Moshe Feldenkrais
Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc. engineer and physicist, Jodoka, somatic explorer, and developer of the Feldenkrais Method was born in 1904 in Russian Ukraine. Growing up in a family with Hasidic roots, his family was steeped in religion. In 1912 his family moved to the Beloruss town of Baronovich. At the end of WWI Feldenkrais left home to travel to Palestine (Eretz Israel) where he joined in the construction of Tel Aviv. Active in defense of the Jewish settlers he became interested in the art of self-defense, which led later to his study of Judo in Paris, where he had received a scholarship to study engineering in 1930. He was awarded a black belt in Judo and was instrumental in establishing the Judo club of France. His engineering studies led him to the laboratory of Joliot-Curie with the intent of seeking an advanced degree in physics. Here he was involved in the construction of an atom-smashing device.

As WWII loomed Feldenkrais escaped to England where his scientific credentials helped him to find a position as a scientist with the British Admiralty working in sonar research. It was during this period at a laboratory in Scotland where he began his investigations of movement in order at first to help himself recover from knee injuries. As these investigations proceeded he began to lecture to his colleagues about his ideas and his discoveries about human development. An autodidact he read vociferously in such fields as anatomy and physiology, psychology, and human learning. At the end of the war he moved to London where he met F.M. Alexander and took lessons with one of Alexander's assistants. He also returned briefly to Paris to receive his degree from Joliot-Curie. In 1949 he published Body and Mature Behavior based on the lectures he had presented in Scotland. This led him to Heinrich Jacoby, a musician and awareness teacher who in the short time they were together strongly influenced the further development of Feldenkrais' work with movement.

Moshe Feldenkrais Book about Judo
Moshe Feldenkrais Feldenkraistraining
On return to Israel Feldenkrais began teaching his new method in earnest giving classes in what later was named Awareness Through Movement®. At the same time he continued individual learning sessions with private pupils. In 1957 he met Mia Segal, who became his first assistant, and in many private meetings they worked out many details together of the processes of the work through investigating with each other. In the late sixties he began sharing this individual work with thirteen students who had been attending his movement classes. On coming to the United States in the early 1970s, he labeled the individual work, Functional Integration®. In 1975 he began a full training group in San Francisco. Sixty people graduated three years later and began the process of spreading the work. Feldenkrais died in 1984. Today there are over three thousand practitioners world wide, and training groups in North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Israel, and Asia.