‘Tai-chi’ mowing with the scythe

Tom came to see me in Cumbria for a short 1-to-1 session to improve his mowing. After working with his scythe for a season he wanted some advice to continue his learning and develop technique to allow him ‘to keep mowing when I hit 90’. I watched him put his scythe together and checked his set-up then we went over to cut some grass.

Powering the scythe from the shouldersIt was immediately obvious that although he was cutting well with a nice clean wide swath, Tom was doing all the work with his arms and shoulders and was quite bent over while he worked. Although it looks fine, this is harder work than necessary and will give him a bad back and sore muscles.

I demonstrated the ‘tai-chi’ method of mowing which uses the whole body and the momentum from shifting my body weight to carry the scythe through the grass. My arms, shoulders and hands are relaxed, my posture is more upright and I can work with less effort or tension in my body.

After working together to learn the new method I suggested that we make a video of each other mowing so he could watch it later and use it as a reference for improving his technique. The pause in mowing is for a frog I noticed in the sward ahead of me.

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About Steve Tomlin

I am a greenwood worker and scythe tutor. I carve spoons, bowls and other products from locally sourced greenwood. During the summer I teach scything around the UK.
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