What is Bushcraft?
Bushcraft is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as, “Skill at living in the bush.”
Ray Mears of Woodlore, UK describes is as, “…the art of the possible”
…however it can also mean much more than this, and is also many different things to many people, but to us at Sun and Stars Bushcraft it can be reduced to…
“Exploring the natural world using as little equipment as possible”
Using compasses, knots and lashings, axemanship and so forth are all a part of bushcraft, but these are mere tools that allow us to practice the art. In a practical sense, if you can use these tools to create a shelter you need not carry an expensive tent. If you can source and clean your own water you will never be thirsty. If you can find north without a compass, you will never get lost. These tools and skills MEAN something more than simply ‘what they do’ – an axe is not just for splitting firewood, it is for building shelter and keeping you warm.
If you can utilise these skills and tools to their greatest effect, then you are learning to rely on yourself, your skills, knowledge and resourcefulness. You gain the confidence and assurance that you can handle what life throws at you. In this way, Bushcraft can provide the basis for a self-confident, knowledgeable, respectful and resourceful individual that will apply the same mindset to their urban life as they do their bush life.
A wonderful result of this knowledge and understanding is a heightened awareness of the world around us, of ecosystems and biodiversity of the connection of all living things, and with that, a care for the world that is paramount to our future survival.
Is Bushcraft also ‘Survival’? Some elements of Bushcraft are considered survival, such as lighting fires without matches or shelter building, but survival is often focused on the individual battling against nature to survive. Bushcraft tries to assimilate with nature, to co-exist and harmonise; to take only what one must and leave only footprints. In this way a respect and understanding is built and one feels at home in the wild, not in fear of it.
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