Moshé Feldenkrais was born in Slavuta, Ukraine. He received his diploma in 1925. In Palestine, Moshe began studying self-defense, including jiu jitsu. In 1929, he becomes injured from soccer. In the 1930s, he earns his engineering degree while living in France; later he earns his Doctor of Science in Engineering after studying with Marie Curie. He also worked as an assistant to nuclear chemist Frédéric Joliot-Curie. In 1933, he met the founder of judo, Jigoro Kano, who encouraged him to continue studying.
Moshé becomes closes friends with Kano, who chose Moshe to be one of the “doors” through which the East attempts to meet the West. In 1936, Moshe earns a black belt in judo, and two years later earns his 2nd-degree black belt. Moshé was a co-founding member one of the oldest Judo clubs in Europe, which still exists today. Frédéric, Irène Joliot-Curie, and Bertrand L. Goldschmidt took Judo lessons from Moshe during their time together at the institute.
During the 1940s, Moshe aggravated his old soccer injury. He chose to explore and develop self-rehabilitation and awareness techniques through self-observation instead of having surgery. He began sharing what he was learning through lectures, experimental classes, and one-on-one work.
His self-rehabilitation helped him to continue Judo practice. He began to scientifically study Judo, incorporating the knowledge he gained through his physical rehabilitation. In 1949 he published the first book on the Feldenkrais® method, Body and Mature Behavior: A Study of Anxiety, Sex, Gravitation and Learning. In 1954, Moshé began to teach his method full-time in Tel Aviv and in 1957, he gave lessons in the Feldenkrais method to the Prime Minister of Israel.
Myriam Pfeffer, Gaby Yaron, Jerry Karzen, Anat Baniel, Ruthy Alon, Yochanon Rwyerant
Throughout the 1960s, 70s, and into the 80s he presented the Feldenkrais® method throughout Europe and in North America, including an ATM program at Esalen Institute in 1972. He also began to train teachers in the method to expand the work. Moshé trained the first group of 13 teachers in the method from 1969–1971 in Tel Aviv.
Unfortunately by 1981, Moshé could not finish his trainings due to illness. He rehabilitated himself from consecutive strokes over three years until he died at home in Tel Aviv in 1984. Today, the legacy of Moshé Feldenkrais remains strong with over 6,000 practitioners of his method teaching throughout the world.
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