3 Essential Skills Every Man Should Master

Do you ever have doubts about your masculinity?

I’m not afraid to admit, I sometimes do — and it’s usually when I’m in car with a woman and the engine quits.

As we coast to the side of the road, I say to myself, I wish I had a background as an auto mechanic. That would be so useful right now. 

Instead, like most guys, I’ll stop the car, pop the hood, stare at the incomprehensible engine for approximately 30 seconds, and then say,

Looks fine to me.

It’s a helpless feeling.

There’s almost nothing worse as a man as being in a tough situation and being unable to take useful action…when others are depending on you.

Especially if those others are your loved ones, and especially when you have that sinking feeling that with just a little bit of additional knowledge, skill & training, you could have made the situation “no problem.”

Think to the extremes of this situation: a plane crash, being lost in the woods, or dealing with an attacker.

How many of us feel truly secure that we have the knowledge and the training to manage that situation safely?

Life will never be 100% controllable. But speaking for my own life, I never want to be in a situation where I have to stand by helplessly and watch something horrible happen because I was not skilled-up enough to take charge and prevent the worst from happening.

When I realized this, I did something about it. I got martial arts training so I knew I could handle myself in a fight. I submitted to a 10-day survival camp so I would be comfortable surviving in the woods with no modern camping technology.

Here at FierceGentleman we’ve focused on the “soft skills” that are essential to modern gentlemanhood: chivalry, etiquette, confidence, genteel conversation skills, negotiation skillsassertiveness, & conflict resolution, to name but a few.

These are the skills most of us have to rely on to get along (and get ahead) in our highly technical society.

Girls like guys with great skills!Napolean Dynamite

But there’s another layer of skills that are just as necessary.

These are the “hard skills” of tools, weapons, mechanics, outdoor craft, & the human body. Fixing running toilets & broken light switches. Maintaining cars. Pitching a dry camp outside. Lighting a fire in the rain. Knowing how to perform first aid & CPR.

Let’s face it — we’re all mostly digital these days. We spend our days bathed in the glow of our computer screens, our hands growing soft from pecking at keyboards.

If you’re not out in Nature listening to her wisdom, you’re missing something essential to masculinity.

A society where all men are inside plugged into computers all day is a society that has lost its vitality, its edge, its wisdom and its warrior spirit. (Tweet this.)

The outdoors is our original home. We’re all too disconnected from the woods, the mountains, the roaring streams and crackling fires of our boyhood.

We’ve been shut away from the natural world – domesticated, made to serve the money-hungry agenda of an increasingly fast-paced society that pushes us into narrow specializations.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Robert A. Henlein

We’re a new generation of digital craftsmen — good with pixels, maybe even stunningly smart computer engineers, but with our hands, in the analogue world?

Not so much.

You might say that these “hard skills” aren’t necessary anymore, with the world growing increasingly digital. But if we neglect traditional skills, who’s going to build the cabinets to hold our server farms?

Okay, maybe the robots can do it for a while. But then who’s going to operate the shotguns when the robots revolt?

Will Smith?

i robot 3d 02

Look, I’m not trying to shame anyone. None of us pop out of the womb knowing how to use a plumb line. We rely on our fathers or uncles or brothers to teach us.

And when that line of knowledge is broken, we simply lack the knowledge…until someone comes along who can teach us.

So, what are the 3 essential manly skills that every modern man should master?

I submit that they are the following:

  1. Build a fire in nature. If you don’t have fire, you don’t have warmth, ability to cook, sterilize, or basic ability to fend off animals. Bonus points if you can get it lit and keep it lit without matches.
  2. Defend yourself from an attacker. Although the world is getting progressively safer, it’s still a good skill to know how to handle someone who comes swinging at you in a way that gives you a chance to disable, escape or evade. This is an even better skill to be able to teach your loved ones.
  3. First AID / CPR. I can’t imagine the crushing weight on my conscience if I had a chance to save someone via first aid, CPR, or the Heimlich maneuver and someone else suffered serious injury or death due to my lack of skill or ability. Don’t assume that because you’ve seen rescue breathing done in a million movies that you know how to do it.

Luckily, there’s an organization that is now teaching men traditional hard skills, and I couldn’t be happier about having found them.

The organization is Man Skills Academy, run right here in San Francisco by my good friend Bryce Anderson, a former firefighter and EMT turned leader of men.

Ultimately, Man Skills Academy aims to train thousands of men in these essential man skills — and then certify these men to pass that training on to the next generation of boys through programs aimed at underserved at-risk youth. Think Big Brother except for hard skills.

Bryce will tell you he’s not a leader or a guru, but the fact is, he’s stepped up and taken action in an area that sorely needs attention.

In MANSA’s live classes, men can learn traditional skills like knot tying, fire building, basic electrical and mechanical, even how to safely operate firearms. The classes are taught by a variety of experts that Bryce brings in.

MANSA members gradually earn up to 10 certified “Man Cards” for demonstrated mastery with written & practical tests.

Once you’ve earned a “Man Card” in a particular skill — like Tools & Basic Electrical — you can go on to teach other MANSA members that skill.

Here’s what it looks like:

Best of all, you don’t have to be in San Francisco to benefit from this awesome instruction: Bryce just launched an online video version of Man Skills Academy, in which he personally teaches 50+ essential man skills in 30 days.

You can click this link to learn the first 3 skills completely free courtesy of FierceGentleman.com

This video course was a HUGE amount of work – Bryce poured his heart & soul into it – and after going through it myself, I can tell you it’s a great course.

It’s also a great value. Learning & attending each individual Man Skill class in person – MANSA 101, 102, 103 & so forth…folks can spend over $1,000 in tuition. (Still a good deal, if you ask me.)

But learning the core MANSA curriculum with the video course is much, much less than that.

Here are some of the reviews from MANSA graduates so far:

Uberman Challenge 30-day review by Michael Cocchini, M.D.

30 Day Uberman Challenge review by Josh Negrete

And here’s the most exciting part. Bryce happens to have access to a world-class destination resort property — in Molokai, Hawai’i.

This is among the most pristine and unspoiled of the Hawaiian islands:

This 26 private acres is now the ultimate “Graduate School” for MANSA members, Man Camp Hawaii.

Once MANSA members have earned their 10 Man Cards, they will be eligible to attend a Graduate Course at Man Camp Hawii where they will be able to integrate all their existing skills, as well as learning additional skills like surfing, hunting, fishing, plus advanced Search, Evasion, Navigation & combat skills from a former Navy SEAL, “Captain Crunch”. 

This will be world-class instruction in a world-class location, so it will command a four-figure price for a 5-day education-adventure-destination-retreat.

But Bryce is doing something even cooler: as an added bonus for those who enroll in the online Course, the top 5 students from the class will be eligible to win either a 100% scholarship to Man Camp Hawaii, or a $1,000 cash prize.

I could not be more excited to be partnering with MANSA this year — which is why we’re featuring their class alongside our home-baked offerings on our Fierce Training section.

I’m extremely excited for 2015. Here at FierceGentleman, we’ll continue focusing on bringing you the best in “inner game” soft skills, including social skills & performance psychology, so you can continue to build a unbeatable success mindset in 2015.

But we’re ecstatic to have a partner that brings to the table the practical skills, the “inner game” to our “outer game.”


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