Scott Clark & Ryan Jansen: Feldenkrais Classes & Lessons in London
 
 

about ...

about Feldenkrais:
the Man

 

Picture of Moshe Feldenkrais

Moshe Feldenkrais was born in 1904 to a Jewish family living in the Ukraine. Shortly after the end of the First World War, at the age of fourteen, he emigrated to Palestine, then under the British Mandate. He worked there as a labourer on building sites and as a surveyor until he was able to go to Paris to study at the Sorbonne; first engineering, later physics. At the outset of the Second World War, he was working with Nobel Prize-winner Frederic Joliot-Curie. He was also a keen athlete, and while in Paris became intensely involved in Judo; he was one of the founders of the Judo Club of France.
      His sports interests contributed another vital element, the element of necessity. Playing soccer as a young man, he damaged one of his knees. This was a manageable irritation until, several years later, the damaged worsened. Surgery didn't offer a very promising solution; this pushed him into the investigation that eventually led him to abandon his career in physics in favour of a much less clear (and much less socially acceptable) path.
      Perhaps Feldenkrais was made bolder by his contact, through Judo, with a culturally different sense of what might be possible. He certainly achieved an astonishing synthesis of western physics and eastern martial arts, fertilised by studies with other movement pioneers of that time (notably Alexander). His wife was a paediatrician, and may have guided his interest toward the developmental movement patterns of children and the work of Piaget on the developmental patterns of learning itself.

function vs structure

      Feldenkrais never 'cured' or 'healed' his knees in a medical sense, but he learned how to move so that the damaged structure wasn't an obstacle, so that he could do what he wanted — including even Judo. In that sense, he found that function is much more important than the accidents of structure. Function, though, isn't an object and so we can't point to it as we can with structure; thinking clearly about how we function is much more challenging.
      Returning to Tel Aviv in the 1950's, Feldenkrais left physics and turned his life toward teaching what he had learned about movement. He worked with people in all walks of life, and his home was increasingly a point of pilgrimage for people from across Europe who looked to him for help with everything from recovery from stroke or other injury, to management of MS or cerebral palsy. He began training students to be practitioners themselves, first in Israel and then in the United States. Although he died in 1984, such training continues in dozens of countries, on almost every continent; there are currently about six thousand practitioners of the Method that bears Moshe's name.
 

 

about Feldenkrais:
the Method

The most basic element in the Feldenkrais Method is faith — faith in our human ability to learn, and to improve our situation through learning. We use movement as the medium for learning, and the benefits of Feldenkrais include improvement of our comfort and skill in movement, but they also extend into areas of our emotional and psychological life.

built for learning

      Whatever else we are, as human beings we are built for learning. We learn (usually) to look where we want, to reach for what we want, to crawl, sit, stand and then to walk and run. We learn this without being told how, without the pressure of schools and exams, but in response to our own innate curiosity and pleasure in accomplishment. We learn well enough to satisfy our need at the time. Afterward, things may change: what we want may change, or the accidents of life may have altered our selves or our environment. How can we learn to cope with the new situation? As adults, we are usually very far from our original childlike pleasure in movement and learning. The Feldenkrais Method is a way of re-awakening that original pleasure, then bringing it to bear on our present needs and desires.
      This kind of learning has a special quality. When we first learn some new skill, its freshness means that it isn't automatic. It won't be our first, instinctive action; our memory will need to be jogged in order to choose it. We may also have to think about each separate step as we do it, and that thinking will slow us down. But when we have truly learned a skill, it no longer consists of different steps; it fits together as a whole. It will even happen automatically, like reading: can you look at printed text without automatically knowing what it says? All the things that we truly know, we know in this immediate and complete way.

inner sensation,         
pleasure,     
judgment

      That's how we know to walk and reach and talk and do all the things that we learned in the first years of our lives. When we want to walk, we don't think about how to do it, we don't separate it into smaller parts, we simply do it and do the whole thing — or else it doesn't work. And this is the crunch of the matter: what can we do when things don't work as we want them to? What we tend to do is, at worst, a completely different kind of learning than the childhood way, a kind of learning that is guided by ideas of right and wrong, judged by an external 'expert' to whom we surrender our inner source of adequacy and autonomy. It can be very like our worst experiences of school.
      Feldenkrais believed that movement learned in such a way was always tainted by the muscular tensions that attend shame, anxiety and inadequacy. So he looked for a way that our learning could be directed first and foremost by our inner sensation, and by our own pleasure and judgement. For him, this was the most important step toward becoming a truly capable and free human being.
 

 

about Scott Clark
 

Picture of Scott Clark

For the last forty years I have been working with movement, both for my own self-exploration and as a way of commuicating with others. I started by studying dance as an art form, and by teaching and performing, but then one of my first colleagues helped me to realise that the real dance — and the real art form — consists in how we live each day.
      Often this is an impossible ideal: to allow ordinary things to be comfortable and cheerful is hard enough, without mentioning beauty, growth, and transcendence. Fortunately the dance community was a crossroads for many 'alternative' approaches, and I studied Alexander, Rolfing, Laban and many other methods before encountering Feldenkrais thirty-four years ago.
      For me, Feldenkrais was a keystone that helped everything else make sense, and I enrolled on the first UK training in 1987. Since then I have been working with dancers and musicians, with people with severe pain or disability, but especially with ordinary people who want to live and grow.
      My background is fairly diverse. I am originally from New Mexico, and took a BSc in mathematics before going on to an MA in dance. Though my first dance training emphasised theoretical aspects (especially the dance notation system called Labanotation), most of my work in the field was practical — performing first in the US, then in the UK and on the Continent, and training professional dancers.
      I was a founding member of the Siobhan Davies Dance Company and taught the company for its first six years. After completing the London Feldenkrais training — a four year professional training accredited by the international Feldenkrais organisations — I began to incorporate that work into dance training, as well as teaching functional anatomy at Roehampton Institute and conducting an injury clinic for students on the dance course at Lewisham College.
      Twenty years ago I began teaching people in all walks of life, from office workers to musicians, of all ages and sorts of experience. I am about to open new premises for individual lessons, close to Moorgate Tube Station. In the meantime, I continue to give individual lessons in New Cross, southeast London.
      My work also includes supervision of other Feldenkrais Practitioners, and teaching on Feldenkrais professional training programs in the UK, Europe and the United States. I am one of only two Trainers in the Feldenkrais Method based in the UK.
      I am a member of the Feldenkrais Guild UK, the professional organisation responsible for maintaining standards of practice, and fully subscribe to their Code of Ethics and requirement of professional insurance. For three years I was the editor of the Guild's newsletter, for five years its Chair, for several years its Secretary. I now serve as the Guild's website manager.

 

about Ryan Jansen
 

Picture of Ryan Jansen

Inspired by my love of sport and numerous injuries, I studied physiotherapy, graduating in Western Australia in 1997. My zest for the physiotherapy model, led by 'evidence-based' practice, waned as I continually observed that humans move so differently from each other and respond so differently to regimented treatment.
      I was lucky enough to encounter The Feldenkrais Method in my early twenties. My first Functional Integration (FI) session was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before, it was magical. It prompted me to re-evaluate how I used touch to invite change.
      This sparked a passion for Awareness Through Movement (ATM), which I maintain through an ever-inquisitive personal practice. Exploring ATM refines my actions and ability to work with others.
      For some years I have had the reputation as a physiotherapist who specializes in applying The Feldenkrais Method. The method has increasingly permeated my practice. I now work as a Feldenkrais Practitioner, armed with extensive knowledge and experience of the physiotherapy field. This includes working with people in pain and understanding diagnoses and surgeries.
      I frequently work with people who have not responded optimally to mainstream medical services, or who may have been disappointed by the experience, from people with chronic pain to elite athletes. The sensitivity and detail of the Feldenkrais Method can help people to discover new ways of doing things, streamline performance, rehabilitate injuries or facilitate recovery from grueling events.
      The majority of my work consists of giving FI sessions — one-on-one interactions using touch and movement to help people improve aspects of their lives. I also run workshops, usually specifically for health professionals, introducing them to the Method.

 
Scott:       or phone 020 8469 0245
Ryan:       or phone 07814 911 971