Dr. Feldenkrais and the Martial Arts
Friday, April 1, 2005

Section: Martial Arts

Moshe Feldenkrais was a master of Judo; his contributions were recognized throughout the world. He opened the first European school in France in the 1930’s. His two books, Judo and Higher Judo: Ground Work, as well as numerous articles, are still highly praised by martial artists. He remained connected with Judo training for the rest of his life. On his visits to Japan, many Judo teachers would attend his demonstrations with their students.

In the mid-fifties, the legendary G. Koizumi, a 6th Dan, and Chairman of the European Judo union, called 500 black belts together for an international congress on Judo. When it came time to teach about saika-tanden (or chi), he had Feldenkrais teach the day’s material. Koizumi wrote that the Feldenkrais Method® “clarifies the interrelationship and the intermingled working of gravitation, body, bones, muscles, nerves, consciousness, subconscious and unconsciousness and opens the way for better understanding” of Judo.

Feldenkrais’ influence on the martial arts is felt even more strongly today: many Feldenkrais® practitioners study martial arts. From Nin-jitsu to T’ai Chi, from Karate to Aikido, students and practitioners are finding the Feldenkrais Method and the martial arts complement and enhance their work on and off the mat.
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