WHO WAS MOSHE FELDENKRAIS?
A longer, and yet still short, biography, written by Mark Reese, can be found at the Feldenkrais Guild website, Mark Reese on Feldenkrais. I never met Feldenkrais, and I have only stories from books and people who studied with and knew him, and my own concoction and possibly fabrication from those stories.
He invented a system I love to learn and to use, with my own learning and development and waking to the present and with anyone else who wishes to move easier, or heal quicker, or learn faster, or even be happier.
Yes indeed, this can result in your being happier. If you start rolling around again, the way you did when you were a kid, you'll be happier. If you start to walk with a spring in your step instead of a painful shuffle, you'll be happier. If you can discover ways of not getting into pain that used to be a constant companion, then you'll be happier. If you discover new ways of thinking and feeling than your old familiar unsuccessful ways, you'll be happier. If you start to venture out and do some of the dreams and actions you've been waiting around to do for years, you'll be happier.
None of which says much about who Moshe was, and that's fine. To hear him talk on tapes, or to read his lectures that were spoken is to appreciate the value of wandering toward the goal, discovering along the way.
This is who he was: a discoverer. A curious person who got in a jam, and when the official way out was not acceptable ( the famous 50/50 chance of walking again if his knees were operated on way back in the days when knee operations weren't a secondary fad to the hip replacement fad), decided to find his own way out of the jam.
He studied anatomy. He studied learning systems. His wife was a pediatrician. My story is that he studied and thought about childhood development a lot. He studied himself, and learned that not only did he need to reorganize himself physically to help his knees, but he needed to reorganize the way he'd been playing soccer, which was to go about winning with such ferocity, that harming himself was considered a normal price to pay. He learned that learning requires slowing down, and that it requires going about things in new and unknown ways.
This is almost the definition of learning: to be pushed into the unknown and make it at least slightly known. The core chunk to learning is noticing differences, but when those differences show us a world we didn't know before, or options we hadn't realized previously, then real, deep human learning takes place.
Moshe Feldenkrais is famous for his huge curiosity and so the study of Ericksonian hypnosis and Gurdjieff philosophy/psychology and good old fashioned Eastern acupuncture were part of his exploration, as well as all things medical and scientific about learning or movement ( there wasn't much when he was coming up with his theories and practices).
So, he lived from 1904 to 1984. He walked from Poland to Palestine with some friends when he was young. He made his living as a laborer and went to night school. He developed an interest in Judo. He went to Paris, studied with Curie. The facts you can get from Mark's article. He understood from observation and studying Gurdjieff that a, if not the, central human dilemma is a kind of sleep, or unawareness to our lives as we are living them, which led to an inability to change and hence an inability to actualize our dreams and deep wishes. His so-called bodywork, was really soul work, in this way: to free our minds from the idea that we have to always do and be what we've always done and who we've been is the underlying aim of his work.
He transformed and re-invented himself and he invites the same from us.