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About Moshé Feldenkrais PhD (1904-1984)

Studied Anatomy, Physiology, Child Development, Movement Science, Evolution, Phsychology, plus a number of EasternAwareness practices and other Somatic approaches.   He was a Physicist, Engineer and Judo Black Belt.

Moshé Feldenkrais (Doctor of Science, Sorbonne) was an engineer, physicist, inventor, martial artist and student of human development. He was born in 1904 in what is now the Ukrainian Republic, and emigrated to Palestine as a young man, where he did construction work in Tel Aviv. He studied at night school and he wrote a small book about self-defense, which, when he went to Paris to attend the Sorbonne, impressed Professor Jigoro Kano, the Japanese martial artist who developed Judo. Professor Kano taught Dr Feldenkrais, who went on to become one of the first europeans to obtain a Black Belt in Judo and was a founder of the Ju Jitsu club of Paris. Dr Feldenkrais worked at the Joliot Curie laboratory in Paris during the ‘30s.

Then came the Second World War and Dr Feldenkrais fled to Britain where he worked on anti-submarine research for the Admiralty. It was there in the 40's that he began to develop his Method: a troublesome knee injury, combined with uncertain prospects offered through surgery sent him on what was to become a life-long exploration of the relationship between movement and consciousness.

This exploration took him into the realms of anatomy, physiology, child development, movement science, evolution, psychology, and a number of eastern awareness practices and other somatic approaches, including his studies with FM Alexander, the originator of the Alexander Technique. The Feldenkrais Method is a synthesis of these wide-ranging explorations, firmly grounded in the experimental ethos of western science.

Dr Feldenkrais has written a number of books about his work, and his two books on judo are still sought after. He taught in Israel and many European countries in the 1960's and 70's, and in North America in the 70's and 80's. He trained his first group of teachers in Tel Aviv in the early 1970's, and then two more in the USA, one in San Francisco and the other in Amherst MA. Through his life Dr Feldenkrais worked with many kinds of people with many kinds of problems - from infants with Cerebral Palsy to leading performers such as the late Yehudi Menuhin. He was a collaborator with thinkers such as anthropologist Margaret Mead, neuroscientist Karl Pribram and explorers of the psychophysical Jean Houston and Robert Masters.

He died after a severe stroke in 1984. His message at that time to his students was

 

"Graceful movement is more important than you know..."
"What I'm after isn't flexible bodies but flexible brains - What I'm after is to restore each person their human dignity"

Moshé Feldenkrais

 

Moshe Feldenkrais portrait

 

 
 
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