Just a few moments ago on Facebook, Kunihiko Otomo posted a quote from Moshe Feldenkrais’ out-of-print 1944 book: Judo: The Art of Defence and Attack
Kunihiko mentioned, “I see the seeds of his [Moshe’s] inspiration and his later Method scattered all over those pages like pieces of gold.” Being intrigued, I did some digging online and found a downloadable pdf of the book (link at the bottom of this post).
Read some of these quotes and see if both the words and ideas are familiar to you by way of Moshe’s later teachings.
From the back cover:
“In Higher Judo he [Feldenkrais] explains how Judo practice can educate and train a person to become independent of his heritage.”
Independent of his heritage. Sound familiar? I believe Moshe is using the word heritage differently than he uses it in later works, such as in Awareness Though Movement where he writes:
The biological endowment of the individual—the form and capacity of his nervous system, his bone structure, muscles, tissue, glands, skin, senses—are all determined by his physical heritage long before he has any established identity. His self-image develops from his actions and reactions in the normal course of experience. (ATM, Preface, p.4)
In the quote above, “heritage” is paired with the word “physical”, meaning one’s biological or genetic heritage. But in the original quote, when Moshe speaks about heritage, I believe he is speaking about one’s self-education, what I like to think of as one’s often mistaken ideas about oneself learned through family, culture and education. By becoming independent of your heritage, you learn that you made some mistakes about yourself and your capabilities. You are more capable than you may have originally learned.
In the passages below, also from Judo and the Art of Defence and Attack, substitute the world “Feldenkrais” for the word “Judo” and you would think that Moshe was writing about his later methods:
“…Judo is the art of using the body in general. It is planned to improve general well-being and a sense of rhythm, and develops co-ordination of movement as no other method or sport can possibly do. The senses of time and space are so much bettered by Judo practice that soon every disciple becomes aware of a certain improvement and progress in whatever occupation, hobby or sport he may have followed previously. Indeed Judo should be considered as a basic culture of the body, much as matriculation is necessary before starting serious work in any of the sciences. ” (p. 11)
There is much more I could write about, but perhaps you would enjoy reading it yourself first? Click below to read online or download:
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To make more income online, you need three things:
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Most people get things backward and create their website first. Not always a good idea. I’m going to show you how to find targeted online niches first, and then how to create multiple products and services for those niches so you can have multiple revenue sources. This can dramatically increase your businesses success. (It’s taken me 3 years get the strategy down, so pay attention.)
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Two mystery bonuses that you will receive the day of the workshop. (They’re a mystery to me too, because I haven’t created them yet! But they will be great.)
You can watch and listen live and you will also get a video of the sessions. If you can’t make the live call – don’t worry – watch the replay!
What are other practitioners saying about this webinar?
There are so many ways to approach being on the web and after attending Ryan’s webinar, I was able to see what the next steps are for me. It helps that Ryan is a Feldenkrais practitioner – he understands that this is a process and that you make a first pass and then a second pass. Ryan definitely has the technical information to answer all your questions and the resources he provided with the webinar were invaluable. I’ll be back for the next one. Kim Cottrell, GCFP, 2009 FGNA Program Chair
I previously participated in one of Ryan’s webinars and it was a well spent hour. I learned a lot. He also sends a lot of material by email that makes for many more hours of learning. I’m going to be at this class as well. It’s easy to get into the webinar, and Ryan records the class so you can listen to it again later. Silani Wahlgren, Feldenkrais Practitioner
When? Two Tuesdays: February 9th and 16th
Time? 8:30 to 9:30 PM Eastern
Each webinar builds on the other. I’m notorious for packing tons of information into my workshops, so we may end 5 or 10 minutes late.
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Please note: The Webinars are video-recorded and the link to the Feb 9th recorded session is included. So you can buy now and get access to BOTH webinars.
* I stand behind what I sell. If you are not satisfied with the material, you will get your money back – no questions asked. My promise to you? If you can use email and the internet, and know how to “cut and paste” you can do everything that you need to enact these strategies.
The short video below popped up in my “google alerts” a few minutes ago. It is of John Kucera from the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. Since 2004, John and his teammates have been working with Coach Kurt Kothbauer. Kurt is not only the head conditioning coach for the Canadian ski team but is also a Feldenkrais Practitioner. Here’s a quote from Coach Kothbauer about the Feldenkrais Method:
“In modern and Western society we tend to reach higher levels of performance by using more effort. In the Feldenkrais Method we learn a different approach which is based on completely the opposite idea: by reducing effort and with a clearer goal-oriented motivation, we work on the quality of action.”
Have you ever wondered how many people graduate from Feldenkrais Trainings on a yearly basis? Curious how many of those people actually start practices?
Paul Rubin’s Answer
Last month on the FeldyForum, Feldenkrais Trainer Paul Rubin stated his belief that most people who graduate from a Feldenkrais professional training program end up using the work in some type of professional context such as a Feldenkrais practice, physical therapy practice, dance practice etc.
When someone on the forum asked him where he was getting his data from, Rubin made some vague reference to a straw poll that he had conducted. I am not surprised that a trainer would want to see himself, his trainings, and perhaps the profession at large, as able to successfully launch careers in the Feldenkrais Method. However, I was stunned that Paul would simply put forth his own assertions – with no supporting evidence or data – and expect people to believe what he was saying. Several people, myself included, said as much.
Rather than owning up to the fact that he had no reliable nor meaningful data, Paul began engaging in a whole series of ad hominem attacks, many of which were directed at me. Apparently, the fact that I challenged him to provide some evidence for assertions means that I am frustrated individual, who is preaching gloom and despair – blah blah blah.
I don’t remember exactly what Paul wrote and I have since canceled my membership to the FeldyForum and can’t go back to check. But suffice it to say, that in the absence of having any evidence or reasoned response, Paul Rubin saw fit to attack me personally. In fact, at one point, Rubin refused to even speak to me directly, writing, “someone said…” and wrote that I was “claiming to be an expert.” Point taken. If you disagree with Paul Rubin, you become a nameless, faceless “other.” And being unable to meaningfully criticize my views he attacked my credentials. I am truly sorry that he is in that space. Not only does it serve no purpose for anyone and degrade both him and the method, but it in no way supports his case.
The Research Answer
After a few days, Paul did manage to find a survey done by Rob Black (currently the FGNA President-Elect) in 1997. (PDF Download: Snapshot of Feldenkrais Practice. Rob’s survey was a valiant first attempt, and does provide some very interesting data about the state of the Feldenkrais Method 12 years ago. For example, it has data on practitioners reported income and satisfaction with their work.
However, like most convenience sample studies it has major limitations. For example, it’s not clear that Rob had access to contact information for those who were not in the guild database and may not have been practicing. We don’t know how many attempts were made to contact people, some regions of the country where not represented, and overall, there is no way of saying that the study is representative of the population of Feldenkrais practitioners 12 years ago, let alone today.
Again, it’s great that the attempt was made, and I am sure at some point that FGNA (The Feldenkrais Guild of North Americal) will follow-up up. However, one study does not constitute an answer to the question:
“How many people take Feldenkrais Trainings and actually start practices?”
Who else might have an answer to the question?
The IFF’s Answer
The IFF (International Feldenkrais Federation) has been doing a great deal of work in the area of developing competency profiles and attempting to improve the practice of practitioners. In a 2008 report, they stated:
It’s sobering but true. Only a fraction of Feldenkrais training program graduates are still
practicing members of their guild five years later.
How they know that “only a fraction” are practicing members of their guild 5 years later, I do not know. Though I would hope that the report, compiled by representatives of Feldenkrais Guilds worldwide, has some factual basis for the assertion. I would certainly give it more credence than Paul Rubin’s dubious assertions.
Personal attacks on my character and intelligence notwithstanding, I cannot find any reliable or meaningful data on the efficacy of Feldenkrais trainings. If anyone can send me information, published or not, please do so, or leave a comment on this post.
My personal opinion, (yes, that’s right my opinion) is that many people who take trainings have no intention of becoming practitioners, even if they state that as their goal. Currently, it’s difficult to find intensive experiences of the Feldenkrais Method without going to a training. Many people realize the value of the work and – I think – take trainings because they want a deeper experience of themselves and the method than they can get in a weekly class or weekend workshop. If that is true, it represents a huge opportunity, not just for Feldenkrais trainers, but for practitioners and assistant trainers.
I’d be willing to bet that those taking a feldenkrais training for largely personal reasons would be willing to spend money for less-expensive, but equally valuable intensive workshops. That is, they might be willing to attend a 1-week, 2-week, or even month-long workshop that would allow them to go deeply into the work without having to pay for the additional costs associated with the certification process (administration costs, staffing costs etc.) In addition to costing less, the workshop could be conducted by any practitioner willing to take the plunge and could serve as a valuable pathway for more people to learn about the work. It might also appeal to a much larger segment of the population.
And one last time – the question of how many people graduate from Feldenkrais trainings and then successfully create practices? I do not know.
And neither does Paul Rubin, nor anyone else in the Feldenkrais community.
I just got off a skype call with Ruthy Alon for our upcoming podcast and decided to take a look at what was happening one Facebook. And wouldn’t you know, social media maven Deborah Elizabeth Lotus had just shared a video of Hagit Vardi, a Feldenkrais Teacher being interviewed by Dave Rakel, MD from the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine Program.
The video is about 11 minutes long and worth the time:
Hagit Vardi interviewed by Dr. Dave Rakel, University of Wisconsin, Integrative Medicine Program
Every so often a member of one of the Feldenkrais communities will approach me about viral marketing – a way of using internet technologies to help an idea or product spread very rapidly online.
To date, I have not agreed to do any viral marketing campaigns for anyone in the Feldenkrais community.
There are four reasons. They have to do with remarkability, accessibility, ease of delivery and trust.
Remarkability and Accessibility
Ideas that spread on the internet are ideas that are remarkable. That is, a person has to really like your idea in order to send it to another person. It has to be outstanding, unique, curious, fascinating or have some other quality that really makes someone WANT to share it with friends. And part of that remarkability is being able to understand your idea. If it’s too complicated not enough people will know what to do with it.
Ease of Delivery and Trust
Likewise there needs to be a delivery method that is quick and easy and that has trust built in. People need to trust you and you idea for it to spread.
So far, no one has approached me with an idea that fits the four criteria above and has not been able to convince me that they will make the changes necessary for viral marketing success.
Let me give you a specific example of a successful viral marketing campaign.
Viral Marketing Example
An old (in internet terms) but hugely successful viral marketing campaign was Hotmail email. It was a company that offered free email accounts. It was so successful that it was adopted by 12 MILLION users in less than two years.
How did it do so? At the time, many people already had email addresses, but they were through a paid service such as AOL, or through their employer. Having a free email not tied to work or home? That was remarkable and needed. And what about those that wanted email but couldn’t pay for internet access? They too could get their own free email. It was remarkable for them as well. But just as important, it was easy to understand. “Free” and “email” are concepts that most people understand already. So there was a low cognitive load in understanding the offer.
But something can be remarkable and accessible but hard to spread. This is where hotmail did something simple, but brilliant. They created a built in delivery method for their virus. At the end of very email sent from it’s account was the tagline:
“Get Your Private, Free Email from Hotmail at www.hotmail.com”
Every time that someone sent an email they were advertising the service! And not only that, but if you got an email from a friend, or several friends, who were already using hotmail, then you had a built in reason to trust the system. If your friends, were using it, it was likely OK, right?
Are you following me here? Remarkable, accessible, easy to deliver and trustworthy. Those are a few characteristics needed for a viral marketing campaign. There are others. We will cover them in a later blog post, part two of this series.
Are you ready to go viral?
What could you do to make your practice more remarkable? What could you do to make your ideas more accessible…and easier to share and…trustworthy? Of course, this isn’t just about viral marketing, but about marketing in general.
Here are a few website suggestions:
1) Remarkability. Is there a clear statement of what you do on your website? Is it remarkable? Is it emotional? Does it specifically connect with the need or desire of a particular person or group?
2) Accessibility and Ease. How easy is to contact you? Is your contact info on every page? Do you make it clear that you want people to reach you? Do they know that they can talk to you free of charge to see how you can benefit them?
3) Trust. Do you have a picture of yourself on your website so that people can see who you are? Are you smiling in the picture? Do you have testimonials on your site so that people can see that others trust you?
Good. Now, you are ready to start thinking about viral marketing.
Your Feldenkrais Viral Advantage
In future posts, I am going to write more about the specifics of viral marketing. I am going to show you how this website gets a substantial amount of traffic through Facebook, other blogs, and the search engines such as google. This will be information that you can use immediately for your own products and services.
In the interview below, Dr. Michael Merzenich speaks with Anat Baniel about her new book, Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality Watching the clip, I am deeply impressed with Anat’s ability to speak about Feldenkrais principles in a manner that is clear and easy-to-understand. It is an important skill that more people might want to learn. I will let the interview speak for itself:
It’s Ok if you don’t. You are still an amazing human being. Perhaps even more amazing. You don’t have a practice and we totally, totally, love you.
I mean that.
I was in the bay area earlier this year and I had a friend who was complaining about not having enough students, her practice wasn’t large enough, her classes were too small, she wasn’t making enough money…yada yada yada…you’ve had friends and colleagues say something similar, yes?
But the problem is..she’s absolutely, positively, 110% full of it. What in the world is she talking about?! She’s been complaining about her practice for 10 years..TEN YEARS!!
And she’s no slouch. In the decade since her training, she has gotten a bachelor’s degree, gotten a master’s degree, traveled all over the world. She teaches English as second language and loves it (and she’s great at it), built a successful marriage…her list of achievements goes on and on…and here she is complaining to me about not having a full practice. Well, guess what:
She doesn’t have a full practice because she doesn’t want one!
Hello? How exactly does Moshe Feldenkrais’ work become a trap for some people? Where does the idea of the “magical Feldenkrais practitioner” come from? Are you somehow a better, more valuable person if you have a practice and are good at it?
No way! In fact, sometimes it can be the opposite of that.
But do you know what really bugs me about my friend’s complaining? It’s not simply that it’s self-indulgent. It’s not that she refuses to take the time to count her blessings. It’s not her lack of appreciation of what an amazing person she is. What really bothers me, is that she could do so much more if she would use the method to do what she wants to do – which is keep developing as a PERSON.
She’s so busy worrying about the practice that she doesn’t want, that she is not using the work for her self. She is not doing ATM for herself. She has volumes of Alexander Yanai that she is not using. What’s is the point? She has access to some of the greatest self-development material that have ever existed on this planet and she’s not using it because she “needs more students” and “bigger practice.”
It’s a tragedy. It might be time to become self-actualizing and focus on being a person, not a practitioner. Being a person and being a practitioner is not the same thing. And reversibility isn’t just about movement.
I’ve heard some conversations recently in which people ask, “Is Bones For Life® Feldenkrais®?” or simply state, “Bones for Life IS NOT Feldenkrais!!” Neither statement makes any sense.
Here’s an idea. How about asking questions about the “new” methodologies in a way that is consistent with Feldenkrais learning principles? How about asking what will help people to develop organically in the way that is most satisfying for them. So that they can develop in accordance with their own needs, their own desires, their own abilities and at their own speed.
The labels are irrelevant, the persons needs and desires are not. Better questions to ask:
Would it be useful for me to learn Bones For Life?
Would Bones For Life add to what I know about myself?
What would BFL add to what I know about the Feldenkrais Method?
Would it be useful for my students or for my practice?
It seems to me that those are worthy questions to consider.
As for FGNA not accepting Bones For Life as “continuing education”? No offense to the Guild, but who cares? Personally, I’m not organizing my learning activities in accordance to the external requirements of the FGNA. No guild is going to set my learning agenda. Those of you who are worried about meeting continuing education requirements might take a moment to consider your own self-directed learning activities:
Do you regularly do self-application of ATM?
Do you work with the Alexander Yanai lessons?
Do you engage in study groups?
All of those activities count as continuing ed, keep track of them, count them as your continuing hours and go take any damn training that you want to.
cheers – Ryan
By the way – I have not taken a Bones For Life training. I am not endorsing Bones For Life. I AM endorsing organic development and the desire for intelligent life on planet earth. If not you, then who? Who?!