Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984)
Moshe Feldenkrais was born 6. may 1904. in a town Slavuta, in a present day republic Ukraine. In 1912. his parents moved in a smaller place Korets and later Baranovic, nowadays Belarus, where Feldenkrais completed two years of high school, learned Hebrew language and Zionist philosophy.
He taught functional integration® in a flat where his mother and brother lived, and in 1957. he started teaching Israel prime minister David Ben Gurion. From late 60-ties until early 70-ties, he published several books and found studio where he taught Feldenkrais teachers training for 12 students.
After monthly international touring and presenting his method he started teachers training during four summers in San Francisco which attends 65 students. 1977. he published book “Case of Nora” and “Elusive Obvious” (1981.) In summer 1981. he started teachers training in Amherst for 235 students but because of illness manages to finish just two of four summers. He died on 1. july 1984.
(c) IFF Archive of the Feldenkrais® Method
In 1918. he left his home on a six month journey to Palestine where he worked and finished high school earning diploma in mathemathics. After that he started to work as carthographer for British survey office. Moshe Feldenkrais was involved in Jewish self- defence group and after learning Ju- jitsu he developed his own self- defence techniques.
In 1929. he badly injured his left knee in a football match. By the medical standards of that time, operation was unsafe solution so he decided not to do it which later showed as a crucial moment for developing Feldenkrais method. While convalescing he wrote the translation of Charles Brook’s work of Coue’s system of autosuggestion (Autosuggestion, 1930.) from English to Hebrew, together with two chapters he wrote himself.
After that, in 1931., he published JuJitsu, book about self defence.
In 1930. he went to Paris and enrolled in an engineering college (Ecole des travaux Publics des Paris). After graduation 1933. he met Jigoro Kano, founder of Japan martial art Judo. Feldenkrais started teaching Jiu Jitsu and at the same time started his own Judo training. In that time he finished doctor degree in physics at university Sorbonne and began working as an assistant under Frederic Joliot-Curie in Radium Institute.
1936. he recieved black belt in Judo and in 1938. he got second degree rank. He also established first Judo club in France (Jiu Jitsu club de France), one of the first in Europe, which has several thousands members today.
In 1940., just before Germans entered into Paris Feldenkrais escaped to England, where he worked as a scientist for British admirality on anti submarine weapons and taught Judo and self defence. In 1942. he published manual “Practical unarmed combat” and “Judo“.
At the same time he intensively experimented on threating and healing his knee injury which he renew walking on slippery submarine deck. He also started experimental teaching with collegues and applying ideas in a lesson series. During his rehabilitation he failed to solve mechanical problem in his knee but managed to revitalize function and removed pain which allowed him everyday function as well as Judo training.
In 1946. he left admirality and moved to London where he published first book about his method “Body and mature behaviour” (1947.). He studied the work of Georg Gourdjieff, F.M. Alexander, and moved to Switzerland where he learned with Heinrich Jacoby.
Later, Feldenkrais moved to Israel, where he lead military department of electronics (1951- 1953.) and in1954. he moved permanently to Tel Aviv where he started teaching his own method. About 1955. he establishes Awareness through movement® classes in Alexander Yanai street.
In late 50-ties Feldenkrais presented his work in Europe and USA. In mid 1960. he published “Mind and body and bodily expression” and in 1967. “Improving the ability to perform” (named Awareness through movement in english version 1972.).