 'soft skills' are anything NON contact you use to try and PREVENT a violent action

power talking, the Fence & Guard, evasion, avoidance etc

if and when the soft skills dont do the job, bring on the hard skills.

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  Perry Gamsby on Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:44 am

I think a lot of schools forget these soft skills and just do hard work outs and lots of sparring. They don't 'set up' the scenario and allow people to possibly talk their way out. I also feel many systems give students only one option, to fight. They also only focus on one threat source, other people. I include getting students to think about other threat sources such as nature (dog bites, snakes, spiders, sharks, bacteria etc) and natural causes (floods, earthquakes, bushfires) with the man made threats being either direct (robbery, assault, bully) or indirect (car accident, plane crash, lost wallet or car breakdown even).

It gets people thinking of other solutions than hitting or running, or hitting then running and it tends to develop a more holistic mindset. Perry
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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  Raymond Page on Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:19 am

In my ignorance,I always thought soft skills were things like Tai Chi,Chi Gung and the like.
Looks like I'm way off the mark. Laughing
Learn something new everyday.
Cheers. Wink

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  jasonr on Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:31 pm

A lot of people don't get into martial arts because they want to learn how to protect themselves (which includes soft skills). A great many, especially young males, get into martial arts because they want to learn to fight. I know I did. It's only later, often when they have dependents and/or they are not as physically capable and/or a lot more mature that these more strategic concepts become more relevant.

It's an interesting question: Should instructors teach what the student wants or what the student needs?

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  Ace Ventura on Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:45 am

Depends what the teacher is teaching. If the teacher is teaching Muay Thai or judo for instance, he is teaching a sport. If he wants to say this is for self protection then he needs to adapt from the norm. Same with many others.

If all martial arts classes were run like this people could make a choice where they go. It all goes wrong when people say they are teaching self defence when they are actually teaching something else!

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  David Turton on Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:05 am

exactly

if someone joins any of my self-defence classes they will get soft skills as well as hard skills

if they join the Modern Stree Combat or hard combat classes, they will learn to 'err'.. well fight

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  stevie b on Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:17 am

So should students really be taught the core soft skills first to avoid trouble untill they are more capable physically or a dual approach from the start?

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  stevie b on Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:23 am

you should always avoid trouble!

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  jasonr on Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:48 am

Soft skills to me is really little more than the application of common sense. I think too many people make more out of it than there is to it. If you don't want to find trouble, don't hang out where trouble usually lives. If you have to go there, remain alert and try to avoid obviously hostile people. If someone starts with you, don't be a smart-arse. Show them you are not a threat to them and try and leave. If you can't leave easily, run or fight as an absolute last resort. Humans have been doing that since the dawn of time. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here any more. My grandmother (third degree blackbelt in cooking) could tell you that. It's gotten her to 86 years of age.

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  tonyk on Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:10 am

jasonr wrote:Soft skills to me is really little more than the application of common sense. I think too many people make more out of it than there is to it.

I think you are right.The majority of the population seem to get through life without getting into fights despite not attending "specialist" courses that "train" them to act normaly.


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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  Nick Hughes on Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:11 am

I'd have to submit not necessarily so, with regards to no need to teach soft skills.

First point is what about all the victims we see every day? A bunch of people who clearly didn't see it coming.

Second point. For people who grow up in rougher areas it's probably a moot point because they develop a sense of street smarts early on...through sheer necessity. People who don't grow up in areas like that tend to be clueless when it comes to spotting pre-fight indicators and even having a basic knowledge of how criminals operate.

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  stevie b on Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:25 am

I used to work with alot of guys from the rougher areas of Glasgow and to a man their mind set was different from the area im from. They werent what you would call hard men though they certainly werent shy! They wouldnt dream of phoning the police and would take a kicking or worse as a everyday thing as in no big deal.

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  David Turton on Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:01 am

I agree with Nick.. soft skills HAVE to be taught and 'common sense' should be labelled UN common sense.. because without some form of activation common sense is as rare as rocking horse shit

when I lecture/teach at the many various venues I do, it amazing how many people actually comment that they "Didnt realise/know that"....

teh sooner your training can spot potential danger the better you can deal with it.

to say "it's just common sense", does soft skills training a large injustice.. its more than that, or at least it should be

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  jasonr on Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:53 am

Nick and Dave,

You both make interesting points and obviously have a lot of experience working in and teaching in the field. However, I ask you this. Every day millions of people do not get mugged, bashed, raped etc.

Why is that?

Is it because they are trained in soft skills? No, I think it's because most people go about their lives with an innate sense of how to avoid danger.

You could argue that these millions were never genuinely at any risk. Maybe.But like animals in the jungle, I think almost everyone knows how to sense and avoid danger.

That's not to say that training can't sharpen that skill, but I think it's also wrong to suggest that people enter such training as a blank slate.

Millions of people apply those skills probably subconsciously every day of their lives.

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  Peter on Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:31 am

I think you are correct in a lot of cases jason but there are plenty of people who just blindly bimble along thinking it won't happen to them, and those who think it is their right to go when and where they please without thought of what might happen and they could certainly use a bit of training in soft skills. The down side is we will rarely see either of the two types I mention above seeking self-protection advice and training until after something has happened to them.

Another point is that it is a rare person indeed who's natural skills cannot be improved upon by a bit of training.
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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  jasonr on Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:58 am

Hey, Peter.

The funny thing is that I sometimes wish I was that other, blithley unaware person. I think I would have had a lot more fun!

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  Peter on Sat Jan 29, 2011 5:07 am

Yeah, good point Smile
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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  Perry Gamsby on Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:43 am

jasonr wrote:Nick and Dave,

You both make interesting points and obviously have a lot of experience working in and teaching in the field. However, I ask you this. Every day millions of people do not get mugged, bashed, raped etc.

Why is that?

Is it because they are trained in soft skills? No, I think it's because most people go about their lives with an innate sense of how to avoid danger.

You could argue that these millions were never genuinely at any risk. Maybe.But like animals in the jungle, I think almost everyone knows how to sense and avoid danger.

That's not to say that training can't sharpen that skill, but I think it's also wrong to suggest that people enter such training as a blank slate.

Millions of people apply those skills probably subconsciously every day of their lives.
Perhaps its more a case of the baddies not getting around to them yet. There are far more good people than thugs so the odds are millions won't see any strife. In Australia the average data from the Aust Bureau of Statistics is that 84% of all males 15-65 and 94% of all females, same age group, won't experience violence in any 12 month period. Of the people that do, the majority are males 15-25 (no surprise there) and females in the same bracket but not as many of them, of course.

Common sense is not that common, or else as Nick and Dave have both mentioned, there would be fewer victims. Luck plays a part, as does the space time continuum (wrong place, wrong time). That idea of teaching just the soft skills is one I apply to a fair degree with many of the products I offer. There are more soft cocks than hard men in the world, after all. Laughing I do stress that sometimes youneed to back it up but here is where the commercial side comes into play.

A lot of people don't wish to spend money learning the hard skills. Too many also don't think they should have to as they don't look for trouble (but forget trouble might be looking for them). Trying to get the message across to these gentle souls that there is little point hitting someone softly then telling them off is a challenge on too regular a basis. as mentioned, dealing with those from tougher areas often is the opposite hard graft in trying to show there can be options other than a head butt and knee in the knackers. cheers Perry
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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  David Turton on Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:24 am

jasonr

I accept your points, but in fact its only NUMBERS that save most people... in nature (just as an example) a herd of 1000 wilderbeasts will get stalked and attacked by a few lions and only ONE will die that day.... the other 999 are just lucky through numbers

first there is the CHOICE of the actual attackers AND the victims ...
take a well know 'rough' pub... why do people still drink there if they are in a greater danger of assault than in a more 'peaceful' pub? their choice.

would a 'mugger' attack in the busiest time on a saturday am in a crowded high street over the chance of a more successful mugging later at night when their is only ONE person at the ATM etc

NO .. genetically the 'survival' instincts of humans are based around NUMBERS, and finding others who might help

we have alarms, we shout HELP (or similar) we run to a place of potential safety, we go out with friends/family etyc rather than alone, but we are woefully unprepared of how to deal with 'level 2' confontation, that is a face off aggressive (verbally) situation etc

NO we are NOT prepared by genetics to deal correctly with aggression, most peopleg get it wrong by relying on their instints

call em a saddo, but I interview people, study CCTVetc to watch and understand people's reactions when faced with bot 'face off' aggression ( the PRE- violenve stage) and see very few indeed getting it right.

when people ask me ( and they do on a regular basis) which 'defence' I am most proud of over the 50 plus years, its the one where I used SOFT skills rather than HARD ones to neutralise the potential 'fight' .... too long a story to write here, and no one would be bloody interested anyway Ha Ha

anything we do physically or 'mentally' is IMPROVED by practice ... take up golf for example .. we all know that you hit a small white ball towards a hold several hundred yards away.... but no one cvznt improve with practice.
take up a 'mind' game, chess for example.. once we have learned the moves and understand the idea behind the game then ONLY practice can make you better at it.

if you are a self-defence/self-protection practitioner and you DONT include proper study and practice of the Soft Skills, you are missing a VITAL ingredient to your skill base


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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  jasonr on Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:33 am

Hi Dave.

I would agree with you on that. I believe people have an innate sense to forsee and avoid trouble. I agree, also that once trouble finds people, they are generally inadequately equipped. Suddenly the world becomes very small.

I would be interested to know if you believe that you can really improve your ability to deal with naked aggression without seeing it and dealing with it for real on a relatively regular basis.

Jason.

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  David Turton on Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:21 am

hi mate

all I can say to 'back' up that idea is that over many years 100's of my students have told me that they have indeed improved their pre-combat skills and used them effectively

its a very deep subject and takes hours and hours to understand, assimilate and use well

many thanks for your input in this debate.. appreciated

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  RichardZ on Tue May 01, 2012 7:45 pm

Interesting term "Soft Skills". Back in the day we simply call it "Mentality". When we trained, we trained the "Physical" and then the "Mental"(ity)

The term "soft", from my parts of the world, implies "weak"

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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  BN on Mon May 14, 2012 12:04 pm

"Soft"obviously can mean "weak," but ,as you know, words can have a different meanings depending uopn the context in which they are used.

In the self protection context, "soft" is (in my opinion) quite a powerful word. As it implies neutralising a theat without the clumsyness and risk of physical force.
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Re: What Is A Soft Skill?

Post  RichardZ on Mon May 14, 2012 8:01 pm

BN wrote:"
In the self protection context, "soft" is (in my opinion) quite a powerful word. As it implies neutralising a theat without the clumsyness and risk of physical force.

Meh. That would be another word "efficient"

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