MOSHE FELDENKRAIS 1904-1984
The FELDENKRAIS METHOD® of somatic education was developed
by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. Born in Ukraine, Feldenkrais immigrated to
Israel at the age of thirteen. After receiving degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering, he earned his D.Sc. in Physics at the Sorbonne
in Paris. He subsequently worked for a number of years in the French
nuclear research program with Joliet Curie.
Physically active, Feldenkrais played soccer and practiced the martial
arts. He studied with Kano Jigoro, the originator of Judo, and in 1936
became one of the first Europeans to earn a black belt in that discipline.
It was, however, in the relationship between bodily movement and our ways of thinking, feeling and learning that Feldenkrais achieved his greatest success. An injury to his knee in his youth threatened him with severe disability in middle age. Despite being given little hope of ever walking normally, Feldenkrais refused surgery and instead applied his extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, psychology and engineering, as well as his mastery of martial arts, to healing his own knee.
During the process he realised the vital importance of working with the whole body and indeed the whole self in order to achieve lasting, radical change. His insights contributed to the development of the new field of somatic education, and continue to influence disciplines such as physical medicine, gerontology, the arts, education and psychology.
Dr. Feldenkrais wrote five books about his method as well as four books on Judo.
He conducted three professional trainings during his life, one in Tel
Aviv, Israel (1969-1971), one in San Francisco, CA, USA (1975-1978)
and one in Amherst, MA, USA (1980-1983), training approximately
300 FELDENKRAIS® Practitioners during his life.