Moshe Feldenkrais was a competitive athlete doing sports-based exercises, soccer and Judo. He–in Western culture, prove-yourself, exceed attitude–went over the top and injured himself. Many of us have done the same but then used it to change.
Then, in what I call a Judeo-Christian reaction, shame ensues…failure, guilt, repentance, teshuva.
But Feldenkrais takes a slightly different tack.
He uses it to turn adversity into greater somatic advantage. But he never returned to turning around his world of exercise to use it to improve himself. Rather, he “disclaimed” it, took another path which did open up a new vision of human potential.
This is what we still value.
But do we need to throw the exercise baby out with the change-over?
This has led to a big residual effect. Many Feldies took it literally and ended up below par in terms of exercise and needed muscle mass. Even in 1973, when I first studied with him, Moshe was already in decline physically, overweight and dumpy (at age 70).
It’s a psychological hurdle that Feldies, even though flexible, need to come to terms with, or become an endangered modality. Lack of true exercise affects the brain and longevity. The research is clear and undeniable [Doidge, Ratey, Lodge, etc.].
That I may still be able, at my nearing age of 80 (the age MF died), to outwalk most, if not all, of the New England Feldenkrais practitioners is less a statement of my fitness and competence than a pointer to a real need to model what The Feldenkrais Method is really all about and trying to demonstrate.
In many ways, CMI is continuing the work, but at another level now.
My forthcoming book addresses all of this…