What are the differences between teaching "Classical Pilates" versus the "Original Method"?

Chat and questions regarding Pilates or the "Introduction to the work of Joseph H. Pilates"
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What are the differences between teaching "Classical Pilates" versus the "Original Method"?

Post by Joao »

Hi there!

Once I saw Jay Grimes saying in an interview, that there were no "Basic", Intermediate" or "Advanced" exercises at Joe's studio. There were just "Exercises", "Men's Exercises" and "Woman's Exercises". When teaching the Original Method, these classifications also fade away? And this applies to the "versions" of exercises, also? For example, I learned to teach the Hundred with legs at 45 degrees angle or higher at the beginning, and working all the way down until the student can hold the position with legs at eye level. Was it a common practice or it came later?

Another question within this topic would be the customization of workouts. In Javier Pont's "Hubertus Joseph Pilates: The Biography" book, he wrote that the students who came to 8th Avenue studio had a list of exercises that they should memorize and practice, until Joe or another teacher noticed that they could learn some more. Does this happens when teaching the Original Method?

As always, thank you!

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Re: What are the differences between teaching "Classical Pilates" versus the "Original Method"?

Post by Javier »

Hello Joao,
I am so sorry for the delay.
Family loss. Horrible year. Slowly returning to life and normalcy (whatever that is)
Now I have apprentices!!! Something I avoided for such a long time but because I am leaving my studio -my wonderful colleague Mariska Barnard is taking over- I had to produce some new trainers.
While I wasn't looking forwards to it, they are a wonderful bunch and I feel I am 'releasing the knowledge' freeing myself of it...

Yes, there was not Basic-Int-Adv (I also don't use it) that was created later when they created 'educations' and it was a way to explain to students -who didn't have enough experience in the method- what was simple and what was not (notice the word 'simple'... not easy...)
Joe didn't have levels but you view fitness as a ramp/line with two ends, "unfit" in one end and "fit" in the other: you use the method to travel from one to the other... we are all both for certain exercises... beautiful in concept because it includes in a never ending ramp all possibilities, but that is too subtle for idiots... so in the usual fashion, we dumb things down -to make them 'available'- and create neat holes where the mediocre can place others.
Yes, the Hundred is with the legs 2 inches from the floor. That is what the students should learn and remember. Everything else is a variation: they are needed to help people get there. But 'there' must be very clear. Legs at 45 are VERY heavy so not good in the long term...
"Classical" Pilates is an interpretation. It does not agree on many things with Joseph. MANY things. Just because they think they are doing Joseph's exercises doesn't mean they do. You want to know if the progression was used or not and my answer is: don't worry about 'setting it' one way or the other. Recognize the client that needs the progression and the one that does. The important thing is not to forget what the exercise is.

Yes, workouts are/were personal. We all should end up at the same location: "FIT" but we all need different paths. The modern trainer doesn't have enough Pilates tools -that is why they are all pulling out info from other techniques/physiotherapy/dance/yoga/etc. and that is a shame in many ways. Especially considering how much time, effort and money some spend trying to get the information but are cheated out of it. Every year Pilates contains way more things and way less Pilates...

The first and most important difference is that in the original method there are "TRAINERS" and in the 'classical' they are "TEACHERS" from there, it all goes, in my humble opinion, wrong. In one you use the method to achieve goals, in the latter method, you learn a method instead, hoping that it has a good effect. The set up is thus, very very different. In the original we want INDEPENDENCE, nowadays, the 'classical' create dependence on the trainer and his opinion and to his/her brand and a hierarchy in which you must acknowledge and respect their station...

Ok... enough bla bla bla...
I will answer the other questions soon...
Greetings, many, and happy ones...

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Re: What are the differences between teaching "Classical Pilates" versus the "Original Method"?

Post by AlainG »

Hi Javier,
Glad to read you, and that you train apprentices.
Also, so true what you´ve written about goals and methods.
It reminds me of another saying: "method of no method".
As said by a man who used to call himself "contradictory old man" (Wang Xiangzhai), and that also knew his art.

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