The NHS is broken – part 2. One thing that should change.

Lots of great reactions to my post yesterday about my experiences with the NHS.

I contacted a nurse who works at the BRI, but will remain anonymous, and got them to read it. They were just as nice as all the staff I’ve talked to before, and very sorry about my situation. It was interesting that the thing that really got them about my post was how a patient has to put their life on hold before going in, and the stress and frustration it causes when the operation is cancelled through no fault of their own. I guess when you see 10, 20, 50 people a day you just don’t have time to consider their lives outside of the immediate medical problem.

They did say one thing that was interesting – “we’re always open to ways to doing things differently”. That got me thinking about ways they could do things differently.

Ok, here’s one very simple thing:

How about you pre-warn the patient that their operation *might* be cancelled. Or, even that there’s a high probability that it *will* be cancelled?

That way we can plan better, and we won’t feel as crushed as we do when the rug is once again pulled from under our feet. I naively had no idea it was even a possibility when I rocked up for my first cancelled surgery.

Take a look at this photo – it’s all the info I’ve been sent about my operation.



Here are the headings on the pamphlets: Requirements for admission, Moving to the discharge lounge, Hospital acquired thrombosis, Pressure ulcers – everyone’s business, Your visit to the Pre-operative Department (POD), Keeping patients warm, The management of pain after surgery, Keeping an eye on your alcohol use, You and your anaesthetic.

It’s all about what *you* need to do to make this happen.

Not once, in any of the literature is there a single mention that your operation might be cancelled.

Not once in my surgical consultations was it ever mentioned to me that the operation being cancelled was even a possibility.

Being given hope, only that have it taken away, is a kind of psychological torture, and it needs to be recognised more openly by the NHS.



The NHS is broken, and so am I


Sexy surgical socks

Just before Christmas, I accidentally clashed heads with somebody while doing sports so hard that I broke the orbital bone underneath my right eye. This is called a “blowout fracture”. He effectively headbutted my eye. Yes, it hurt. A lot. And bled from my nose. I didn’t know anything was broken at the time, I just thought I’d had a bad knock. But more worrying was the instant double vision, which seemed to return back to normal(ish) very quickly. Even though it was getting better I still had it, so I phoned 111 the next day. Head injury with double vision? “Stay there, we’re sending a paramedic over”.
They took me to A&E since my symptoms were an indicator of bleeding on the brain, which is obviously a serious business. The doctor gave me an X-Ray, looked in my eyes and said I was fine. Go home. I had a bit of a black eye, but it didn’t look particularly bad. After Christmas I got a call from the hospital saying they were going over the X-Rays and found something they missed. Could I come in for a CT scan straight away? This sounded serious so I did. The CT scan indicated a fracture under the eye. I was referred to the Maxillo Fascial Unit at the Bristol Eye Hospital. After waiting a bit I went for my appointment with a surgeon who started talking about volumes of liquid in a glass and how mine was now a bigger glass, but the only words I was really taking in were “over time your eye will recede into your head”. So there’s nothing you can do?, I managed to blurt out at one point. “Oh yes, there’s surgery to correct it. We’ll put a metal plate in your head”.
Faced with that or my *eye receding into my head* I went with the latter option. I did the pre-op visit the same day and after a few days, I received an appointment at the BRI to have the operation done in a couple of weeks. That seemed a reasonable time to me as it was classed as a non-emergency but “needed doing”.
Here’s what happens when you are admitted. First, you have to rearrange your life around the fact that you have to stay in hospital overnight. So you’ve moved things around at work, cancelled things you were going to do, booked time off and generally written off the week for getting over the general anesthetic and pain. You can’t eat or drink anything 7 hours before the op, which is inconvenient. Then you need to get to hospital at 7.15am. The BRI is right in the centre of Bristol so you get dropped off by a helpful friend (thank you, Jonathan).
So you do all that. From 6.30am onwards you and your little group of today’s patents gather in the waiting room, with a sense of too early morning doom hanging over you all. You’re all going through your own different personal hells as you wait. Then you are called in.
A nurse calls you to a room, does some blood pressure checks and makes sure you haven’t got MRSA or any other major health problems. Once that’s done the anesthetist rolls in. They are full of optimism and joy. They talk you through the anesthetic procedure and how it’s all good to go from their end and there won’t be any problems. Now your spirits are lifted and you’re feeling positive everything is going ahead. Then the surgeon comes in and tells you there’s a 50% chance it won’t happen because there’s no bed for you currently. And since you were last here (yes, this is your *second* attempt at an operation after the first was cancelled because there wasn’t an anesthetist available), “50% of all patients have been sent home without their operation”, so your chances really aren’t good. But wait until the 11 o’clock bed meeting and hopefully one will free up, but it doesn’t usually because you are a lower priority to people having a genuine medical emergency, and your procedure “doesn’t need to be done today”.
But after waiting 2 hours there’s some good news! There’s a bed! After another wait, you see the surgeon again and he looks positively relieved “Good news!”, he says, but there are people due to be operated on before you so it won’t be until after 3.30. That’s ok, I’ve got a book and a comfy seat. I can wait.
To be fair, the constant state of anxiety about whether it will or won’t happen does take your mind off the fact that a surgeon is going to open up your face with a sharp knife and mess around with your eyeball before putting a metal plate underneath it and screwing it in.
You relax and settle down to read. 2 hours later a very nice woman you haven’t seen before turns up and tells you that she’s very sorry but your operation is canceled because they’ve “run out of time”. That’s it. Go home, wait for another appointment in the post. “But this is the second time this has happened!”, you say. “I know, sorry…”, she says. Apparently, the woman due to go before me has only just gone in and hers is a long operation, meaning they won’t be finished before 5.
At this point you say FML and look into private health care, wishing you’d done that a month ago. At least they wiped the arrow they’d drawn on my head off this time before they sent me home, unlike last time.
I’m lucky that my job comes with private health care (BUPA). I’ve never used it. My NHS surgeon was at great pains to say that if I went private then he couldn’t recommend one hospital over another, but I got some options out of him. I eventually wrestled a ‘consultation authorisation number’ out of BUPA’s corporate team (There’s a £100 excess I need to pay, or something) over the phone and contact a private hospital. They gave me a consultation date of the next day at 9.30am in the morning. “We have our own car park, which you can use”. (Words you will never hear in the NHS.)
I still don’t know if my insurance covers me for the op – I have to get a procedure code at the consultation, then phone up and find out if I’m covered for that procedure, or something. I still might not actually be covered. I’ve yet to find out.
I’ve used NHS local doctors and dentists all my life. I hadn’t felt the need to go through the hassle of enacting private health insurance because everything seemed to be going smoothly on the NHS. Until it wasn’t. Twice, now. And with no guarantee it will be any different the third time.
I love the idea of the NHS. I’ve been paying for it all my working life. I tried to use it, but it’s broken. All the doctors and nurses I met were lovely, but if the system is broken how does that help?
If there’s a motto then just don’t get any sort of non-emergency injury in Britain in 2018. Or be rich. I guess that’s the message.
Oh and if you live in Britain, then please vote anything other than Conservative at the next election. That would help, thanks.

The problem with push hands challenges


This is a really interesting article from Practical Method Tai Chi about the passive-aggressive world of Tai Chi push hands challenges in China – I really try to avoid pushing hands with people I don’t know for many of the reasons described here.

I think the best use of push hands is as a teaching tool, where it is invaluable. Used as a method to compare skills it inevitably turns into ‘Wrestling Lite’, and the best wrestler wins.

Check out the article here.

You might also like: Thoughts on Push hands by Mike Sigman


Martial arts in video games: New Batman fight choreography

Things have been getting a bit ‘academic’ lately on the blog, so let’s just have some fun. I just saw this fight choreography for Batman vs Bane in an upcoming computer game called Batman the Enemy Within. Check it out:

It’s interesting for a number of reasons – firstly, it’s really good! People putting this much work into fight sequences for a game surprised me. This isn’t motion capture – the sequence is a “visual reference for animators”. It would be really interesting to see how the final sequence looks when fully animated. You can see some examples of their animated work below:

Secondly, they’re using a woman as the Batman character. Partly I think this is to create a size difference between the two characters. Bane is meant to be bigger, and he can inject venom to “Hulk up” a bit when he needs to.

Finally, the fighting style used looks very jiu jitsu-based, of the “flying armbar” variety. At one stage in the movie franchise Batman moved towards a fighting style that was based more around Filipino arts.

Great work.


Are forms any use for fighting?


The question above is my one-line distillation of the abstract provided by Douglas Farrier for his article called “Captivation, false connection and secret societies in Singapore“, which appears in the journal Martial Arts Studies. You can download the PDF of the article from that link.

The simple question, “are forms any use for fighting?” is one that will plague Chinese Martial Arts until the end of time. In true academic style, this article “adds to the conversation”, plus it’s got some great stories in there of traditional Choy Lee Fut training. In fact, the one time I met D. Farrier he was telling the exact story that is in this article. I asked him at the time what “the face” was. He gave me a serious look and said “I’ll have to show you later”. Our group split in different directions and he didn’t in the end. After reading the article I’m kind of glad about that…

(Don’t be put off that it’s in an academic journal as it’s not written in academic language, and is quite readable 🙂 )


Review: Mythologies of Martial Arts By Paul Bowman


Are you a scholar boxer? Then I’ve got just the book for you.


While origin myths and lineages do feature from time to time in Mythologies of Martial Arts, the “Mythologies” in the title here relates instead to Roland Barthes 1957 book, Mythologies, which starts with an essay on wrestling – not the sportif, Olympic or college style of wrestling, but the entertainment-based, scripted type, which was popular in Paris at the time, and later found its way onto Saturday morning television in the UK throughout the 80s and is still hugely popular in the US. Essentially, Barthes was undertaking a high-brow analysis of low-brow entertainment – taking seriously what was not meant to be taken seriously; comparing the scripted wrestling dramas to the themes found in mythic tales of the Gods or Greek tragedies. That gives you an inkling of what this book is about. Using Barthes ideas on wrestling as a springboard, Bowman goes on to look at how Eastern martial arts are treated in popular culture, and why. It’s a fascinating discourse across a diverse range of subjects, which somehow all follow on from one another, yet all build towards returning to the central premise of the mythologies of today’s martial arts.

Perhaps unusually for an academic, Bowman is not talking from some lofty perch, looking down upon the martial arts, but rather as a lifelong martial arts enthusiast and practitioner he’s down in the trenches doing it with the rest of us, and asking the question, what exactly is happening here?

The chapter headings reveal the eclectic brew on offer:

  1. Wrestling myth
  2. The status of martial arts in the west: From the Kung Fu craze to Master Ken
  3. Cross-cultural desire in the Western Eastern martial arts
  4. The circulation of Qi (in media and culture)
  5. Myths of martial arts history, authority and authenticity
  6. On kicking, Kung Fu and knowing your lineage
  7. Enter the ethnicity
  8. The gender of martial arts studies
  9. Everybody was action film fighting
  10. From weird to wonderful and back again
  11. Martial arts myth today

I’ll be honest, your average martial artists will not have even thought about half of these topics before. I hadn’t. In that sense, this book is mind expanding. Most martial artists just get on with doing it without really thinking about why we’re doing it, or what is actually happening when they do it. As such this book will shine some lights on the unexamined parts of your psyche, your unacknowledged assumptions about martial arts and your own blind spots.

I particularly enjoyed the chapters on the aesthetic appeal of kicking, the similarity of ground fighting to the 1979 Ridley Scott film Alien, and the “delicious aural quality” of the sound of the words “Kung Fu” and “Gong Fu” in English. I also enjoyed the way he tackled his own real life critic in Chapter 5, combining the critic’s furious reactions into his research. (The critic remains nameless, but anybody involved in discussions of Chinese Martial Arts on Internet discussion forums will recognise him instantly). But frankly, a lot of this book is beyond me. When Bowman drifts into quoting Derrida (as he does often) and discussing ideas of deconstructionism I find myself drifting off and wanting to skip pages, but then he’ll talk about how Alien’s Facehugger bears striking similarities to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ground fighting technique, or how Kung Fu technique keeps him awake at night and I’m right back in the room with him, enjoying his unique perspective.

Bowman’s focus is often on Eastern martial arts (or martial artists) that have been transplanted to the West and the cultural ramifications thereof, Bruce Lee being a perfect example. It should also be noted that Bowman is an authority on Bruce Lee, having written several books about him, and Chapter 7 here is dedicated to understanding this key figure to modern martial arts in more detail.

Bowman uses his own experience of training in these Eastern martial arts in the West as his fieldwork, which is fine, but has some downsides. So much of cultural significance seems to be going on with the incredible popularity of Mixed Martial Arts at the moment that it seems like a missed opportunity that it only gets the briefest of mentions here, mainly because it has not featured as heavily in the lived experience of the author as the Eastern arts of Taekwondo, Kung Fu and Tai Chi have.

Having been to an academic conference (only once in my life, so far though) it strikes me that the key to delivering a good academic paper is to present lots of ideas, backed up by evidence, but to never come to any definitive conclusion about any of them. Academics naturally see their work as contributing to a larger conversation. Whereas most of us presented with the task of writing a book, an article, or a blog post would reduce it to a point we were trying to convey, to move towards, to solidify on, academics seem more interested in asking questions, which in turn spark more questions, which in turn keeps the conversation moving and developing. They are worker ants contributing to the overall health of the colony, not brave explorers conquering and claiming new lands and while it would be a disservice to accuse Mythologies of Martial Arts as lacking coherence, or building to good final act, I’m left with the impression that this book, hailing from the world of academia, holds true to the same ideals.


Full Disclaimer: A long time ago (possibly in a galaxy far, far away) I taught the author of this book Tai Chi and Kung Fu, and while I’m not mentioned by name I find my ghost wandering the pages of several chapters, where I am mentioned as the “instructor”, noted for knowing my martial arts lineage by heart, or as the person who introduced him to what he’d been searching for: Chinese Kung Fu, for the first time.


Old Wu style Tai Chi video


A video surfaced recently of an old performance of Wu style Tai Chi from a gentleman called Cheng Wing-Kwong (1903-1967), who was a disciple of the Wu Jian-Quan, the founder of Wu style Tai Chi.

The video is poor quality, but I like the performance – it’s flowing, well coordinated and done at a good pace, which makes it more interesting to watch. As Wu and Yang style continued to evolve along their separate trajectories they started to look more and more different to each other. In this older video, I think you can see that they looked closer to each other “back in the day”.



The Forgotten Style: Moral Art!

This is a guest post written by Justin Ford  of Cup of Kick ( a great martial arts blog you might like to check out.


Close your eyes. Now imagine the best student ever:  They are always on time. They always take notes.

They absolutely LOVE learning. They ask really thought provoking questions that lead to even more learning. They work hard, in class and outside of class.

Just keep thinking about how amazing they are. Are you ready to teach them?

Oh, but…I forgot to mention something. They have a couple of flaws: They are arrogant and egotistical.

They are always bragging and showing off. They never show respect. Heck, are their lips staying closed together when somebody else is teaching or talking? They tell lies and are hard to trust because of it. They really couldn’t care less about anybody other than themselves.

Not so perfect now, are they? In the beginning, they sure sounded like an angel that fell from heaven. If their traits ended there, they would learn lots in life, both academically and martially. I mean, who wants to teach an A-hole? Not many people would, happily. Especially not somebody who is teaching because it is sharing a passion of theirs, not so that they can take tuition money.

Most teachers would agree that rather than new knowledge and skills, lesson number ichi would be about respect and proper conduct. Especially if the skills they would be learning are ones they can potentially use to harm another being.

That’s not to say that it would just be the teacher denying them new knowledge though. A bad student stunts their own growth as well. An arrogant mind learns very little.

Let’s turn our eyeballs to feudal Japan and the code of conduct the warriors of that era kept. Bushido.

HEADS UP: Keep in mind that these tenets were never written down and that you will see a different number of them depending on where you look.

If you look at Nitobe Inazo’s famous book published in 1900, Bushido: The Soul of Japan, you will hear about eight tenets of bushido. If you look into other texts that are older, you might only see seven.

A major part of these principles is that they were naturally absorbed into the Samurai class and always expected of them. Therefore they really didn’t need to be written down to remind them of how they were expected to act.

Regardless of the number, each is an important principle that the Samurai were expected to uphold, so let’s take a look at how they lived.

義 (Gi: Righteousness)

The top half is a radical (building blocks for the character) for ram. That might sound like some bull-sheep but rams in China (where the writing character originated) not only represented justice but also frequently represented respect because of the way they often kneel.

The character for ram can also be combined with the character for “big” to mean beautiful. The bottom half of the character means I/me/my and can be used when talking about ourselves, but can also be separated to mean a hand and a spear or a halberd. In a poetic sense, we can picture finding the path of beauty or respect even amongst conflict or struggle.

Even while fighting or arguing, I don’t sweat, I sparkle.

There is even a mythological unicorn-goat in ancient China called Xiezhi that can always tell who is innocent and who is guilty, kicks criminal bootie and – depending on where you hear the legend – even chomps down on the bad guys. Read that sentence again and just let the words sink in.

No matter where we are or what is happening around us, as martial artists we need to uphold our morality and always do what is righteous. Seek justice in the small acts and large acts we perform in our life.


勇気 (Yu Ki: Courage)

The top half of the first character can mean path and the bottom half can mean power. They come together to characterize bravery, or perhaps the path of strength. Understand, that the character for bravery is only a piece of the character for courage or valor.

Bravery is a characteristic of somebody, an attitude. They are willing to be the hero and do what others may be fearful of. Courage is different.

Courage is when somebody is just as afraid as everybody else but accepts what they need to do anyway, whether for personal reasons or for somebody else’s benefit and health.

Did you ever watch the cartoon from the early 2000’s called Courage the cowardly dog? It was about a purple dog that was absolutely afraid of just about everything around it. But when his owners got in trouble, he acted to save them anyway. That’s the kind of courage we are building up to etymologically. That purple dog kind of courage.

The second character can actually be written a couple different ways. The Japanese version is what I listed above. The traditional Chinese version would be 氣 . The character is composed of the radical for uncooked rice and steam.

Stick with me now. I promise I haven’t gone too crazy.

There is a connection between courage and cooking rice. Pinky promise.  You see, the two radicals for the last character combine to mean a lot of different things: steam, air, gas, and more. It’s pronounced “ki” in Japanese and “qi” or “chi” in Chinese.


The same “mystical” ki us martial artists always make a big deal about. It simply means energy. Not in an “ooooooollld chinese secret!” manner, but rather in a scientific way. The steam rising off of rice. That can be looked upon in a lot of different ways, philosophically and otherwise, but we’ll cover that in a later blog post.

To sum it all up, the two character together can represent the energy to be brave. Being brave while facing down somebody trying to brunoise dice you takes effort. It takes energy. It takes ki.

仁 (Jin: Benevolence)

I love this character! So. Much. If you wanted to describe benevolence, how would you do it? It takes some thinking but it is actually a lot simpler than one might think. There are two parts to this character. The radical on the left which represent man in the general humanity sense. The other radical (the two horizantal lines) means two.

Jin, benevolence, is the connection between two humans beings. It is how we treat the people around us, whether they are a hobo or a Hollywood celebrity. It represents what unites two people living on this planet earth together.

I suppose it should extend to a visiting alien or ghostly spirit as well though…


禮 (Rei: Respect)


Admit it.

You just bowed, didn’t you?

Plenty of martial arts, especially Japanese ones, know rei to mean show respect. Let dive into the meaning a little further though.

The character is composed of two different radicals:


  • Abundance or plentiful
  • Demonstrate or manifest


Together, they are seen to represent a plentiful sacrifice for a ritual or ceremony. An act done in reverence and respect for somebody or something. An act that has importance. I find it worth noting that the modern simplified character (simplified Chinese came to existence around 1950’s) uses the radical for mysterious/small. The small things we do should be treated as a part of a rite with importance. Respect should be shown in every action we demonstrate and word we speak.


誠 (Makoto: Sincerity)

Half of the character is a radical meaning words or speech (it represents a mouth with a tongue sticking out or sounds coming out). The other half means complete or finished.  Together, we get “the complete speech”. Nothing hidden. Nothing left out with ill will.

Every martial artist (as well as decent human) should thoroughly practice integrity in their everyday living. Your students need to be able to trust you. Your classmates should be able to believe you. Your words, actions, and intents should never misalign.

This only becomes more important as the amount of McDojos increase around the world. Remain honest and sincere.

Perhaps most importantly though, you should be able to be honest with yourself.

Don’t pretend your favorite technique is invulnerable. Don’t make up an answer to your student’s question because you don’t know the answer. Admit when you make a mistake. Only then can you begin to really learn and grow.

Learning something new means admitting you didn’t know something before.

There is an unfortunate disease that spreads through any top level athlete or artist: ego. And that ego often leads to a lack of integrity in ourselves.

  • “Oh, I didn’t finish Bassai Dai perfectly because I’m just still tired from yesterday’s workout!”
  • “I could have beaten that guy in sparring but I wanted to go easy on him.”
  • “The other guy won the tournament because of favoritism from the judges!”

Just as we strive to be honest to the people around us, let’s be honest to the person inside us.


名譽 (Meiyo: Honor)

The first character means position or rank/place (in the manner of where you stand among winners. 1st place, 3rd place, etc.) and can be broken down to mean…evening and mouth.

Y’know, it actually kinda makes sense.

I don’t know about you but I’m not getting out of the bed in the middle of the night unless the person calling my name is somebody really important. My dog and my teacher would get very different reactions to calling me and interrupting my beauty sleep.

The second character means praise or reputation. Break it down and you get “the words one carries on their shoulders”.

You can put the two characters together to mean “a position that is praised or carries a reputation” My question is this: Where does your reputation start?

Does your title give you meaning or are you the one giving it worth and weight?

Meditate on this deeply.


忠義 (Chu Gi: Loyalty)

This is another set of characters that can be viewed in a very poetic and beautiful way. The first character has two parts, heart and middle. It means devotion, something your heart is centered on.

The next character means righteousness. Yep. The same character we talked about at the beginning.

Remember? Man-eating justice obsessed unicorn goat? Yeah, we’ll just keep it moving.

Together, they can mean devotion to justice. It is interesting to note that the righteousness character can also mean adopted. We can also view this as staying devoted to the what and who we adopt.


What’s important to remember is that being a good person leads to being a good student and a good martial artist because of it (in addition to many other reasons).

If you teach kids classes, then that is one of the most important lessons you can teach. Heck, it applies to grown adults as well.

Martial arts are about living, not just surviving.

I don’t know about you but I don’t have a guy around the corner trying to punch me or stab me every minute of my waking day. I can’t recall but hopefully not in my sleeping nights either.

The part of your martial arts training that you get to use most is the moral and ethical side. Every day, we have to make decisions about how we act and just like most anything else, we can train to improve.

Ethics along with ability is such a universal idea that it is even prominent in other cultures and arts, not just in the east where respect is an inherent part of the country:

  • Chinese martial arts have a similar code of conduct called Wu De
  • European knights had chivalry
  • The pirates of the 17th and 18th century commonly had Articles of Agreement on how to conduct themselves
  • The Bible lists the Ten Commandments
  • Ancient Rome had the Corpus Juris Civilis Or Body of Civil Law
  • The medical field has the Hippocratic Oath
  • Modern courts in the US go by Common Law


It doesn’t matter what your “power” is, you have a responsibility to not abuse it.

It is a gift. Not just a powerful weapon.


A pilgrimage to Miao Feng Shan (Marvelous Peak Mountain)


Miao Feng Shan Goddess Temple

Here’s a really good article over at Kung Fu Tea on the relationship between martial arts, religion and cultural practices that’s worth your time reading.

It’s about an old film from 1920s by Sidney D. Gamble showing a trip to Miao Feng Shan (Marvelous Peak Mountain), a popular Daoist pilgrimage site.

“Dedicated to the worship of the Goddess Bi Xia Yun Jun (Princess of the Clouds Before Dawn), the temple was located on a hill about 25 miles northwest of Beijing. Most worshippers made the arduous three-day journey in the spring. Pilgrims went either in groups organized by guilds or temple societies, or on their own as individual penitents. Although the primary purpose of the journey was religious, Gamble’s visual record illustrates that these pilgrimages also served a lively social function. Upon his return to America, Gamble edited the footage shot on one of his trips into a short 16mm documentary. We have re-edited his film slightly, retaining his original titles, and adding music.

Here’s the film (15 minutes)

And here’s the short edited highlights, showing the martial arts demonstration:

Once again, it highlights how hard it is for us, living in the present day, to connect what we know as martial arts practices with the way the people in this film understand martial arts practice. The Kung Fu Tea article makes a great point:

It may seem paradoxical, but the most important books out there for anyone attempting to understand the Chinese martial arts usually have very little to say about these fighting systems. The martial arts have many functions, and personal or village defense is certainly one of them. But on a more fundamental level these things are a type of social technology that allow individuals or groups to achieve their aims, more broadly defined. We will never understand how this technology functions if we remove it from its (always moving) cultural context and attempt to fix these techniques under ahistorical glass. As my friend’s teacher reminded me, dinner must come before dessert. Context comes before understanding.

Incidentally, the pilgrimages have been restarted in recent years. Here’s a film of a performance from 2016: