Prior to becoming owner and Head Instructor of the Academy, I occasionally wrote a column for this newsletter. I titled my column, “Definitely Not the Television”. This was a spin on a Saturday afternoon CBC Radio program called “Definitely Not the Opera”. I used to be an avid CBC listener. As a kid, the voices of Peter Gzowski and the crew from As It Happens coming from my dad’s transistor radio was the norm (not to mention the Blue Jays broadcast from the garage radio on weekend afternoons).
Starting my Kung Fu journey with Sigung Bob Schneider at the age of eleven, I always held him in special regard (I still do) and felt too shy to engage in any lengthy conversation (as I’m sure a lot of us did). As I became a young adult, I mustered up the courage to casually chat a bit more with him and it was usually around our shared interest in the cultural programming of CBC Radio; thought provoking shows like Ideas and often the more abstract and comedic ones like Jonathan Goldstein’s Wiretap.
I always had a disdain for the television; to this day, we’ve never had cable. I feel the screen is designed to suck us in, take our time and sell to us (mostly things we don’t need). Definitely Not the Television was my assertion that Kung Fu was one of the great antidotes to the constant draw of the tube.
Another critical antidote is Mother Nature. She doesn’t need the sales tactics of the media; the reward of deep engagement with her is much more satisfying. That said, I still do appreciate the medium of sound. I like that it doesn’t require us to be inside and immobile. Nowadays, while being physically active, I can choose what enters my consciousness, be it an audiobook, podcast or playlist—along with the beauty nature offers.
Being a highly social creature, I understand how people bond over their shared digestion of shows, movies and video games. This is very possible with solely auditory media too, which can be a curated and fulfilling experience that people in my life can affect through their recommendations. We can connect about our listening experience—like how I was starting to do with Sigung at the turn of the millennium.
Unlike types of media that require us to be inactive while absorbing, I find the opposite effect with audio. After I download a new book, album, or podcast, I am extra eager to practice Kung Fu, or get out on a long ride or hike so that I can soak it in, while taking in my surroundings and getting some exercise. I find it motivational, and the experience leaves my mind and body feeling fully engaged.
If you’re feeling in a bit of a funk, I implore you to turn off your TV and tune in to Mother Nature. To get started, talk to a friend to get inspired with some good content, then get outside and discover what the natural world will offer!