Bushcraft and Tai Chi 1


We’re running a team building day this week with a twist; we’re doing tai chi in the afternoon.  It came about because the group we will be working with wanted to use the woodland after the bushcraft activities to do some yoga.  I told them the woods would be great for this as I do tai chi there and find it really relaxing.  So they asked if we could do a tai chi session with them.  Ho Kyung, my teacher, has kindly agreed to do a couple hours training.  But it got me thinking whether there are any parallels between my 2 favourite pastimes.  I think it could be to do with this: tai chi is likely to have been developed by taoist monks and is certainly influenced by Taoism; within Taoism is the concept of Tzu Jan – the ideal state of human existence that results from living in complete harmony with the forces of nature – does that sound a bit like bushcraft, it certainly does to me.  On top of that tai chi has 4 guiding principles – remaining calm (mind), staying relaxed (body), using precise actions and using one technique for many applications.  Again, useful things to remember in bushcraft.  I think I’ll come back to this again at some point when I’ve thought a bit more about it, but welcome your comments.


About Gary

Lead Instructor at Jack Raven Bushcraft, teaching bushcraft, wilderness and survival skills to groups and individuals.


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One thought on “Bushcraft and Tai Chi

  • garyj Post author

    Ho Kyung, my Tai Chi teacher, came to the camp last weekend to learn some bushcraft. We decided that 45 degrees is the way to go. For example, I hold a fire steel at 45 degrees and the striker at 45 to that. Most tai chi stances are 45 degrees. We did some simple carving using body weight instead of strength, so the arm is straight but not straight, classic tai chi again. Maybe tenuous, but links none the less.

    As an aside, Ho Kyung, also accomplished in choy li fut, picked up my small hunters axe, spun it around a bit and said that it was better balanced than the small forest axe – thoughts welcome.