In the previous post, “Beware Feldenkrais Trainers Bearing Grudges,” I promised to share with you the voice of a few trainers who have more balanced and inclusive ideas about the community. Below is a verbatim email as it was forwarded to me, only edited to delete several names:
“Thank you [names trainers] and others who see that the old battles are dead ends. Practitioners are flocking to Mia, Jochanan, and others who are not officially in the fold. There must be a reason. Perhaps some practitioners want to get a better feel for what the method is as transmitted by those closest to Moshe. Perhaps they want to enhance their awareness or learn new skills not avaiable otherwise.
The FM as a method has been twisted, distorted, over simplified, changed into movement work, a feel good work. a relaxation method, a new age business, etc. And I am only considering what those in the fully accredited guilds have produced including at times what official trainers have created to make their work popular and saleable. There is no way to control what people will do by creating service marks and protected domains. In Europe [there is no] service Mark in Germany and the world hasn’t ended. There are problems but not insurmountable. As for the crossover, there are many crossover practitioners who have contributed their skills and abilities to the work. They have added to the community, not detracted.
For myself I have learned much from Mia, Anat, etc. that I would not have learned otherwise. In many ways the FM is a difficult life long process to get to the gold that Moshe developed. Why do we continue to argue over politics when there is much work for us to do to perfect and expand what we have and figure out how to transmit what we have to new generations so they can do better than us. There are no limits except those we impose on ourselves and I applaud [name Of trainer] letter which points out how we can have creative cousins. I applaud innovation that takes us to new more powerful realms.”
How about that? Is it a message of hope?
I will have a great deal to say about the message in a future post. For I now, I want to take note of the trainer’s statement that practitioners are flocking to Mia Segal, Anat Baniel and others. I don’t actually know if people are “flocking” to them as I have not seen any numbers. But I do know that Guild-certified trainings are getting smaller in the United States- on average – and this has been happening for many years. What about in the rest of the world? Perhaps you can add a comment if you have more information.
Moshe’s Natural Monopoly
My own view of those “outside the fold” is that they have created what Moshe himself had – A natural monopoly. They are not the exclusive owner of any service marks and don’t try to own or control all aspects of their work. Rather, they are they are “the artist” if you will, or “the band” doing their work. They have the natural monopoly that comes from doing their own work and being their own person. Yes, they attribute Moshe and they give credit. But they themselves have marketing gravity and attention. And it’s not because of their relationship to Moshe, but because they chose the path of independence.
The attention and success that they have is something that a “Guild Trainer” will find very difficult to get. You can be succesful and noted within the Guild system. That’s wonderful. But when a person’s calls himself or herself a “Feldenkrais Trainer” they are, by definition, comparing themselves to a dead person. The comparison may be implied and it may not be immediately obvious to all, but it is there. In my view, it is an instant communication of second-rate status no matter how amazingly skilled the person may be. And similarly, a person who spends their time getting approval from lawyers, bureaucrats, committee members and the like and limits what they say and do to be a member of a rule and conformity-based system…well…look around…you can see the result. I’m not say it’s all bad. Who knows, it may even be necessary. But every decision that you make has consequences.
That’s all I’m saying.