Discussion #1788

Ken on Joseph Pilates

25 min - Discussion


There are so many common myths about Joseph Pilates and the Pilates Method, and Ken Endelman shares the truth about these myths and other interesting facts he learned about Joseph Pilates in his many years of research. Ken tells us how there wasn't much information when he started so he relied on the first generation teachers, and then later he was able to dig into archives. He also reveals new discoveries that aren't known by many about Joe's personal life and family.

Click here to read the article that Ken refers to in Chapter 1.
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Sep 29, 2014
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Chapter 1

Looking for Patents

So Ken, I know you, I've learned so much about just flooding through research that you've done and I've never quite understood what an equipment manufacturer has to do with research or what motivates you to do that. So why all the research, thank you. But why? So I can probably explain that to make it so it would make sense if I told you one little thing about me. So I think, I think you already know that my wife is a librarian. Um, my, my wife's mother was a librarian and my father was a librarian. So during the summers as a kid, I used to ride my bike in the summers and spend riding my bike to the library and hang out there. And not just because it was air conditioned, but there was stuff to do there. That was cool. Right? So actually Kinda like doing research and then you take that part of me and then you add that to the part of, of, you know, I get into the plotters world and I'm trying to find out, first of all, I wanted to find out, you know, I, first of all, I wanted to find out, um, if I could legally make this equipment, was there any patents? Right?

And guess what? Nobody could tell me. So, um, and then I'm trying to find out, well, who is platas? Well, nobody could tell me. Well, there's this one book, it's called the [inaudible] method of exercise by Philip Fried Miguel license. That was the only book that was out there. Um, Joe had written two books, but nobody knew about those books either. I mean, they are way out of print. And so I was trying to find out, you know, who was Joseph Lottie's, where's your, any patents about him? And everyone's just kind of pushing back. No, no, no, there's nothing in a guy like me that kind of scarcity can, creates enthusiasm. And so, so then I started looking. And so, so the first place I headed to is the US patent depository in Los Angeles. You know, now you can just go online and zip, Zip, and you've got a patent, you get all the patents you can, you can go online right now to u s pto.gov and you can get, you can download all of Joseph h supplies patents. You know, you could just, it's easy and it's free.

Now. What year did you start looking for this? And 70 this was seventies five 76 so when you're starting to make this first year, yeah, yeah, certainly. And so I'm down there and I describe the patent office in La in that at that time, Penn depository deposits. So, so they had, is, is in about 10 places around the country. They have places where they keep copies of all US patents. Okay. And then you have shelves and shelves of all the, of 10 years with the patents. And at the end you have an index of all these patterns. And so you just start by the years. So if you, okay, well Joseph [inaudible], you know, we hear he came in the 20s so let's see what patterns he got in the 20th so you look in the patent volume for the twenties I mean, is it alphabetical?

It's alphabetical by inventor and then there's a number and then once you find the number then you can find much volume has the patent from these numbers, right? Yeah. So I'm learning these books or this deck and so you find it, find the book. It's really exciting stuff. It's really excited and you say, look, how excited or am I getting excited? I get excited. Yes. Well it's like finding a needle in a haystack, you know, all of a sudden, I mean research is kind of like, you know, you're trying to find something and then you find it, right? Yeah. You almost always find it. It's just how much time and whether you go down the right direction to find the research and what you find along the way. Yeah, exactly. There's all these pleasant surprises.

So I got the patents and that was really exciting. So that was kind of my first step. So he did, he has lots of patents. He has like five patents, you know, he had probably like 20 devices, but he had only only five pounds, cause you don't, you can't patent stuff that's, that's not innovative. So, um, so I found the patents and they were all expired, so I was off the hook that way. So then I started asking people questions about Falaise and then they all have stories, but nobody has any documents or evidence or anything that they really want to share. And it's, it's Kinda like in the seventies and eighties, it's kind of like, people didn't want to share that information about plays. It kinda whatever they had, they wanted to keep it to themselves.

And I don't really know why, but, but it was just really hard to get information, you know. It was, it was, it was, I tried to find out whether, you know, whether Joe is alive. No, he wasn't alive. And I then, was he married? Yes. Um, his, his wife for like, well, she's, we think she's alive, but we're really not sure. Well, you know where they live. Well, um, uh, in New York someplace, right. So, you know, circling people in New York and see, well, you know, what's going on here and talking to people so you can talk to Corolla. And so then I started talking to these guys that were actually studying what Joseph and I would call a Corolla. And, and, and the thing with Corolla and certain degree with Kathy too, but whenever you call it Corolla, she would scream at you for the first 10 minutes, just yell at you, whatever. Whatever was done, it wasn't good enough, you know? And it wasn't her expectations, it's just, it was, yeah, no, I got to talk to it was cool, you know? But the funny thing is not the fun thing. It was a horrible thing.

I had to deal with this 10 minutes of being screamed at and then all of a sudden it's like, so how's the family? So we're talking Corolla tree or Kathy, Kathy grant. You talked to them all. I talked to them all. Yeah. Because, um, they would come out to, like, they would come out to say Tarzan or I would meet them in Tarzana and y'all know, just stuff used to have these workshops and he had Ramana come out there, you know? Yeah. I mean it's really kind of funny and some people say, yeah, I trained with him, I treated with Kathy, I treated with eve. Well I can say I, I trained with all of it. It isn't Amy and instruction. It doesn't mean that they said I was great. I just, I just took a class with them. That's all I did. So, but I did train with all of these guys, literally classes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I didn't own a dance belt until I took a class with Romana and had I have a dance building somewhere. It's still, yes.

So, you know, they would come out and we would have dinner with these guys and you know, hang with them and stuff and you know, and they would tell their stories and then, and then, and then all of a sudden you find out that once they got to know you, they would share with you. Yeah. And then it got to be really exciting, you know, and then you would start hearing some stories and then you could cooperate stories like, you know, you could corroborate, okay, well he was, he, you know, he was interned at Islah man. Okay. I that like five different people. It's probably true. Yeah. And then you, so how can I find out if that's really true? You know, and then you find out, um, did he come from Germany? Right? So, well, I did come from Germany and, and, and, and then, you know, it wasn't really until probably about five years ago that we even knew what David was born on. Right. Because he lied about that stuff. I mean, so how did you found that out? Right. I found that out that I found, actually there were other people that actually got, hey, got a bunch of [inaudible] and they, they had told me about his bright birthdate and then when I went to mention God back, I actually got a copy of the pursuits. Okay. Yeah, I remember hearing. Yeah. So, um, so you can find out that kind of stuff. So then you start just kind of tracking these different stories. Like was he a boxer? Okay. Well, you know, try to find that. Trying to find out, well, when, as I mentioned, God back archives, this guy had, you know, um, uh, uh, Gert Lammers he was the archivist there, you know, he's just, Oh yeah, here's like two newspaper articles that were printed and you know, you know, 1915 or 17 or something. Initials. Yeah. Yeah. You know, Joseph [inaudible] was a, was a boxer.

Joseph plays the two fights here that we know for sure. You know, and Oh, by the way, look at this. This says boxing shoe, or, hmm. Qualys had a boxing school. Was it? His Dad was in, his brother was applauded. Do we know yet? Don't know yet. Don't know who ran the school. We don't know if it was Joe. We don't know if it was [inaudible]. See now it's already like being trickled out there that it was his dad.

I don't know if it isn't. I mean, yeah, so I, but I think, I think people make these assumptions. Yeah. But you know, it maybe, maybe not. Has anyone found out if he really did yoga or did not do yoga? My, my assumption on this is this size is not factual. My assumption as is that, that he studied yoga because so much of his stuff emulate his plays, poses and stuff. You just gotta see it. Yeah. But I don't, I haven't read anything that says, okay, he did y'all go see my theory? He said people are very decided on that. Sometimes they, yeah. Interesting. I, I, I don't go with that. I mean, I, I you, he's actually articles that he's interviewed for. It talks about studying, you know, animal biomechanics stuff. That's, that's a really common thing.

Those are really cool. In fact, if you read the article in sports illustrate, yes. That that chuck Rappaport did the pictures for. Yeah. That's a really good article. Yeah. We just recently posted that, um, just on Facebook I could look at the camera. You guys should read that article. Okay. It's fantastic. Yeah. And there's tons of places to find it and we'll have it. We'll put it here. Beautiful. We'll put it here. Yeah, for sure.

So you just used to start digging up these things, trying to find out. So was he really Allah man? Well don't do it, but we did find a picture of his brother, so, so that made a lot of sense. And I know you're never gonna assume if you don't have the fact, but are you suggesting that maybe it's true? Oh I, I, I'm really confident that he was all in man, cause he kept on saying it over and over again. Okay. Now Jo's own stories about being an all a man.

And you know this one story, he says that nobody in LMN died during the flood epidemic. And then that's one story. Then another story I said, no one in the camp died. And then another story I said, no one in his charged died. And these are all from Joe. So I think he had a tendency to exaggerate things a little bit.

So it's pretty clear that we know for sure his brother was here, but we haven't found anything that positively connects him there except that the fact that he said he was there and his brother was there. You show a picture or you're used to, I hadn't seen a slide slideshow this year, um, that at the time I heard you talk about it, you pointed to someone who I'm now guessing is his brother. And at the time maybe you weren't sure cause it looked like Joe but right. But we didn't know. But now we know it's his brother I and I'm sure because now I found a picture of his brother and his brother's photographed in front of them, lunch and GLAAD, Box City Hall with Joan's Dad. And this is, and this is the term Vernon Association at munching glide by Jeremy.

So this is like right around the turn of the century. And that picture there is a picture of Fred who looks dead, accurate treads the brother. Yeah. Yeah. And the, the picture of Fred that, I mean, the picture picture that I saw in l and n it looks exactly like Fred. So that was the one that you saw that, that we thought might've been Joe. Yes. But this is, this is so close. There's no, no mistaken, no mistaken.

Chapter 2

Common Myths About Joe

Tell me about his age. Cause the common thing is, you know, you still see this on most Pele's studio of history of Joseph.

It's that same paragraph that is Joe was born in 1880, um, a sickly child records, rheumatoid or rheumatism and that, you know, there's always the debate of he worked with soldiers and I think that's where people, that's the Isle of Man Part. Is that right? Well it's not really the, all I meant is he, a lot of people confuse aisle a man with the POW camp. And it wasn't a POW camp. It was not. It was an internment camp for German nationals. So it was just kinda like we did with the Japanese here in the u s too.

We'll work to, we in turn the Japanese, cause we felt that they were potential enemies and then the country. Right, right. So we locked him up and treated him horribly and, and said it was for the good of the country. Um, in the UK they had a hundred of these determined camps all around the UK and, and they, they were breaks out, this is what everyone, they take German citizens, the army, because they consider them to be a threat. Right. They put them in these camps. They, they put them in different camps for different reasons, depending on how threatening they were. So it's, it is accurate to say it was not soldiers, he was not soldiers. Right. Okay. That's very confusing for people. And it's like an oral tradition myth that it's, it's a, it's a total myth. There's a thread of information.

Um, and if you look at the documents from Jacob's pillow, it's, Jacob's pillow is usually from video for most of us. Oh, okay. All right. So, so there's archives at Jacob's pillow and they have, since Joe had a residence up there, they have documents that that were from, from Joe or from an organization that was associated with Joe. One of those documents to me appears to be like a promotional flyer for either to get people to start, applaud his business or maybe to start to apply his foundation. It's not really clear, but in that document it lists different, um, different people. That study with plays actually over the decades. One of them in there is that the Dusseldorf police chief.

So that little threat, I don't know what exactly what it means, but it, and then there's another story. Okay. That comes in that you hear is that that reason why he left Germany was because he was asked to train troops. Yes. It's possible that they may have wanted him, especially if he had a boxing school, he might've taught self-defense. So this is now we're really kind of making stuff up here, but it's possible, you know. Okay. So I hope people don't believe this. I'm just making this stuff up right now. But yeah.

But we know that you've trained or worked with the Dusseldorf police chief. Yes. What do we know about whether or not he was asked to train the army? That stories that we hear from the elders. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Okay, so perhaps he said that. Yeah. Somewhere along the way. Actually, he told us to chuck Rapaport. I don't know, I've checked, told you this story, but did he tell you the story where he, yeah, yeah, yeah. I was knocked out a couple of German cops and then mysteriously he leaves Germany. That's the story we hear. Yeah, he didn't, he does tell the story in his discussion, but that doesn't fulfill the definition of training to me. [inaudible] yes.

The takeaway here is, is that you know Joe would be a good person to have with you in a dark alley. Yes. On your side. Joe told the story. Do you tell to chuck? He told me to check. Yes. Yes. Okay. Yeah, and then he actually showed chuck these brass knuckles, which she had invented. That's right. Okay. That's not coming back to me now. That's a great story. As he tells it with research you've done. And you just said, Joe, we think tended to exaggerate.

Do you think that might be something he might've exaggerated on to quite possibly tell us about his age. Oh, okay. So, so you see you talking about that, that little is a bitchy wary, right? Is that, that's you're referring to, I don't even know if it is a bitch. It must be [inaudible] but [inaudible] was the one that floated around probably in 2000. Yeah. It was like here's the flyer on who he is. Yeah. So there was as obit that was published and it says Joe Supply dies at age 80, right? Yes. It shows that he was born in and um, [inaudible] and [inaudible]. Yes. Actually mission glad box. They do sort of, pardon? It used to say Dusseldorf. Yeah. Five. He actually didn't even do as a draft at one time. Okay. But, but he actually was born in and mentioned glad buck. Yeah.

But it says that he was born in 1880. Um, yeah. Um, and then he [inaudible] actually was born in 1883 and so, so again, I can't tell you why he said that, but he would in his brochures, it would just say Joseph Ortiz, you know, born 1980. And, and so he would, he would talk about that and he would promote that as is his, when he was born. But on his draft card that, that he had to file a little more too. He writes 83 and um, and on his records, when he came to United States, it was 83. So he made himself, he made it, made himself look older. It probably was either a, because it made him look better to say he was older and not older on three years, it's not gonna make that much difference. Maybe he was embarrassed because Clara was a little bit older than he was and he didn't want to stay, I don't know, maybe it was just, she was like a year older. Yeah. So she was, yeah, she was born in 81 yeah.

I don't exactly know why, why he would do that. I, I have a feeling it was more theatrical and, and you know, cause he clearly, I mean, no matter what you say, the guy was a showman and any, and he had a real knack for projecting themselves and, and for giving them some autonomy. If you look at what he's done, it's amazing. It's amazing. And here's a guy that made two trips to the United States in the 20s, um, filed a patent in Germany and follows it in the United States at the same time. This is not gonna, this is not cheap to do this stuff. Right. And it's expensive then it's expensive. Now it's thinking, okay, I'm going to come to the United States and I'm probably going to become successful because it's the fulfillment of the American dream.

Probably what he was thinking. Yeah. I mean, the guy writes books, he does newsreels and videos. Um, he's running letters to Kennedy, you know, he's, you know, he's out there beating his chest all day long. Yup. And, and, and you just don't do that unless you're excited about something and you just don't do that unless you've got some real showman. And theatrical capabilities. I, I mean, I think you really came here with the mission. You read the stuff that he wrote to Kennedy and it was like controlled. You will save America. Do you think he had Kennedy's ear? No. No, he never got to that point. And, and I, and I was, so I was at the Kennedy Library in Boston looking at this stuff and I was in any of the archivists, they're always history buffs. And so they, they give you lots of really cool information. And so, so you start talking to these guys. And so, so what happened here?

Because it was like there was letters and attachments, they kept some of that stuff. And then, so if you send a letter to the White House, at least back in the Kennedy days, they would go to a secretary, the secretary, we read it and then they would write it, this transmittal letter and then it would go to the appropriate person. So sort of Kennedy's letters were sent to whoever was the director of depressants council on physical fitness. And then he got this stuff. But you know, I'm kinda thinking and basically everything got ignored. So, hey, Kennedy wanted a meeting with Kennedy in Hyannisport cause it was convenient for Joe because he was, yes, he was cute. He was close. So he wanted to do that. And, and, and, and, and he's basically telling Kennedy that what you're doing is crap. If you really want us to save America, he'll, he'll teach controller [inaudible] and that's what he says.

And I'm thinking to myself, so if I was talking to the present United States or the guy second to the president of the United States, I probably would tone it down a little bit, just a little bit to try. And, you know, and my guess is, is you've got Joe who's probably a little bit arrogant on one side and on the other side you've got these guys working for the White House who are probably arrogant on the other side. And they're probably thinking, what does this guy doing? One of the things that he talks about though as he talks about the importance of, you know, body, mind and spirit and how it pertains to creating world peace. Real peace. Yeah. So, and not, not just, not just the, not just the country but the world, you know. And so he, even Kennedy, he replied, he's had this global view of things. I had never really heard much about Kennedy. Is there other people, you said he had all these important people in his life. Who else stands out for you?

Um, you know, it was, it was kind of amazing looking at, um, looking at the list of his customers. Yes. Cause, and I'd like someone that really knew the, the near the times to understand, you know, um, cause there was, there were some names that I recognize as some identity, you know, most of them, it was her title as I like to do some dork police. Right. You know, that's, I didn't, I don't know who that guy is. I just know that, you know, he was the head of our police. How does that kind of thing get recorded? How's it going? Yeah, I mean I, I hear stories that he, you know, was taking cash and you know, there wasn't a whole lot of bookkeeping going on. Like how does that get recorded? You know, I, I think it stories, I mean if you talk to John Steel, that's what they did. I mean, John Sat at the front desk there and he was taking $5 bills and John still was his attorney. John. Well, he was actually a student. Okay. So He's a kid.

He wasn't doing this. Why was an attorney, cause that would've been a little shady, but okay. But he actually became an attorney later on, but he worked in the studio and kind of worked at the front desk and so, so he was watching these people come and go. I see. No, so he could tell you a lot at, yes. He was actually with Claire when she passed away. Yeah. Yeah. Close. Yeah. And Colorado. Now he's in Colorado and Telluride. Yes. Yeah, he's the guy. He was with Joe when Joe was dying. He said, Joe said, you know, I'm 50 years ahead of my time. That's what that was.

That was he said at that point, I think he's joy. It's actually, he said it before that. Yeah, but, but he was, you know, and he was the guy that told me it was emphysema because the oxygen is, knows this stuff. That was mom's going to be a question for me is how did he die? Yeah, he had emphysema. Okay. That was the, was he hospitalized for long? I don't know. I don't know. I know that he died in a hospital. I know that he died in a public hospital and I know they didn't have any money. It's kind of sad. Hmm. Was there a fire?

There was a fire and it was in the studio and there were stories of him going back and forth to rescue stuff, but stuff didn't occur until months and months, maybe even a year after the fire. So you can make the argument that it's all started going down here cause he in here a lot smoke but, but he smoked a lot anyways, so. Okay. I don't know. I don't know if that's the case.

Chapter 3

New Discoveries About Joe

What's the most interesting thing you've discovered about him that you personally have discovered that maybe wasn't out there yet? You know, I think for me it was like I started by saying he was married to Clara and then I realized that he was, had another wife.

And then I started doing some research before and then there was another wife before that. And then there was a kid. Okay, you gotta tell the story cause this isn't common knowledge. I don't think everyone just assumed that he was married to Clara and they referred to each other as husband and wife and they clearly loved each other to death and stuff. But we can't find any records with he ever got married, which is odd, you know, cause usually those things are public. Yes. So we don't really know for a fact. So we're thinking was a common law marriage. Okay. Um, so you start looking at when he came here and when he came here and they, they ask you, you know, who's next of kin, you know, who you're married to and, and, and basically it was Alfredo. And, and then if you look at a citizen in Rutger citizenship records, he talks about Alfredo. Um, he talks about having a daughter, um, and, and then there was this dollar, I think at that point he name was Lani. And I think that that was, I think that was the nickname. Um, and we never really found out what ever happened to Lonnie. And then, um, and, but, but the, um, the daughter was from his first wife, which is not Alfredo, which is not offered to the first wife. Where's Maria?

Okay. How do you find that out? You've heard of ancestry.com. Okay. ancestry.com gets better and better and better. And, and, and what they're doing, they're in this process of digitizing all of these old, old, old manifest sips records. [inaudible] oh, documents, you name it there. And, and then the, then they scan it and then they can actually, they can, um, they use a character recognition software and then they, then they, then they actually scan it. Then they can index this stuff. So you can actually [inaudible]. So could you scan even, could they do something from someone's handwriting?

They actually, some of the stuff they they have done, but a lot of this stuff is typed. So like it's like if you came from, if you came from a ship when New York yes. On the manifest that was typed. Okay. And they can read that stuff. Keep, not only can you just do this stuff for Joseph polities and find out, you know, that, that the ships that he came on and you can look at his, his, his uh, uh, uh, application for citizenship, which gives a lot of historical information on him. [inaudible] um, you can, you can, um, if you could read German, it actually refers to some German documents, which I haven't been able to figure out yet. So, uh, you can look at the stuff for Clara. I'm in basically Clara her, her last name was [inaudible] sooner, sooner. And so you can look thorough sooner or Anna Clara Zinner cause y'all sees is that name. And then you can start finding, you know, where her family came from and when she came over and all this stuff. And Claire, I and Joe are on the same boat. Right. So that there's no question about that. But while Joe was on that boat, he was still married to Alfredo and then she died in the thirties Alfreda did outfitted. Yes. And as far as we know, Joe was with Clara for the whole time he was here. So, so he's married.

I mean that could be why he's not married to Claire. It's kind of funny. So meanwhile, 10 years later he goes to Cuba and I find that record right. And it's us, you know, in, in, in that, that deal, it just us, you know what your sex is and w whether you're married a signal and he's writing signal. Yeah. Surprise. That's okay. So he's not saying you know anything. And then, and then as late as like 1941 or 42 when he files his job card, it does a place that says, you know, who do you, you know, how do we get ahold of you? Or worse yet, who we notify? And he just writes, Clara doesn't even put any last name probably. Cause it wasn't plotted yet. So it's a little sketchy, but it's not that sketchy.

And for a couple of reasons. Number one is lots of in Europe, people live together till the cows come. How many get married and this a very, and they have kids together. It's a very normal thing. Yeah. Yeah. So that's not sketching. And then the other thing that's not sketchy is there's no reason to believe that that no, they weren't married or you know, we knew they were living together and stuff. So it's, what about Maria, what do we know about her? Maria was a very short relationship and, and I think she died, she died. And one reason why he may have hooked up with Alfredo so, so, so quickly is because, you know, he had a kid and, and uh, Frieda took care of the kid. So, um, um, and then I later heard that child was a stranger. So I don't really know. I'm trying to find out more about that.

The more the Internet gets involved in this research, the easier it is to find this stuff. I mean some stuff to go to archives and things, you have to just go to the archives because they don't have the money to digitize all this stuff. But at some point somebody will and we'll find out stuff. So you think there's still a lot to learn? I think there's lots of [inaudible]. I really think it's, I think there's a lot to learn for a couple of reasons.

I think number one is, first of all, it's just in places where we can find it. And then I do think that people that have information that are hurting them, all I can think of is at some point the more that comes out, then all of a sudden, yeah, and theirs and theirs and they realize, okay, I'm not going to make $5 million because I've got this thing that's got Joe's signature on and it's probably with 16 cents. And you know, so I might as well share it. But right now, I think that there's still a lot of people that think that there's, you know, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and, and they have something that's can be worth $1 million in the future. I think there's a lot of that.


1 person likes this.
interesting read. Thank you Ken for sharing.
3 people like this.
Fascinating! Would love to see a book someday...
Did Romana make all the men wear dance belts? How strange.
Thank You for sharing all this information and insight
To me the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is Pilates itself (Contrology), this beautiful way of moving my body.
Ann S
Fascinating, Ken. I look forward to hearing more. Have a great holiday...
Thanks for sharing this Ken- what an amazing legacy this "showman' has left us.
Interesting to see how little of his biography is substantiated with facts and research!
I can not open the article!
1 person likes this.
Hi Justy S, we are working on fixing the link. Thanks for your patience. 

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