Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais was a pioneer of movement science. An Israeli scientist who originally trained as an engineer, he received his doctorate in physics from the Sorbonne, where he assisted Nobel Prize winner Joliet Curie in nuclear research. One of the first students of the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano, Feldenkrais was a well-known Judo teacher who was instrumental in introducing Judo to the West.

A severe knee injury amplified Feldenkrais’ interest in human movement and our capacity for learning and change. Given a poor prognosis by surgeons, he applied the scientific method and systems theory to investigate human function.

He studied anatomy, physiology, neurology, and human development. He identified the unique human capacity for self-awareness is what allows us to move out of the habitual patterns that limit us.

Understanding the integral role self-image has in optimal function, he refined the awareness of his own movement and taught himself to walk again in the most biomechanically efficient way within the constraints of his injury.

Feldenkrais’ genius was to combine scientific knowledge and martial arts principles with his own observations of the human capacity for lifelong learning and self-awareness. He pioneered the relationship between consciousness and movement. Until his death he continued to refine and teach his method.

Half a century later, the pedagogy that underlies his method has been borne out by major revolutions in neuroscience.

His many books include Higher Judo, The Case of Nora, The Potent Self, Body and Mature Behavior, Thinking and Doing, The Elusive Obvious, Master Moves, and Awareness Through Movement.

About Zoe Birch

What we do now is the most important factor for tomorrow. Unless we change our emotional pattern of behavior, tomorrow will resemble yesterday in most details except the date.
— Moshe Feldenkrais, The Potent Self

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