Discussion #2214

Jean-Claude West

120 min - Discussion


We are so honored to have Jean-Claude West on our site! In this compelling discussion, he takes us through his life, which helps us understand how he got his love of movement. He has worked with many first generation teachers including Kathy Grant, Mary Bowen, Bruce King, and Eve Gentry. His desire to keep learning led him to many modalities and inspired him to create many pieces of equipment including Functional Footprints, the JC5600, and many more prototypes. He has influenced so many of the top Pilates instructors in the industry including Elizabeth Larkam, Madeline Black, Brent Anderson, Rael Isacowitz, and more. He is often known as the "Ghost Man," but after watching this discussion, you will see just how big his presence is in the Pilates community!

We have a condensed version of this discussion if you are only interested in seeing his involvement in the Pilates community.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Jun 26, 2015
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Chapter 1


Sean [inaudible] West is a teacher of teachers. He's a movement analyst and technician with rich hands on skills and an even richer background. In addition to receiving his masters in motor control, John Claude furthered his knowledge through his own deep explorations, observations and experience in the school of life. He has collaborated with important mentors and colleagues from so many fields that he defies being identified with any single modality or being placed in a box and array of leaders from the plays, dance, body, work and fitness communities refer to John Claude and his work with deep appreciation for his insights and expertise regarding movement and physical embodiment, not to mention his various inventions supporting his work in this regard. For many years, John Claude West has been out there quietly working in the trenches with us and for us sharing his own evolutionary process and development. Now, it is my great honor to invite him forward today in conversation both to acknowledge his service and alert the larger community to his contributions. Welcome Sean Cloud West. Thank you.

I want to start with a question that I think those who have worked with you and know you will want to know. I want the answer to. And that is, um, you're, you're somewhat notorious for the people that know you for not being out on the web. You can't find a picture of you on the web. Some of, some of the people we know mutually call you the ghost man because you are so prevalent in so many communities, polarities in particular from, from my perspective. But you can't find anything about you. People talk about you, but you can't find anything about you. So my question to you is why did you decide to do this interview with us today? And thank you. Yeah. Uh, good question. Uh, I guess, you know, I've come to grips that, uh, this is a new world and uh, being in the cloud is, is the new way of, um, having your presence is no longer, you know, having business cards or websites.

It's using social media and, and believe it or not, you know, over the last two, three years, I've been a viewer plots anytime and found it actually a very important resource on many levels. Uh, you know, I've used it because, uh, in the past over four years I've been skyping internationally with clients and looking for a new ways of, of, um, in arousing their interests and movements through using [inaudible] repertory kind of movement, uh, task and, uh, found plugs, anytime, a great resource for that. But the other really advantage I have found is, is this through your mining of finding teachers from all over, uh, finally being exposed to how people teach. And, uh, it's taught me a lot on how to, um, receive and learn how to even more of how I teach. Uh, because, um, you know, we're all don't have the ideal process. And so I'm always looking for refinement and viewing other teachers on how they convey, you know, what they're trying to teach as far as tasks. Uh, so always an importance to me. Okay. And then there's a lot of what you said that I'm going to try and parse out through this interview, but one of them is, you've, you've created inventions to help teach. You've influenced some of the, the leaders in Pele's and many other disciplines.

I'm thinking of Elizabeth Larkam, Madeline black, Brent Anderson, rail I socket. You know, so, so your presence is there. And yet it, from my perspective, wanting to know more about who is this man, it almost seems like you're not interested in getting the credit. No, not at all. I mean, I, you know, uh, what I'm interested in is how, you know, whatever I present, um, you know, how it's received and then then how they bring it into their own process of teaching and how it's conveyed. So it's like this trickling effect is steering effect. So I'm more interested on that because, you know, it teaches me, you know, whether I actually taught anything, you know, because I know through different people that all have their own learning curves.

And so I learned from that, uh, because you know, the way I think is not going to be any way other people think. And, uh, so that always interests me. And it's the same way I work with when I work with clients. You know, everybody's mental control is different. And the way you Doron from that, whether it's a visual or a verbal or whatever, or using equipment or manual intervention, that adult differs and you have to learn how to, uh, morph in a situation.

Chapter 2

Childhood, School, and Martial Arts

Let, let me start at the beginning. Um, where are you from? What is your background and, and I, I, I'm really heading towards what is it about movement that is so compelling to you? So if you could start back with where you're born and were you always active?

Were you an active child? Well, I was originally born in a port Chester, New York, but then, um, my parents had moved down to northern Florida in a town in Jacksonville when I was like four and a half. And, uh, you know, Jacksonville is very much like, um, it's not like other regions of Florida. It's like Georgia. Uh, it's very southern. Um, you know, at the time I grew up in Jacksonville, it was a very backwards and very, you know, a lot of things, racially, you name it. Um, and, uh, so, you know, I, in my initial childhood, I, you know, I, I was into intramural sports but I wasn't into any kind of, um, nothing really intrigued me as far as, uh, moving quality. It was more about, you know, um, learning us, uh, strength and speed, but it wasn't where I was going. I would never, ever was I a sports guy didn't play football in a formal sense or baseball. It was all intermural sports activity, you know, through, um, my, uh, elementary school, junior high school. But it wasn't until I, um, I was my last two years of high school, I actually went to boarding school outside of Boston and that's when things really changed for me. Yeah. Before that, would you have considered yourself a mover?

Uh, no, not really. I didn't know I would, again, I didn't know. Uh, it didn't intrigue me. I, I was more of a, a kind of environmental guy. I collected butterflies and you know, salamanders, stuff like that, that valley to pin to boards or the thing. I, I, I probably collected over 50 species of butterflies. Really? No. If my other brother, my older brother and we were on butterfly collectors and, um, now he's in the fireworks and stuff like that. Blowing up things. Yeah. That's quite the contrast. Right, right, right. Butterfly collecting, just the foreshadowing. There's a lot to this man. Okay. So, so you go to boarding school? I got a brand new school, I'm 16 at the time and uh, you know, uh, again, you know, I Atlanta and Boston, very cultural town and, and uh, uh, within the first month I was there, there was a, um, Chinese international student who came from Hong Kong.

His name is Alvin low alias. Oh, clock talk. Uh, but very, it just like in the early seventies, it's dry at the height of Bruce Lee and his exposure in the film work. And, uh, one day I saw him doing a forum. We're using a staff and the Commons and uh, it's like, wow, what's that? You know, it really intrigued me, you know, with like the gray sea efficiency, how he's moving and the attention he put to every detail to what he was doing. And so that was really kind of my star point to my, my own movement education. He kind of took me on as not a formal student, but he would show me different things to do and he sought whether I was serious or not, you know, it'd be very simple tasks like doing, uh, a crescent kick over the banister of stairway and, uh, learning how to master that, you know, and that took a lot of balance and a lot of finesse to the hips.

And then also there was other, another, uh, international student from England who was in a very elite goalie and, and, uh, we had a kind of a low profile soccer team at the high school, but, uh, he made it something more and uh, yes to my, um, development and movement in, in the com food that he was teaching me, this guy from Hong Kong to learn sweeping kicks. And that was an important element to being a fullback on, in the soccer for soccer. And I began to learn the, uh, reward factor of repetition creates a more refinement of the motor control. And that's really what the, um, the exchange student, the Hong Kong did for me. He made me do one task, but he made me do it many, many, many times. And I saw the reward of that, you know, where, uh, it became part of my, uh, motor control and my coordination. And it changed me in many ways. You know, it empowered me, you know, knowing that no, repeating a task and doing it, uh, with efficiency, um, can, um, make things happen.

Um, also, you know, when I, um, graduated from the high school, I went off to college and, um, I was a, I pursued chemistry as an Undergrad. And, um, so, you know, with any kind of a science endeavor, you're also a lab rat. Right. And, uh, during that four years, I s, uh, pursued my chemistry major. Um, I presented a, a taekwondo ours from Seoul, Korea, uh, section. Ken was his name. And, and, uh, he was a, uh, four, three black belt and he really, uh, began to talk, teach me, you know, um, the importance of detail. And, uh, so he's very detailed on the, uh, technique of taekwondo and all, and it's much more regimented than the Kung Fu that was studied in high school because it, uh, it had much more of a linear newness to it. Um, the intention was of impact was a little, uh, more refined. And the fact that he was an engineering student, he, uh, really taught on that detailed level. And, um, and also during the time I was pursuing my chemistry degree, I took some elective courses and I took a kinesiology course, uh, using the book wells and looking, this is a kinesiology book. And so we had to, um, the, within that course we had to pick a movement and break it down to extreme detail. So I broke down up chuggy, which is the Korean for psychic. And, uh, within sidekick, the one thing intrigued me was very different from other martial arts styles is that when you completed the kick, you were taught to spin your hip into internal rotation. And, um, that's very different from, um, other schools of martial arts.

And I realized when I broke down that a movement that, uh, what he was teaching, what is you're going into what is known as a close pack position of the hip joint, where you have maximum congruency of the hip. So when you impact the force is not lost what you're directing. And that's why, you know, within that discipline, you know, they are also into the, uh, breaking of boards and so you can really transmit the force through that. And, um, so again, that was another empowering thing. You know, how to get, you're forced to direct outwards. So when you made impact, it wasn't rebounding back into your body. Could you break apart? Yeah, I broke three one inches and boards with my sidekick. Yeah. Three inches. Yeah. Three one inch boards. Yeah. Together, correct. Yeah, exactly. Um, but, but, uh, yeah, so that was the, uh, another movement discipline, very different from the Kung Fu. I studied. So you went, you didn't just study it for Kinesiology, you went now know, and, uh, this was a very serious endeavor because, uh, you know, when I started my freshman year, you know, within the first couple of months, we started a club and we met every day for two hours and, uh, for five days a week. And this was our thing. It was a club. It was like 10 students of science majors. And, um, and again, that's that repetition.

And then maybe within the second year, uh, I would perform like over 300 kicks a day, know where it was, different styles of kicks, you know, maybe 10 or 20 times, you know, symmetry. I tried to [inaudible], but I, I would know that because a, there was a path I had to take. It was dictated by, um, cardboard slabs that we make impact with. So it taught me that measuring, yeah, measuring incorrect. Yeah. So then you would know whether there was an asymmetry between one leg to another. And, uh, so that, uh, yeah, that's started to rouse my brain, you know, and on that kind of attentiveness, how far did you take that particular sport? Probably go like within like five years of moving into that. Uh, and then during that time it wasn't just the taekwondo.

I also studied a style called Welland pie praying mantis. And that was an animal style on mantis tiger and hooping crane. So again, I had more flow that wasn't so linear and rigid as taekwondo. So I had that as a balance. And during the whole time I also studied Tiguan and I, that was a soft style that would center me and, uh, you know, really work on, on focus as a dyed kin that I implemented through all this, all the different styles. But also during that also I skied and um, you know, and uh, I did a lot of training. Uh, you know, since I came from northern Florida, didn't have a lot of snow experience. And, um, so before I even got on skis, I trained with the ski team cause I was very intrigued by their training discipline, which incorporated a lot of plyometrics where you would be in a squad and then from the squat you would jump over a bench and land to another squad. I heard a statistic about you with your squat and I doubt it's true though.

You can hold a wall squat for how long? 30 minutes. 30 minutes. 30 minutes. That's at 90 90 90 at the hip. 90 Anthony. Yeah. Yeah. I started to see the value of uh, you know, putting endurance into that, you know, along with, uh, you know, again to perform that wall squat. You know, it all depends how you're doing it. So, um, you know, there's mastery on how they do it. So you're not just using one joint cause it's the hip, the knee and the ankle.

So you learn how to grade eight. The, uh, the demand of what you have to do. Are you, are you testing your, your ability to withstand in my, you know, suffering? Are you testing just endurance? Are you just curious? I mean, what makes, how do you sure. Because this is all reflection history. I wasn't thinking at the time, but I knew I just wanted to see how far I can go and, and I, that was my record and uh, it definitely helped when I actually got on skis and sure. Race down the hill. During that time you're doing several different things. What, what is their one sport or is there something that stood out for you as, as a favorite or what? Oh, yes. They all kind of complemented each other, you know, between, you know, the Tai Chi of course was kind of like the core because they really focused on the [inaudible] and the center and knowing what that was and knowing how to move in a very methodic way and conscious way. But when met with breath, you know, breakfast for a mentioned important part of it and being present, not thinking about other things, uh, you know, and so you incorporate that and even with your skiing, sorry, other things. I'm thinking of all this happening during a time when you're taking kinesiology and you're present, you're analyzing already, right? Um, it seems like a really good combination.

Yeah. It, it was and uh, you know, and again, you know, it was interesting to take the CUNYs course cause I know like my science courses, you know, through the chemistry studies, you know, I took it pretty seriously and then you had to memorize all the muscles and the origins and insertions, what leavers are as far as first class, second class, third class leavers and stuff like that. See you. It was already kinda teach me, you know, uh, an observation of how to look at movement cause it's not like what, how am I taekwondo teacher was teaching, he was teaching very much in that sense, you know, with how to, um, implement the task he's trying to convey. And, and so that was already setting seeds in my head on, on, on what I did in the future. I would like to know how you transitioned from being a student of movement to

Chapter 3

College and Dance

becoming this teacher of movement. Um, but I don't want to skip any big events in between. So can you just start to walk us along the line that, you know, eventually led to [inaudible] and so many other things? Sure. So it's an I, uh, you know, I, I graduated with my theory in Chemistry and I, I, uh, played in the Berkshires in Massachusetts of all places. Cause I had a very good friend who, um, I had taught at a YMC camp there and he says, here, come and join me in the Berkshires and know why you're in this hiatus. So I did.

And, um, you know, and the Berkshire's, uh, yeah, that's a big hub artist colony, and it's where Jacob's pillow is, where Ted Shawn Root, this city, St Dennis started modern dance, the pioneering of it all, a lot of theater, a lot of arts going on. And, um, so when I was, uh, I still wanted to pursue my martial arts and, um, but I found an in this town of Great Barrington and there was this, uh, dance school that, uh, had, uh, an advertisement for Tai-chi. And I went there to see a, a about it. And, uh, uh, asked the woman who ran the dance school, whether the teacher was still there and she, no, there's, there's, he's gone. That was an old advertisement. I went, oh, I was disappointed. And she says, well, you're welcome to take this, uh, adult modern dance class. And Cause I've taken a ballet class actually when I was an Undergrad.

And so I said, well, you know, I knew the, uh, it could at least keep me flexible and, uh, keep me tuned up for the martial arts, uh, cause I had already kind of put my time in on it and I just wanted to stay fit. So I took the class and, and uh, at that point, you know, with, uh, my martial arts, I had already, um, finessed a straddle split up. I had very flexible hips and, and, uh, I can put my leg by my ear and, and uh, I can actually kick almost like a six o'clock sidekick. You know, I had, yes, I kicked six o'clock. And, uh, so, uh, you know, when she saw that he saw my strength and my flexibility, uh, she really, uh, kind of pulled me, she wanted to, uh, definitely get me into her, um, her performing group that she had in residence within a school. Modern dance. Correct. Exactly. So within a year's time, I was, um, doing performance with that group. Not Say I was dancing, but she was blending in with someone like martial arts forms with some of my weapon forms and making kind of an Afro-Brazilian accent to it. And, and there I was, I was kind of hooked, you know, on the performer I liked performing. Yeah. What about it? Did you, I know it's just see, uh, it was the trans, you had to get into the focus, um, and, uh, the presence and has to somehow you get this endorphin flush, you can't get anywhere else, you know? And so then I, uh, I also became a scholarship student at a ballet school there in, uh, in the Berkshire's and also Jacob Sapelo was there. So I took classes there. But along with that, uh, um, I, uh, auditioned to, well, first I took this adult modern class outside of that school and, uh, it was actually a class, the teacher was my, uh, future wife and, uh, she asked me to be a, um, performer in a piece that she was auditioning for a, uh, a state grant.

And, uh, that's how we met. And, um, yeah. Was it love at first sight pretty much. And did you dance together? We danced together, but we didn't really get together until months later. But, uh, you know, if it's just the whole rehearsal process, you know, very intimate I would assume. Right. I'm curious just when you're at Jacob's pillow, which is, um, for those who don't know, Joseph [inaudible] taught there I think in the summers. Um, and with the child. And I don't know if, if that was a known, you know, at the time, I think we're talking, wait, what years are we talking, by the way?

So we're talking early eighties, early eighties. So generally people don't know about Palazzos, but did at Jacob's pillow, I'm guessing they might. Did you ever hear about it? Never heard of [inaudible]. Uh, but you know, I took class with the Paul Taylor Company and Jose Limo there cause they, they'd come up there and be artists in residence. And so I got the flavors and um, but I know what really turned me on to dance more anything else is when I saw Paul Taylor perform at this, um, a theater called the egg and Albany. And, um, it was right at the point, I think David Parsons, who was a major male dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company was, uh, you know, having his first year with the company. I went, whoa. I said, that's incredible because, you know, Paul Taylor really highlights the male dancers, Morrison as partner companies that really got me the bug.

Just his ability, his a and other performers, other male dancers. I'm not this highlighting hand, but is there something about that, you know, it's this, uh, it's set me off to, to really want to pursue this as much as I could. So did you become professional? No, no, no, no. Semi-Professional. I, you know, I got paid a little bit, but it was more of this, the performing, I never could, uh, put that kind of time. I think, you know, I began to realize later on that, uh, I wouldn't say I wasn't an artist, but you know, it takes a certain sacrifice to become a dancer on a professional level. There's a lot of time in between, a lot of rehearsing and, uh, my brain was racing in other direction. Uh Huh. Yeah. Where was it going? Where did you go?

So you're a Jacob's pillow just for the time being. Yeah, while I was living in [inaudible] it was accessible. I wasn't living at Chicsville, but I just live in the Berkshires here. Right, okay. But w were you actually living in the brochures or were you just there [inaudible] I live in the Berkshires for a four or five years. Yeah. And it actually, uh, during that time, you know, while I decided I wasn't gonna Pursue Chemistry and I started to pursue dance and kind of pursue it, I wasn't gonna pursue it. I did for a little while, but, um, you know, I had to find other jobs to make a living, you know, and also at learned to have a job that has time schedule that was more, um, flexible so I could take class, go to rehearsals and, um, I became a, a stained glass restore. I, I, our apprentices artisan who restored church Catholic windows. And so I had to, um, put build giant scaffoldings and it was 70 feet high to pull up rosary windows and, and be able to manage 40 foot ladders.

That's a lifetime profession for some they didn't know. We always, you know, again, I, I, I worked hard at it and, uh, and uh, so then my, um, well she wasn't my wife at the time, but Ana, uh, we, uh, found she got a, a fellowship at Smith College in North Hampton, Massachusetts. And, uh, so we moved to North Hampton and during that time I decided I would pursue a little academic. So I pursued some of the, uh, um, the courses and the a program called biomechanics at Umass Amherst. And, uh, while I was taking these courses, uh, there's in north Hampton, there's this, um, market called Thornes market and in thorns market on the third floor, there's this, there's this gym, it was called your own gym. And I went in there and it looked very arcane and it had, you know, all the equipment is made out of wood and metal and had these springs plots. And this was the gym owned by Mary Boleyn. And so this is the time I got my first exposure to Galatia.

You just go into the market, the market meaning like a food market and then has restaurants and department stores. But on the third floor they had had this, uh, performance space called the gallery. And then you're on gym. And, um, I go in and I see that and I say, wow, this is intriguing. So, you know, and it was at this time, you know, we're talking, this is probably 83, you know, was 1983. And, uh, I go in there and it's like $60 for the summer and you get a private lesson once a week and $60 for the whole summer. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And, uh, kind of times of change. And I had this, uh, German woman teacher, uh, who taught me privates, who taught me the repertory. And, and, uh, I went at it and I began to learn. And what was great about what Mary Bowen had constructed was I learned a lot of the repertory I learned more so than any other place because she has steady with a lot of the first-generation teachers along with Joe Ansel and Claire. And so I got exposed to a lot of the repertory. So what was your first impression of Kalata then? You talked about the space,

Chapter 4

First Exposure To Pilates

but yeah, so I walk in and I see the equipment, you know, I say I'd done some weight training and use that. You use the universal machine, kind of this multipurpose, uh, um, apparatus. You can train every muscle in your body, whatever one piece. And, and, uh, so when I saw the plots and I saw springs, you know, what does, what is that gonna do to you? You know, that's not enough resistance to create strength. Well, not the case. You know, this a teacher went after me, you know, and you know, I realized that, uh, my core wasn't as strong as I thought it was cause I was, you know, head straight from the court within the context of my martial arts.

But I'm not within the context of PyLadies where a pitch was much more demand on, um, that's spinal support. And, um, and I, I liked the idea that it, uh, it really, I felt more integration as I was doing it. Like when I got on the reformer and I started to use a leg press work, but not to think of play pressing to develop stronger quads but feel integrated through the leg press work. So it wasn't about how many springs I had on it, but the, how I implemented the, uh, the leverage [inaudible] was that an easy transition mentally? I mean, especially coming from weight, some weight training, you know, um, they kind of grabbed me. It did. Yeah. It kind kinda grabbed me. Uh, like I said, there were certain things I couldn't do at first, you know, and I had to build in the motor control to, to get there. And as I said, you know, the full volume repertory was there. And as we know, uh, plotting is this endless as far as uh, what you can do and know with all the different pieces of equipment.

Okay. Keep going. Tell me more. This is great. So now you've met Mary Bowen at some point. Yeah. You certainly not in a way I didn't, I didn't meet very Bowen cause now she was the owner and she, you know, is, is a, a young and analyst. So, and she had her practice both in, uh, Connecticut and New York and then up in Massachusetts. She wasn't there at the time, so I was there at the time. So I didn't really meet her when I was, uh, studying at your own shown.

And, but also, uh, as I said, I was pursuing a master's, some master courses in biomechanics and was doing motion analyst doing forced plate work, um, more kinese courses, static dynamic courses in engineering program. But it was pretty sterile. I didn't, it wasn't, I was just doing it to kind of, you know, as my wife is pursuing or any future way was pursuing her MFA at Smith College. Um, but during that time, uh, there was probably one of the first dance medicine symposiums here at Umass Amherst where they brought in this orthopedists, uh, from Boston named Lyle Mckaley, who's one of the Dance Orthopedics Pioneers, Ruth Solomon, who's one of the big dance kinesiologists along with a couple of other speakers. And along with that, with Martha Myers, who was the, uh, um, she was the head of the, uh, uh, American dance festival and also at the head of the dance department, Connecticut College. Okay. And, uh, somehow I got to meet with her and we had lunch and she was wondering my, about my interests in, uh, science, the movement and how I was putting out the dance. And then she invited me to come down to the Connecticut College to teach a class with talking about how you can not work with some of the, uh, constructs with physics and dance, you know, either through partnering or technique. So I went down and kind of like, um, winded and I taught a class here.

But along with that, I met a modern dance teacher there named Shirley Houlihan, who was a, uh, a company member of large Lubovitch. And, um, she says, oh, see you, have you studied plots before? And I said, well, I am doing a little Polonius at this gym called Urine Gem. She as well, you know, you should really go down there in New York. And there's this teacher that I work with who really transforming. It's just look, and she hyper extended her knees and her knees pointed inward. She just, I learned not to do that through this teacher. And I said, wow, who was that? And she said, it was this woman named Kathy Grant. Oh Wow. And, um, so at this time I was already, um, uh, put my a emissions in for, uh, Columbia Teachers College. And this program called motor control.

And I got in and so I was going to be moving down to Manhattan. So, um, Mary Bowen on said that she would write a letter for me for, to, uh, be introduced to Kathy grandkids. Cat Grant was quite difficult to get into, to write a letter yeah. To write a letter of introduction. So, sorry, just for timeline year, we're now in 84. Five, yeah. 84, 85. Yeah. And to that end, Kathy would have been at Bendel's at that time. And you, you had, you couldn't just go in and pay money. No, I know you, you had to pay your dues. Tell me. Oh, she, she had all the, uh, who's who, so, you know, we don't have, uh, both in the dance world and also in the, uh, the social world. And, um, so Mary writes a letter saying it's a letter of recommendation. It's a letter recommendation. Yeah.

And so it took me about maybe six weeks to get into, and then I finally arrive. And, um, there's, I go up to Bendel's and, and uh, you know, then, I don't know, I'm sure the story has been told many times, but no, it was a floor you got off of it was the, um, hairstylist and, and you had to walk down this hallway and to the right where the restaurants and to the left of us, this exercise room, you walk in, it's this low ceiling, two in a square foot area. Wow. And there's Cathy grant right at the entry point, uh, with your equipment. And it was, it's a full studio, full studio. You know, we had a Cadillac to reformers and a ladder barrel and a small barrel and a couple of mats. But you know, she had anywhere between three to five people working at a time. And that's small space, but they all respected their spaces. And, um, so the first thing that, uh, she noticed with my head alignment, my head was a little off in my sternal notch here.

And so I had to go through this trial of a lying supine on my back and putting a ping pong ball on, on the notch and my sternum and just bringing my head up symmetrically. And uh, I had to do that for several weeks, just that, you know, cause she wanted to see me do that symmetrically before she would have broadened my repertory. Okay. First thing that comes to mind is it reminds me of your 300 kicks that you were doing. But the second thing and maybe more outstanding is what would make you stay. That's a good, good point. Um, I mean a ping pong ball on your right. I mean, I know. Okay.

What would make you stay at that point? Oh, I think it was more because I was scanning and I was looking around what other people are doing and they were doing these crazy tasks. I mean, it's hard to describe what the magic circle or being inverted and breathing and they're all in their own little ivory towers, you know, they're not looking around. They were very attentive to what they were doing. And I think that was the intrigue. Who, who are you working out next to? You know, who are the types of people in there? You said? I think there were all, there were dances with some of the major modern dance companies and New York City ballet and, yeah. And, but again, there were a lot of, um, people in the New York social world that I didn't know, but they were quite the who, the suits. So that explains a little bit of why you couldn't just go into, right, right, exactly. I mean, she had no problem with market. What, what, what, what was the session cost at that time? $13 and 80 cents and 80 cents.

1380 that was a tax, some other tax amount. Was that a lot, did it seem like a lot or no, I would seem relatively, yeah, I think he knows him that it was a stretch for my mind, my pocket. Sure. For sure. And how often would you go? I think I was going maybe a twice a week. Yeah.

Chapter 5

Career In Movement

When I went down to New York City to live there to pursue my degree at, uh, and motor control, uh, when my wife was teaching at a small school called a Simon's rock college in Great Barrington. Uh, one of the people who said the dance department there, uh, who was from Tennessee, um, had some friends that started this one-on-one fitness center right when new personal training was starting on the upper east side. And they were looking for people to train to take on their clients.

And their names were Gideon, Patty Cohen. And the gym was called Poly Gym. And it was on the upper east side on 75th, between first and York. And when I went there, it was this beautiful gym. It had stayed at yard equipment, uh, very, you know, art deco and interior design. And, uh, the clientele was, you know, Broadway people, investment bankers, cause it was a pretty high budgeted, um, fee for, for working there. So we would rent the space, they would supply the clientele and then we'd also bring in our own clientele there. So this is one-to-one training, which was pretty new at that time at the time. Exactly. Okay. So your, your, sorry. Um, can you remind me how you got there?

And this is through the a colleague of my future wife, Ana or my wife, I should say my wife now ana, uh, who the owners of this gym were, um, uh, friends of the, uh, head of the dance department where my wife taught at Simon's rock college. And so you, did they just offer you a job or how did you, how did it come to be that you went to work for them? There's a little bit of it have an audition period, but you know, they saw, they know that I had a, a good head for it and was serious about working with the, uh, the clientele. So now you're in school for motor control, you're taking Palase days and um, and you've become a personal trainer. Personal trainer doesn't make money. Yeah, correct. So you're getting, you know, the, it's funneling into, isn't it? Yeah. Two, two really focused movement study is how I'm seeing it. And, and it just so happens to be with Kathy grant and Mary Bone Studio and, right. It's fascinating. Please continue.

Yeah. So, um, so why am I in Pauley gym? I'm working with these, um, very type a guys who were definitely bankers who really want the best of the best. And uh, you know, they also had injuries, you know, they were in their 50s and uh, they had suffered, you know, injuring their shoulders of the lower back. And you know, like any kind of a strengthening is one of the biggest challenges cause you're really perturbing the system and it can compromise. So I decided I need to learn more beyond my can use courses I took as an undergrad years ago. And so I went down in the Barnes and nobles and started taking, uh, books out like I coupon, chief physiology of joints, surely Simon's work. Um, Carl de Rosa, James Portobello. I mean, I tried to just soak it up, you know, it's try to learn as much as I can. You know, I, I wasn't trying to be a clinician, but I had to troubleshoot and I wanted to understand the infrastructure of the body and, and, um, and I think that's when I really started to think, wow, this might be something I wanted do. Cause at the time I was doing the, uh, motor control program, I was thinking maybe even going into research on the vestibular Oregon, you know, or whatever, cause you could take on that kind of focus. [inaudible] and, um, I didn't know where I was going with it. And so this was, I can start to feel the morphing, uh, the intrigue, you know, and, and seeing, you know, these people get better posturally and also their pain was being reduced. Again. I know I wasn't trying to be a physical therapist, but I had a troubleshoot.

So is it the, um, the investigation of how you're going to help these people or is it the implementation? I think it was, it was all [inaudible]. It was all, you know, it was, uh, it was the learning curve, the implementing of the learning curve. And then the, uh, the results, the result, the result. Yeah. He's telling me a story about an accountant when we briefly talked about some of this. Um, [inaudible] oh yeah, yeah, that's just the accounting of a big investment confirmed this actually had his fame because it's actually part of the Wall Street movie. I won't go any further in that. Um, but, uh, and I thought, cause I, I know a little inside story there too. But anyway, I had the, uh, director of accounting and um, he was a, he had a profile of being a very round shouldered, humbled. Um, and over time I kinda transformed and where his skull shoulders began to retract. He more extension of thoracic spine.

He got taller because of that. And his colleagues at the, uh, the firm noticed it and they go, wow, what are you doing? So then I started to get a wave of the whole infrastructure of this particular firm. And, uh, it was very cool. And, uh, and then I started to get other people and a, I'll never forget this one story. This was wild. You know, if I were to actually start clients at 6:00 AM because since I had to get to work, sure. And, uh, I realized how empowered I was when one day I had doubled book and there was these two guys that I had to make a decision on who I was going to work with and they were pretty darn serious about it. And you know, these guys, these guys are in the mid to late fifties and uh, and sorrowful themselves, powerful themselves. Right. You know, and they did not want to give up their hour. So I had to flip a coin. Well, guess what? The guy who lost, he got down on his knees, he started pounding the floor, right? Cry. Yes they did. This is a guy that makes five or $10 million a year, you know, it's like, oh my God. I was like totally, totally taken away.

What did you do? What does one do? I worked with the guy who won the coin flip. It's just the way of the coin. Just the wave of the coin, right? That's exactly. So then I went, whoa man, I have some power here. It was good to hear you say that too. So, okay. So you're on to something. You're liking it on a subject. So getting, yeah, I'm doing this. I'm going to Cathy's. And then, um, you know, again, Cathy had a lot of high profile people and I'll, I forget this one time, uh, there was this shy young teenage boy who, um, uh, she was working with and along with his mother and, and uh, I was there and she said, John, John, you got to walk to come to town. Yeah, she called me. John says, yeah, you got take this guy to the gym. He needs, he needs a gym.

He doesn't just need PyLadies cause he has this problem with his knee. So I, um, I took him up to my gym and I worked with them and, uh, uh, and actually I had a real success on turning his knee around cause he had this particular structural anomaly had from a soccer injury that, uh, US somehow I was able to, uh, navigate them in the right way, getting the balance and, uh, pain management got better. And I'd say again, it was that success, you know, wow, I actually succeeded on this. And, uh, but the hilarious thing is that, uh, about three months into it, the director of the a gym gimme Cohen said, do you know, do you know who you were working with? And it was this pretty famous Broadway actor performer. And I went, oh my God. Oh No, I had no idea. Matthew Broderick is Matthew probably. Right, right. And either and wait, wait, wait. I'm sorry. I keep asking you. The year we're still in 85 or 86. So 88, 86. Yeah.

So Ferris Bueller is probably very recently and you don't know who he is, right? I don't know yet. You're just, it didn't matter. It didn't matter. I've had occasions like that all through my career. But yeah. And so along with that I had another case study where there was his son, this dancer who also had a knee injury that I brought up to the gym. And I know the fact that dancers and anybody I worked with her pro bono, we worked with like three or four days a week, you know, and within three months again, she got better and she was able to perform again.

This is during the time we're dancing. Sports medicine wasn't really there yet. It was this is evolving. And um, so, you know, I was out on my own. You're trying to figure it out, you know. And so I realized how cath related you had to be, you know, you had to be, you know, whatever they're striving for you, I'd respect that in somehow make it efficient, make it work. Whether they were the business exact or exactly whatever. Sacrificing dancer. Right, exactly. So you're at the poly jam.

I feel like I read about that even when I was, cause I was a personal trainer much later, but I was in the aerobics world at that time. And I remember hearing about these high end one-on-one gyms and sit and just kind of makes me curious, what would someone pay for a lesson there? I always like to pay an average 80 a hundred dollars. Okay. Yeah. That's quite a lot. Quite a lot. Yeah. And I was having to pay a $20 in rent for each time I rent as a space. Yeah.

So that's pretty high training during that period. Yeah. And especially when you're working with dancers and who aren't able to afford that kind of thing. Right, exactly. But yeah. And so having that success with that one day answer, no, I started to work with more dancers and again I would have worked them pro bono at the gym as long as he was nice. He's cause he two directories giving him, Patty Cohen wouldn't charge me as long as I wasn't charging cause they, they respected the arts and they wanted to do that as a pro bono thing. And so we did, I did that for awhile. And then when I graduated from my, um, my program, uh, my wife also had great graduated from our MFA program, has Smith and we, um, we didn't know what we wanted to do. And, uh, so this is in 1985 and we took a pilot trip out to San Francisco and, uh, kind of big, we were kind of intrigued with the whole bay area and we looked around and we actually went to St Francis and I think there was just like, uh, a reformer down in the basement. We knew that that was there. St Francis Hospital. Yeah. Uh, so it was just starting, you know, as far as plot as being in the dance medicine scene. Um, but we decided not to, to move out if the 1985 and so we came back and we, um, dove in to New York again and my wife pursued her, uh, uh, dance career there.

Chapter 6

Building Equipment

No, I, I worked at the gym for another, I think another year and a half, like 85 to almost 87 and realized that, you know, I was again now putting in about 30 to 40 hours a week. So I was spending a lot of money in rent. Right. And I said, wow, this is crazy. Throwing out all that money in rent. So I decided to open my own space. So I found this a loft, a down in Noho north of the house. Then it was on Bleecker street between Lafayette, Bowery pioneering in a way, because it was not the, she she neighborhood is now. Um, and uh, so what was it like? It was kind of Daryl like it, you know, cause it's near the Bowery and it had a lot of crack dealing and you had to respect, you know, after eight o'clock you're going to watch your watch your back. Um, I'm just thinking like, I know now who your clients are.

Are you thinking they're going to come with you down to that sector? [inaudible] I was thinking more of now narrowing it down to dancers. Oh. And, uh, so, uh, this law off was 2,500 square feet. I had like a 1200 square foot work area along with the living area at the time. I, um, my wife had a a part time job as an assistant to a, a Broadway producer and he had a handyman carpenter that I used and he brought down this table selling everything. And, um, I got the patents of the uh, applied use equipment from Mary Bowen's husband who was a carpenter. Yeah. And then I also took measurements off of, uh, Kathy's equipment and I built, uh, two sets of my own equipment, you know, two reformers, a trap table, high trap table, high low table, a tall chair, small chair, ladder, barrel, small barrel. But along with that I also bought, um, for a refurbished to analysis equipments I have is kind of married to, to my days apology. I had thought they had a lot of value.

[inaudible] I really wanted to bring them with me. A lot of questions coming out of this one. Um, first of all, Kathy and Mary obviously knew you were doing this right. They were in support of you even though I guess technically your competition. Okay. Yeah, we'll kind of, but you know what I mean. Kathy had no problems.

Okay. Okay. Got It. Got It. And Mary's in several places. Right. Um, and, and that you had to make your equipment, was there no place to order it? Was there or not really? I mean, yeah, you know, balanced body wasn't there, you know, that kind of volume. You had to wait a long time. And plus I didn't really know about the existence of current contract and current concepts at the time. And um, so I got sample springs from on Kathy there cause I think there was one company in Connecticut called Newcombe Spring Company bought, made the strings for Romana and some of the other plots of Carola's studio. Um, but I decided not to go that route and I found this guy named Ernie suckler who had this spring company called ABC springs.

And I gave him the samples and it was wild. I mean I went into his, uh, shop and it was total chaos. He's shot. You realize how large these machines are that make the springs, but they're here. No, I gave him a sample of springs. He got his calpers out and measured the length and what it was made of, blah, blah, blah. And so he, uh, he made springs for me and it became, and so I actually, um, well it's going into history, but, um, uh, he made springs for other people through my, uh, my connection along with Julio Horvath haunt, you know, was he had springs at the time for, uh, for his Gyrotonic tonics. Yeah. Introduced Ernie [inaudible]. So you knew Julio Horvath? Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah, I mean, I don't know enough to maybe ask the right question, but there's Jean-Claude west and now Julio Horvath in the late eighties radio, actually this was the early eighties, when we, we met when I think in 84. And this is because, um, when I was down at Columbia and I was living on the lower east side, I was taking modern classes, you know, also I was still pursuing dance because I was actually performing with my wife, uh, and the MFA program, when she had pieces that she was doing, we did some duets. And, um, so there was this one dance teacher Tiera throne who, uh, do my intrigue or you know, with, uh, Palladio's and whatnot, you say, oh, you gotta check out this other system called gyro tonics. And, uh, it was up on 29th street. And, uh, I met Julie Horvath and checking it out, just checking it out. Yeah.

And I, I took, uh, uh, solo classes with them, private classes with him along with his companion at the time, Hilary Cartwright, and, um, you know, he was making equipment out of plywood, he found in dumpsters and you know, he was right at his curdling of, uh, of, uh, his system. You know, he's amazing what he's evolved over the 30 years, uh, from when the time I knew him. I mean, what's your impression? I mean, when you go in, did you like it? Oh, I, I, it was, it was phenomenal. Uh, it was very intriguing and very different from Palladio's, you know, very, you know, he, uh, he based it on Kinda legal guys. There was a lot of yoga breathing and um, you know, he was also an acupuncturist, you know, he was a master of many things and he was, he was killing something, a new system out of nowhere. And it was, uh, people know about it yet. Now it was very cultish. She was, you know, pretty much in the dance community because at that time, you know, just through my impression w it, it was extreme for a non mover to do, that's not true today. But during that time, you know, you had to have some pretty enhanced motor controls to perform the tasks, I would think that would appeal to you personally get, okay. Did you take it for long with them for over two years? Two and a half years. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I, I this equipment, I had the uh, non-squamous and again, some of my equipment was kinda accustomed, like especially my trap table.

I made it, it's hard to explain, but it had extensions beyond that. The rectangular cage you have above. Um, because you know, with the speed rail and the tubing you can do anything, you know, as far as construct. And so I kind of made my own things. I even made a, um, a seated a rowing machine that I, uh, mimic the mechanics of a Kaiser pneumatic air pressure machine. Yeah. We had independent ways of retracting the scapula and rotating the spine. And uh, I liked that lever, so I wanted to keep that, but I made my own and I actually bent the tubing and then all this stuff, you know, and I had a welders down in the, in the neighborhood because anyone New York, you can find anything. And especially canal street, Canal Street has hardware stores Galore and you can find any piece of hardware you want.

But I guess I'm trying to pinpoint what, I mean, not a carpenter, but you are a biome. Mechanist a lot of carpentry because actually during a two summers when I was an Undergrad, uh, my calculus professor was built houses and I assisted in building houses. So I learned how to work with power tools and routers and table sols. And you mentioned scaffolding and scaffolding, right? Yeah. And so I knew I didn't know how to create a joint, a solid joint. Yeah. Yes you do. I've worked with you. Okay.

It's just fascinating to me that, um, you know, we, we can be so particular about our equipment and why did they change this or why did they change that? And yet it never occurs to us to make it how we need it. And so, um, just hearing that as a difference today, and it wasn't that long ago that you were needing to create what you needed. Yeah. And so I, I made a lot of prototypes, which are not any assistance anymore, you know, like a, uh, assisted jumping machine. Um, I had a kind of a standing sliding machine now, like what a is in the Gyrotonic, but um, you know, I didn't feel like I was copying from that because I actually saw a presentation at a physical therapy conference where there was already a plastic slider that did that task. So I didn't feel like I was, um, plagiarizing something else. Yeah. So, uh, so I made my own, but on top of that, uh, this is when the disc entered my head. I saw, I had it also a fit tron bike. It's a bike made by Cybex. Okay.

Which made rehab equipment and I got newsletters and this one newsletter arrived and I never forget, 1988 and there was this prototype, seated and standing, um, red Regis machine that worked on the rotary, uh, stabilization at the knee and the hip. And you stand on it, you stand on it or you sit and you rotate the, the, uh, the desk. And I went, wow. I said, it's like a lazy Susan. I can do that. So that's when I started to apply lazy susans on the sliding thing. So I had a sliding turning out machine. Uh, and I used to, Lacy's isn't a lot for, for the standing leg in the dance context is always working on that externally rotated hip position. And there's a few other products now and the is world that we all use that I don't have her name all over. I'm so share what? So during that time I realized that, you know, using a lazy Susan, in order to be Mesh or synchronize your mechanical axis of your leg to the mechanical axis, that's the Lazy Susan. You know, the center point of the Lazy Susan said, true pivot point. Any beyond anything beyond the center point of the Lazy Susan and Arc. And that's not how the hip works. You know, you really want to be on the center point of the Lazy Susan.

But in order to do that, you'd have large lazy susans to support the foot. Therefore your feet would be too far apart. So I had to figure out a wave, well, how can I do that? So I created a device called the functional footprints, along with my colleague Katie Keller. Just a whole nother story, um, which, uh, use the three inch lazy susans and it was a shape of a foot, but the lazy Susan was right at the pivot point of where the mechanical x, so the leg is, which is right on above the cuboid navicular, you know? Right, right. Where the medial arches and, and you can buy these today, you can buy these today. A balanced body balanced body is the vendor for the functional class on Poloniex. Anytime that's functional offense riding Zack Clark and correct. But anyway, um, yeah. How long ago did you make that? Okay, yes. Yeah. So those, those evolved in the, uh, the winter of 92. Wow.

And, um, that happened, uh, because, um, my, again, a friend Katie Keller, this colleague, she was a physical therapist, uh, that specialize in dance medicine, has this clinic called westside dance medicine who has this, um, the director of that clinic is Marika Molnar and she's really the, the pioneer dance medicine. She's been at it for since the late seventies. And she's the in health physical therapists in New York City ballet since then. Since then, she was the first in house physical therapist for any major dance company in the world. So she was to serve at all. Um, but, um, and there were other therapists, Liz Henry, Katie Keller, Marcus Marshall, Hagans, uh, quite a staff, but Katie and I teamed up, um, because we really wanted to, uh, present at this symposium called the international dance medicine posting. I Adams in the year of 1993 is this, it was like in the May of 93. Anyway, uh, it was at a hospital, uh, that, uh, had a whole special center for dance medicine. Um, and, uh, so we decided to present on scoliosis. So Katie did a lot of ideological research on what has in the past had been known with scoliosis and Winston present realized there wasn't anything really specific to scoliosis. So, uh, we, uh, chant on it and we developed a machine called the back machine, which is an acronym standing for the biomechanical asymmetry corrector of movement along with the functional footprints at the same time. At the same time, I'm part of that system.

It's all part of this system. They see your back. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, exactly. So we presented and we were a very highly reviewed and um, it suggests system since then and then again as if this was 1993 that I have used since then. So the discs that we use is that part of in Pele's, in the swivel, this the back there are padded so that you can lie on them so that it can on both, uh, create a, a writer demand at the pelvis and also the rib cage so it can correct a lot of coronal deviations in the spine. And, um, but it hasn't all evolution going from lying down or Supine to quadro pad to standing. And then it also has a, um, within it, it has a, a spring loaded lever, not a lengthy foot chair. So it allows you to, uh, created, supported on leveling of the pelvis, which creates side bending of the spine and, uh, so that, who would use this whole system? Anybody? Anybody? Oh, anybody. Because, um, we all have asymmetries, you know, and we have biases and is why, um, you know, we have a tight right performers or, or or tight quandary. Yeah. Do trainings on it.

Yeah. So let me just backtrack cause I want to,

Chapter 7


I want to be back on Bleecker Street and incentive studio. You've been, you're starting to make things, um, you, you're seeing a little bit of what Julio Horvath is doing, I guess at this time. Um, I was very careful not to a thought borrow or you know, uh, try to do what he's doing. Even gay system is very, very unique. Sure. And I certainly didn't want to, um, I, I re respected that and um, but uh, I'll never forget one day, it was in 1990, um, at this time I was working a lot with professional dance community and, um, I worked a lot with the companies Lard Lubovitch and I had a, there was this company being formed called the white oak project. It was a cofounded both by Mark Morrison, the calibration call.

And uh, they had their first [inaudible] process in the spring of 1990. And I get this phone call from one of the, uh, one of my friends and members of the company and he says, you gotta come down, you know, um, we to have somebody to work on our bodies. And along with, uh, uh, Nisha Lisa because, uh, at the time, uh, when Nisha, uh, started this company, uh, his physical therapist who know, cause he's very, um, respects, uh, you know, that therapy is needed for all the answers. Cause they were constantly tweaking the body. But, uh, the therapists in American ballet theater at the time was locked up, you know, with the ballet theater. So couldn't come down. And not that I was gonna substitute for him, but you know, they wanted to bring balance, somebody who can work, uh, with their bias to keep their bodies intact. Bring down where was white oak? Oh, white oak was actually going back down to where I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where she actually was in St Mary's Jurich, Georgia, which is like an hour, 15 minutes north of Jacksonville. You had to lay in [inaudible], you had to land in Jackson to get the wide, yeah.

Which was kind of bizarre. It's like a big spic circle for me. And, uh, so I went, oh my God. And at this time I, you know, I didn't work a lot with my hands. I worked a lot with cuing on the equipment cuing, motor control, but, um, you know, wasn't working heavily with my hands, you know, as far as intention. So I really wanted to have equipment. I went, oh my God, what am I going to do? So, um, I am not gonna take the whole studio, right? I can't take the studio. And so I, I had this, a very good friend of mine, Daniel Peters, who was a dancer along with being this incredible carpenter who, um, in the past had made equipment for some of my clients who wanted to have their own equipment but didn't like the, um, utilitarian look of polities.

So what did he make the equipment out of rosewood than being good tiger woods and even the, um, the aluminum was with veneered with Bingo wood and he, he used plastic darts for joinery and they were gorgeous pieces of equipment. So I said, Daniel, you gotta help me out. You know, what am I going to do? So, um, and also, you know, the, uh, one of the dancers was six was four, so I didn't really make the reformer for his dimensions, so I had to make the equipment a bit longer. So I, um, kind of conceptualized as, um, four and one pieces of equipment, which is a reformer, a, a trap table, a partial trap table, a chair and a mat and all in one ad. But it also had to come apart. It couldn't just be, cause I didn't know how it was going to ship it. So, uh, through Daniels and eyes, you know, knocking our heads together, we figure out a way of using the kind of the bed rail, kind of locking of profiles to um, assemble the machines. So you literally pick the sides on and it would lock into place. But we also had to find a structural way of keeping it square. So I, you know, with speed rail, which is used for the construct of the trap table, I had this infrastructure of the speed rail as being a way of keeping the things square as you assembled. And the, and the, uh, talking about the tubing, the tubing, yeah, yeah, yeah. The tubing in the, in the, in the cabinet, the cast aluminum couplings.

Now you can do anything with that as far as concert they're using. They use it for railing systems, you know, through all the, uh, you know, all different ways. Anyway, so, um, we quickly got to sing together and it was, uh, it was pretty incredible. Um, and uh, it assembled and became a part and a half hour. That's the invention. I mean, that's [inaudible] believe it or not, from idea to construct two and a half weeks. No Way. Yeah. Yeah. It was pretty, pretty, pretty radical. And it was made out of, yeah, it was made out of Paducah wood, which is a, you know, in the Rosewood family, very hard built like steel. So cause I was worried about the woodworking, you know, during the weather change, the admitted. Anyway, this wood doesn't do that. It's very hard. It's hard to steal a, so it's quite, quite beautiful in two weeks. Three and a half weeks. Yeah. And uh, and they traveled initially I had ski bags. They would put the profiles in, uh, along with other bags and, uh, [inaudible] I only had to pay like, uh, I think $75 extra for shipping on the plane. What is this called? It's, well, you know, it's funny cause I saw one of my clients that you've got to come up with the name, you know? Yeah. So I don't know what my calling is. Well, you've got to have your name on it, you know, I said, well, how about your initials? And I said, well, okay, JC, what year were you born?

I said 56. Oh, I'll call it the JC 5,600. So that was the name she sent her in Soc Europe was born. That's fantastic. Where is it a, I don't know. Somehow it's disappeared. Um, you know, I, um, I put it underneath the house and somehow it got lost anyway. It traveled a lot. It's, uh, I, I, you know, not only brought it down to white oak, I brought it up to Toronto, Canada, but I also even brought it to Italy cause I, one time I had this, uh, occasion where this, um, Italian cardiologists came down and first pursued this one teacher, teachers, oh no, you've got to get it. Sean Claude West. You know, cause I started develop a high profile that now that I had worked with the cal version of call Mark Morris. Um, and uh, so he came down and said, so you're the guy, you know, I hear you had this piece of equipment, I want to bring you over to Italy and I want to manufacture your piece of equipment. So, um, he brought me over to his clinic, was [inaudible] outside of Mulana. And, uh, he had this center for sports medicine, was signed for elite runners who ran marathons and 10,000 meters from Kenya and Morocco. And, uh, and along with that he had a very good friend who was a carpenter. And so I had the blueprints of my equipment and we worked in this old carpentry and built a prototype and it was pretty radical.

I don't know whatever happened to it, but, uh, along with that, we got there work with some of the runners, but they were pretty superstitious. They didn't want me to champion with their body too much. But the one thing I did bring over is some foam rollers at the time. They're called Felden Christ rollers, you know, the six inch diameter white foam rollers. And, uh, this was like a 90, 91, 92. And, um, I worked with this one guy who, you know, I had no idea, but when you run around a track, the tracks bang for, um, not only for the runner, but his back paying for irrigation.

So you're always adapting, shortening your inside leg so that like, that need gets compromised. Your, you usually get ITB tightness because of it. So I had this runner rock, a roll on the foam roller, and, uh, he seemed to like that. And I'll never forget when I came back about a year later, I was watching the Wildrose sports and who was out in center field. But this guy rolling probably out as ITB bad. I'll maybe see you. Our sports is pretty old. I had some effect there.

Yeah. Anyway, so that, so the JC fix hundred taking kind of different journeys, but eventually, uh, I had, um, current concepts make it better and uh, I don't know how many you made, but I don't know what the numbers are, but there was quite a few, uh, especially, uh, several my students, I'm gonna, it's like the, you know, talk about universal reformer. It's like universal studio. It's not really a, you know, a c e the grouping of all those pieces of equipment, but it allows you a lot of creativity. And I think since then people have really adapted the combination of using the, the vertical post of the trap table to assist on doing some of this stuff you do on the reformer. [inaudible]

Chapter 8

Louis Schultz of Rolfing

tell me how Lewis Schultz comes into the picture. I've seen footage at Bleecker street with you and he working together. Um, first of all, maybe tell us, you Lou Lewis shelters for anyone who doesn't know.

Yes. And, and how did you come to know him and what impact did he have on you? Yeah, it all comes back to my, um, star point in Manhattan when I was pursuing my PR program at Columbia and, uh, working at poly gym and the, uh, the two owners giving and Patty Cohen, um, they're very, um, they, they themselves were kind of the melting pot point a pod as far as modalities. And, uh, they had a very good friend Rashawn Evans is for offer, who was an American lived in Italy, who, whose teacher, uh, with Blue Schultz and Louis Scholtz was this internationally renowned rolfing teacher, Vance Rolfer. And uh, he was down in Greenwich Village, not far from where I lived, where I was going to live down at 27. Bleeker. And so we initially met at poly gym and, um, I had sessions with them and it was my first, my first introduction to any kind of soft tissue work, massage work. And, uh, pretty profound. I mean, he was quite the addition as far as transforming, uh, sensation and function. And, um, his, his focus was, uh, pelvic floor. Hm. And so we know he was, uh, very pioneering [inaudible] way before pelvic floor became a huge, um, thing in the, um, in the focus of, uh, physical therapy or treating core or any of that stuff. Um, but, uh, so we would, uh, do exchanges. Uh, eventually as when got opened my CTO down at 27 Bleecker, he came in for Pilati sessions or my blend of it. And, um, then we, uh, eventually started to actually work on the equipment and we found that, um, that I think we, in a way, we are almost pioneering what's now called active release technique or ar e r t.

Cause I think a lot what we were doing, you know, replicated at what's being taught now. So just, just for the people who don't know exactly what that is. Um, the footage I saw is, uh, you on the equipment with Louis Scholtz kind of. Yeah. So we did a lot of, um, fashion work on the, the trunk around the whole circumference on the spine, corrector the half barrel, uh, and also did a lot of work on the, the cell has and uh, the, some of the interior internal parts of the pelvic floor, uh, cause he can get into right into the interior part of the alien there with, through the opterator terminus or however you want to channel it. It was very effective because I was moving while he was, uh, working on the fascist. So in a way that's kind of what art is, active release technique. So you doing police work basically, and he's fastly elongating you. And we did a lot of work on the legs through the ankles and knees to hips and a lot of work through the chest. And, um, and you know, he eventually published a book called the endless web. And, uh, if you want to read more about his intention is all there, but he had all these special concepts he spells around your trunk that, you know, don't really, um, you don't see them. You know, if you were to do cadaver work, physiological work, but they accessed and when he would unlock these belts, all of a sudden your diaphragm would react to me. I would walk home and my, uh, voice would draw up a few octaves. Yeah. It would be radical. Not just because you were relaxed. No, no, no. It was very different.

When I breathe in my, my peripheral expansion of my ribs was quite different. And this is when I started to really kind of rethink of how I was, I'm working with core control, you know, as far as bracing, where I saw bracing could be a contraindication in a way, you know, as far as the practicing breathing effecting, um, trunk rotation, you know, I think, um, know I think we're finding out today that, you know, Courtney's be dynamic, uh, and he used to have elasticity to it used to be malleable and it doesn't need to be on all the time and needs to be on at the moment of necessity. You know, when you need some stability but it needs to turn off. Also, there's a lot of floodings instructors you can't read very well. Right, because of cubes, the bracing brace. Yeah. Yeah. So I, Lewis and I had probably, um, I think I've probably like almost a nine year history. Um, he actually, uh, came out and uh, the first year I moved down to Moran County out into Mill Valley back in on 95, I think it was 95 or 96, cause he was the MC for the centennial. If had a Ralf that was held in Berkeley and that unfortunately the last time I saw him because he passed away, um, a few years later. Um, but, uh, he was a quite influenced, what would you say the greatest impact of, of his influence? Well, it was more of that, uh, you know, I, I had all that textbook memorization and learning how leavers and muscles work weren't really true. How the body works. Yeah. Yeah. There's like this fascicle stocking and there can be little hitches in it and you really want the Fascia to, um, the glide and move through movement. Yeah.

And being a little more independent if not all gummed down or collude. Did that affect the inventions that you made? It didn't away and affected how I directed movement. Um, cause he talked a lot about, you know, even a healthy, uh, the Clute maximum folds over the hamstring, you know, and if you can disassociate the Fascia there, how, I mean, it was profound, uh, what happens to you, you know, and we tend to grip you and bind down that area, which should allow for the independent Clyde. Um, and, and, and again, all the little fascicle pulleys around your ankles, um, you know, how they need to have a nice low friction kind of movement. And, uh, he taught me a lot. Mm. What was he like as a person? Ah, you had a great laugh and, um, very giving and uh, you know, I felt very intimidated at first cause I had a very little hands on experience.

But, uh, how old were you at this time about, Gosh, how old? See that was probably around 30, maybe. Yeah. And, um, you know, he really taught me how to wave the Fascia wave. Yeah. So you're, you're not, um, holding up. You're encouraging the fashion to move through movement. He had this way of, I'll miss it almost felt like molten law. They knew they didn't, they didn't have a, um, a pain sensation, but it was a sense of something was changing. Huh? You know, uh, I felt longer, uh, less thick, uh, lightweight [inaudible] in Ms. They said my breath was affected, my voice was affected. Do you think, um, more integrated, more integrated, do you think that, um, movement needs to be in conjunction with a release technique? Um, yes. I, I, I think it all depends, you know, it, uh, I think sometimes your own motor control can, um, make that happen is sometimes a nice encouragement. And, um, I think, you know, it doesn't necessarily have to be rolfing, but it has to be someone who has the knowledge base.

So if you know how fashion moves and, um, and how, how to make it more efficient. Did you know him? Thank you. Did you know him? I'm trying to figure out if, if then, did you meet Katie Keller? Katie Keller? Um, yeah, so I met Louis before I met Kay. Okay. So he did come first and then, um, cause you're, you're really entrenched in the physical therapy world too. That kind of happened when I presented, you know, at the, uh, uh, the I Adams and I actually, I introduced Lewis to the west side dance medicine and he actually, uh, I think he had a few little mini classes he taught there. Um, so I brought him into that world and he was very intrigued cause you know, you know, you kind of get caught in your own camp.

So it was kind of broadening his camps. It's now used incorporated with employees within the dance medicine scene. Now he's a highly valued on practitioner. Um, so how would he have overlapped with say America Molnar and um, absolutely the, the physical therapy so they can, you know, it's so funny when people, to this day people ask me, well who are you as a practitioner? And they know, to be honest, I can't, I'm out of license or title of anybody, so I can't really put a title on myself. And they often call myself a kinesiologist cause that's what I do. I study movement and try to make it more efficient.

But I implement a lot of different tools in there that I've learned through my a 30 year history. Um, but my um, relationship with Marika is, uh, she was a real inspiration because she, again, she was a pioneer and she still, she just continues to grow to this day. So is she, where does she come? How do you know her? I know her through the a against medicine world. Um, you know, the fact that I was a movement teacher, kind of body worker, you know, along with movement, teacher blend. Um, and you know, what had some capacity to address some clinical issues. But I'm not calling myself a physical therapist. I mean as a licensed clinical degree. Um, but you know, she, she, um, had respect for what we're, what I was able to give to the community cause we had a, that's the one thing I really value during that period of my life and Manhattan was a, we had a very collegial community. You know, we're, um, we were willing to shuttle our clients, our patients off to different practitioners just to make them better.

And we learn from each other from doing that, whether it was rolfing or whether it was me or a massage practitioner. Um, it wasn't a race to the top. It wasn't like a I the, I'm the only person kind of person. Yeah. So, um, yeah. And so she, she was a big influence on me because she was always on the cutting edge. She always was learning more and more and more. And uh, not that I really study with her because, you know, I, I wasn't in her clinic, um, those therapists like Marshall Hagans and Liz Henry and Katie Kelly, they were inner clinics, so they were all part of the, the brew tank of Westside Dance Medicine, um, which I highly, highly respected. They were the rock stars. So they inspired me and I was fortunate that, um, uh, I was introduced to a physical therapist from Minneapolis who was adjunct faculty at Michigan State Osteopathic College named Mark bookout.

He came to teach a course out in long island and you know, typically those kinds of courses are, or the gates are close to anybody but license practitioners. But somehow I was brought along, don't know why I'm disclosing this. I can, can you trouble, right. But, uh, uh, I was brought along within the west side dance community and I think, you know, Martha knew what she was doing, knew that she trusted me. And so I got introduced to mark and um, uh, he's been a very powerful influence since then. This is like 1994. How so? Um, well no, he's a physical therapist, but he's an adjunct faculty at Michigan State. And he was, um, he taught, he was a colleague of Phil Agreement who was one of the founders and heads of the Michigan State Osteopathic College. And, um, he also was a, um, I would call him, uh, a protege of the Fred Mitchell osteopathic, um, methodology. And, um, so I was fortunate that when I, uh, moved out to mill valley, I had no idea, but, um, I found out that he was teaching down at a clinic not far from me annually. So I was able to take courses for many years on all different regions of the body. But, you know, I, I always respected, you know, not, um, crossing the bridge of what I was capable of doing and scope of practice, scope of practice, you know. But it influenced me on setting up environments, moving environments where I could almost create the same kind of, um, osteo changes that you could do in a sterile environment, being on a treatment table, but in the [inaudible] arena, just, you know, how you set it up, how you sequence the movement coaching, you could change the uh, uh, the congruency of the pelvis or the spine, but you know, you had to sequence it in a certain fashion. And so that's what I did.

And so I wasn't in there manually, you know, with the manual intention of making a correction that way on, on a treatment table, but I was doing it a different way. And so that's a big part of your work. It's a big, big part of my work, you know. And do you still study with people like, yeah, I do. I studied with him and also, uh, I also, uh, back in them like the mid nineties, there was this book call came out called the thorax and it was by the sun renowned rock star physical therapists, Diane Lee, who's from Canada. And she actually came to the bay area to teach a course on the thyroxin. Oh my God. Maybe I can get into this. And again, I, and, uh, cause, uh, this book is to this day, kind of the Bible for the, uh, um, biomechanics of the thorax. And so I got the rings, the Rings. Yeah. And so I got to, I got to meet her, I got to take the course.

And actually she came back to my studio and I actually, she had a colleague with her who now is also a renowned rockstar teacher of, of, uh, manual therapy. I'll lend to joy Lee, not related, uh, and, um, uh, I got to actually work on them, you know, sweating bullets of course. So they walk in and you're getting ready to give them a lesson there. I mean, yeah. And, and at that time, uh, you know, she saw some of my, um, prototypes in the, as the back machine and how I was employing a lot of thorax manipulation through movement. So she was very intrigued by that. So I kind of gained a little respect that way. And, uh, so, uh, sure. Um, whole concepts of biomechanics of the thorax had a huge impact on me.

Chapter 9

Teaching Teachers

So now, I mean, you've done so much in so many professions and there's still more, but now you've, you've been a student of movement. You're still a student of both, but I think even today and you are teaching clients for many years and, and, but I, I'm not clear. When did you start teaching teachers or trainers?

Has that been all along? Well that actually, that all started actually back in my early days in Manhattan when I was going to Columbia graduate school and I was working at that poly gym facility. Um, some of the trains were intrigued about what I was doing cause I, you know, I can't, I was going down the Barnes and nobles and trying to grab as much literature as I can to understand what I was doing and I can calm this one book called Anatomic kinesiology and was by Logan and McKinney and it's published in 1970. Um, but it had this one chapter called the cirrhotic effect seraphic effect. And it's basically that whole fashional sling with the Rom Boyd Serita's obliques wrapping around like a seraphic shawl and it's the first time it went ding in my brain that you know, um, yes, physiologically you don't have this current of contraction through the way the fast show lies.

But there could be this neuromuscular current where you can connect the, the right external to the left internal oblique and create this diag and a little rap. And um, this book really, uh, influenced me because he knew to this day a lot of authors, uh, including Tom Myers, uh, have, have uses, uh, illustration this image of the seraphic shawl. To what end, just as to describe Fascia, fashion swings and, and, and, and how we create torque in the body is how we generate torque. Whether we're doing a baseball pitch or hitting a baseball or throwing a javelin, you know, it requires that, that Torque, that torque through the trunk and it's really about that and a big piece of your animal learning, analyze movement or, or taking it to the next level. It sounds like. Absolutely. Madeline talks about that quoting you in her workshop on Scoliosis [inaudible] I think it's, so you're teaching, we're at bleaker street. Right, right. Okay. So you're teaching who always working with you?

Yeah, uh, I had like four different teachers, including my wife. Um, she worked, uh, and w also worked with Lewis, um, because, uh, she, uh, developed a background in, in anatomy and kinesiology when she was seeing her MFA Piriformis Smith. Uh, so she worked along with, um, another practitioner who studied heavily with Kathy grant and Christine. Right. And, um, then I had another, um, at maybe three other teachers that worked and um, they all came from different, um, you know, whether it's massage or being an athletic trainer to whatnot, but they brought in their own flavor and I wasn't dictating, you know, that this is the way it should be done. Okay. But they were all intrigued because there was a lot of, um, uh, as I said, prototypes and different tools along with the weight machines of Nautilus. Sounds like a hot bed for, um, just let it, learning movement, studying movement, practicing movement techniques. Yeah. And we'd always come back to standing and going in because a lot of our clientele were dancers. So we always worked within their dance technique.

And I know that was one of the first things that, uh, you know, when I started to actually get a reputation and worked with some of the, um, the, uh, major dancers in the ballet community, um, I could believe that I actually, I actually started to work with their play, you know, something they've done probably like a zillion thousand times. Yeah. And they allowed me to do that, you know, because, you know, they were right at the height of their career, but it was what needed to be changed in order for some of the, um, skills who are developing either through [inaudible] or through other things to create the bridge. Cause again, it has to be tasks related, whatever it is. And, uh, so that's the most important thing. Otherwise, uh, how can you assume that you're going to, um, bridge the, the change? That reminds me of a quote I've heard you say, and I'm going to read it because I don't want to get it wrong. Or um, you said we should not empower ourselves with language, but with understanding, I like when I started, uh, teaching early on, you know, um, you know, you feel very sophisticated and empowered when you use very sophisticated words like Latin names of muscles and, and um, but it doesn't really change how you're coaching motor control. [inaudible] and I think that's what I meant by that. I really, you know, cause it, I mean, someone like Cathy Grant, I mean her knowledge of anatomy was pretty limited.

But her knowledge, how the body worked with pretty high level, it was very sophisticated. I saw some things, I still think about going and I'm still coming to the understanding of what I actually saw. And it's radical. She was intuitive. She didn't, I, she knew what she was doing, but I didn't know what she was doing. I don't think anybody else knew what she was doing, but she was onto something. Uh, you know, especially this one secret, uh, exercise. She did sideline the magic circle between your ankles that, I don't want to go into detail, but the way she implemented the leverage of how you were compressing the spring and how she coached it and you're working these led boots on your ankles. Um, it would, um, transform what is known as a kind of a valgus angle to your knee.

It would change it. So you would see someone stand and you would see this valgus angle where this, this little, uh, v in the, uh, weight going through the leg. And actually they did this exercise. There was a through line. No, but it says in the books that you can't change the Q angle, the Q and the Q angle is, uh, what you're [inaudible] born with. But the fact that the valgus you can, you can change the velux. It's almost like you're feeding into what your structures design. Yeah.

Um, so, so w w which not empower ourselves with language but with understanding. So yeah. So it doesn't have to be the anatomical or the sophisticated word. It has to be your practice that has to do practice in you. Okay. Yeah. So, uh, yeah, so I again, I said 30 years later, I'm still thinking about what I saw on that in a studio up on the epipen. Henri Bendel's yeah.

Chapter 10

Bruce King and Eve Gentry

I want to know more about your time in the Palazzos world now if we could. Yeah, sure. Um, I've heard Mary Bowen say she's worked with you for seven years and I understand that to mean you were teaching her or client, whatever you want to call it. Did you, did you study? Who else did you know? I'll just throw out a few names. Um, Bruce King. Yeah, well through Mary, you know, um, like she was in the note of, uh, cause as I said, when I initially studied the plot, he said, you're on Jim up and on North Hanton she was, she had already blended a lot of, uh, first-generation teachers like, uh, Kathy and Bruce King and Ramana and along with studying with Joe and Claire. So it was a, it was a blend of things. Did you meet him? Oh yes. I met Bruce King and I probably had maybe eight or 10 sessions.

And, uh, what was he like? Yeah, he was an interesting guy. You know, you had this book called rule rule. The bones owns, right. And it really was much about that, you know, he didn't want to see a lot of muscular strain as you performed the repertory and you know, he, he was in it, you know, all, he was also a modern dancer, the real pioneering days with Hanya home. And you also danced with this, uh, um, company of Eve gentries. Um, and uh, so when I studied with Bruce and my wife and I were going out to a Santa Fe in 89, I think it was what it was, he says, oh wow. You know, um, if you go out to Santa Fe, you should really check out, uh, this Polly's future aim eve gentry. Had you heard of her before? And never, no, I don't think it my name people that hurt or hurt. No, cause no, she uh, in a way kind of isolated herself being, being at, being out there as she was out by herself. And, uh, along with Michelle Larson, who was really the protege of the, you know, she stayed with her for years and I, so we went out there and I got the needy youth and, um, uh, we had an exchange for over a weekend. Um, she worked on me and I actually worked on her and at this point she was 80, 81 years old. And, um, she was just an incredibly giving person. She brought out our movie projectors, showed me movies of her working with Joe Glottis. And again, she had her own movies she had around movies and, and, uh, you know, I didn't really know who I was working with at the time because, you know, it wasn't until, you know, it's always after, after the fact it become this historical icon. Um, but, uh, I am you, you've shown me and hopefully we got to show it, um, some footage of you working with her and yes. Wonderful to see you and Ana and eve working together with Michelle Larson behind the camera. It blew me away. Um, but why did you film it if you didn't [inaudible] all film anything?

Yeah, I, this is actually starting the cow horse. My, uh, when my wife and I got married in 1988, some of the wedding money, I actually said, oh, I'm gonna buy myself a good movie camera. So at the time I bought the Sony V8, uh, it was a high end eight millimeter video camera and um, so it was more to do with it techie side of [inaudible]. Right. She got mad at me, my wife. But anyway, so we had that the bring along cause it was one of these giant [inaudible], you know, VHS camcorders, which is super cumbersome. It's an eight millimeter. Um, anyway, so I was archiving, I was already starting to archive. It was kind of intrigued by the whole thing. And um, yeah, so I got the meet Eve, even Shelley's had this lasted a week and then, uh, we flew back to Manhattan and uh, I forgot was maybe a half a year, maybe a year later. Um, I get a letter from eve saying that, you know, that she loved our interaction and she would very much like to come out and possibly co-teach a course. At my studio never happened, uh, because I think she was going through a lot of, um, illness at the time, but she did come out eventually and visit me. She did? Yeah. And, uh, she stayed at my studio and it was great timing because it was at this time that, uh, Mark Morris is just, I think he was premiering on Dido and it is this new ballet production he just came out with. And I brought evil on with me.

And at the time I had been working with mark, so I had a relationship with him. And so I brought her backstage and introduced to the mark and she introduced herself. She says, do you know that I was one of the original dancers with Hanya home? Mark's reply says, wow, you must be ancient code. Totally. So can you back by surprise. And what'd she do? She, she laughed. Yeah, we're asked. Ask Mark. Mark. Mark loves do that. If he's having fun with, he's not being vicious. Sure. But, um, anyway, so that was a fun moment. So then when we, um, during the time she stayed with me, we had to go, my wife and I had to go to our wedding and I left he there and not knowing, Eve invited Bruce Down to my studio, Bruce King, and they played around with my equipment for hours. So when I came home, I mean eve was comatosed too. She just burnt herself out because she was having a heyday comparing with Bruce of what they were doing, you know, within the plot is fender. Oh, that's just wonderful. Yeah. Too Bad. You were gone with your VA metastic right. Um, what about Romana or Corolla? Romana ah, I, I got introduced to a Corolla through Kathy just one time just to, uh, have her introduce me to her. Nothing came of it. Ramana, uh, the only time I met her is I actually bought my first magic circle from her, which I still have.

And it Hassey handles with the original wood handles with the, uh, the, um, the serial number on it. Oh yeah. The plate. The plate. Yeah. And uh, yeah, so that was my only interaction with her. So you never worked with either one of them? No. Okay. Yeah. What about Ron Fletcher? I knew who he was. I knew he was a Martha Graham Dancer, uh, term iconic plot, his teacher and um, uh, Jennifer Stacey was sponsoring him, you know, and teaching out of her studio and cause she was a, a student of his and all, I forgot I got this one phone call cause I think he lived out in Texas and he had a donkey farm somewhere. Yeah. Okay. The Texas. Yes. Yeah. And uh, he was coming out to, to teach in San Francisco and I got this phone call and it's Ron Fletcher and he got injured by being kicked by one of his donkeys. And he's calling you?

He's calling me to yeah. To want to work on him while he's here while he's here and that it never happened. Oh, okay. But, uh, that was my interaction with Ron Fletcher. I am an archivist too. It turns out all right. I want to be, and so I'm doing my best to try and recreate a great drive. Oh, thank you. Um, a couple of summers ago, I went filming a bunch of interviews for that. The is legacy project and your name kept coming up over and over again.

And then, um, and it always has not so much as it did in that one consolidated time for me. And, um, so there are other names that I don't really know the full story or if there is even a story, but there are other names. I'm just curious if you could kind of help me put the pieces in the puzzle that, that you've influenced or you know, like for example, rail at Sakowitz rights in the forward? Uh, I don't remember the exact story, but I know your name is in that story. So yeah, that, that was, um, cause uh, when I say with Kathy, she was, um, I thought she utilized the small chair more than anybody else. Yeah. And I think, um, at this time, I think maybe rail was, um, Ryan l was a part of the Institute of fiscal studies out in Santa Fe, probably. Yeah. And so I think he approached me on, uh, he would be the best person. And I said, well, Kathy grant to work on the chair and everything. So I connected the two together.

Okay. And yes, he definitely considers her one of his major inspirations. However little he might've worked with her one-to-one, but right Kennan, woman do will kill you. Okay. Cancer. We have an interesting relationship because I'll never forget, um, God, I don't know when it was with, uh, I guess it was back then, it was in 1991 during the thyroid when I went out there, he was, I, yeah, I went to Sacramento to see his, uh, production place while it was just a 1500 square feet with one other person. And there was a big boat there because it's a foreman was a, uh, also a, a boat guy was restoring this boat and uh, it was pretty amazing where his growth has gone. Oh boy. Yeah. I think it's like 750,000 square feet.

I might be underselling that. Right. My sister's gone huge from two people to that. Did you, did you [inaudible] it because he wants to see the JC for 600. So I brought that out there. Okay. That's what she did produce. He did. Yeah. And why don't we know, um, I think, you know, you know, I didn't have a patent on it and, uh, w Nora, I don't know if I could have, you know, I've made the transformation of it cause it wasn't an acclimation, but I w I was one of the pioneers who did that. Yeah. But, um, you know, Joe [inaudible] came up with all the functions, you know, on the equipment. And I think because of that other vendors who make place equipment, we're starting to make the same thing or similar to it. And I think in a way, um, balanced body or current concepts, whatever the name was at the time, decided that, uh, that, uh, they no longer needed to do that. Did they need to focus on those ones that other people are not making? Oh, I see.

I see. Okay. Um, okay. What, if any, involvement did you have or know about of the trademark lawsuit in 1995 through 2000? Well, I, I don't know if I can remember this, but I remember one time I was on Bleecker, he called me up when he was just killing the idea that he was onto something big time and he was going to be making the equipment. Uh, oh he was already making equipment, but he was wondering whether they should buy the 100 Pilati his name from the sky. He was going to sell it to them for, I think like, I don't remember the amount. It was like $500. And Kane was squirming about that giving the domain name or do you mean the actual plot is trademark or the actual phone number? Close your phone another cause someone else owned it because they didn't know what they had in her hand. Right. They did. They probably weren't spelling or spelling it out. Yeah. And so he ended up doing that and then Ken and like one time took a, he got it by the way. That is their number. No, no, I know exactly.

And then one time we went for a bike ride and it was right when Sean Gallagher was, um, uh, throwing his weight around, you know, as far as what he had in his hand, first trademark names. I even got a letter. Uh, yeah, you know, when I was like I said like, yeah, like I was teaching a sequence, plot plot, he's really exercise workshop. And that alone using has caught me. So you're opening a letter. And actually I met Sean in Manhattan when I was on 27 Bleecker street when he first came down from purchasing and had his first a studio back in Manhattan with um, Steve G or Donna. And I actually observed and treat and cause I knew he was a highly respected physical therapists, you know, integrating acupuncture needles with his work and stuff. And, and I said, this is before the big Hoopla of who owned what. Okay.

Not, I'm not done yet, but that she gets, because you were there, it sounds like, I'm so, so you're friends with Kennan and Sean is, you've met him. Yeah, man. Respect him. I respect him. Absolutely. Did did, did you, you've now been served or not served? Um, I just gotta let it get. Yeah. Did you do anything about it? Did you honor it? I honor it. I, there wasn't a reason I needed to, but the plot is on my workshops list, so it was an easy thing. It's just putting it in print, right? Yeah. I mean I could say the word, I mean it wasn't like he owed that, it's just I could put it in print. Were you aware of what took place when the child began? I mean, were you, were you at the child at all? No. No. Didn't have any to do with it. Nothing. Did it change anything from your perspective now? You know, Kathy grant had and um, Mary Bowen weren't supportive.

You opening up a studio and now this is going on. Did it change your perspective or did, did you feel anything changed in the community because of that door? Did you not notice it during that time? Yeah, this is, cause this all happened when I was out in California. Right. Okay. Yeah. Um, no, not really. Uh, at that time I was, uh, teaching seminars and I wasn't totally relying, just applies because I wanted to teach more. Can you say Alonzo aspects to movement. Okay.

Chapter 11

Moving To San Francisco

Do you feel like you're, I'm here to do something bigger within these modalities or the, this you're serving your purpose. Do you feel like, do you have any kind of background that makes you think this is what I'm here to do or is it just what you're doing?

It's just what I'm doing and the way I, nothing was planned out. As I said, when I was going through that, uh, motor control program, I didn't know what I'm going to do with it. He didn't know. Um, cause it, it was so academic. I knew it wasn't clinically based, so I wasn't teaching anything when I was doing except academic concepts new. And I've learned all about neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, the map, the brain, all the ace and d descending tracks of these, the nervous system, forgetting about understandings of how, um, synergies are developed and stuff like that. And it's amazing how synergy became a pop word, uh, later on. And, you know, and I used a lot of the, uh, buzzwords I learned and I got made fun of by my ex colleagues. They cause I perturbation, perturb, you know, and stuff like that. And, um, and uh, and now it's in vogue, you know, motor control, you know, that it's like no one used it before. Fractionalization, you know, regionalized, globalized, blah, blah, blah.

You know, it's just on and on. Yeah. So I think that's why I got out of the program, the trip to Santa Fe, part of this initial trip to California or what brought you to California? Why did you come here? Um, well, it's a, at that time, I, I, you know, through my, um, evolution through PyLadies, um, Elizabeth Larkin from California would come out to New York and have a few sessions with me along with other practitioners in the Manhattan area. And she invited me out in 1991 to, um, teach a two day course sale out at St Francis Hospital where they had a dance medicine symposium, not supposing, but a clinic. And, uh, so I went out there and along with, uh, teaching that two day course, I also taught, um, at Jennifer Stacey's a studio in the bay area and also mercy Sudbury.

And then on top of that, I took a trip out to Sacramento and I, uh, I interfaced with, uh, Brent Henderson. Oh my goodness. And this was, this was the big weekend of the Oakland fire too, which was pretty wild. That happened, you know, on the weekend I was teaching a thing, Francis sells a saw this giant plume of smoke and I go, wow, is this California normally? And now it was actually a historic moment of the Oakland fire. Yeah. Wow. So, I mean, was there a difference to you? You know, you always hear east coast, west coast, and I don't know that they're really indicative of that, but yeah. But, uh, you know, I was definitely interfacing with different communities and both my wife and I said, wow, you know, this is a, um, this community is receiving our work.

Well. And I also, and I brought the JC for 600, uh, out and I taught privately at a movement studio along with all these other workshops I was teaching there. And, uh, I said, wow, this could be a, um, another home for us, but we, we weren't thinking that yet. Oh, okay. So this is 1991. We liked it enough. Yeah. And Yeah, we liked the community. We liked the, uh, the weather and the beauty of San Francisco. So it was a scene in my head, you know, for, for later on what eventually made it, it had happened come to fruit oil, uh, in 93, along with presenting the back machine. Uh, the, the whole reason why that back machine really evolved is because anytime you'd leave me alone is when I, I go 24, seven in my work and my wife, um, during Christmas and new years went to, uh, Europe to France to visit a friend of hers. And so I had a couple of weeks alone and I had a shop, you know, where I could do metalwork and woodwork and I, that's when I constructed the back machine. Okay. And the functional footprint.

But along with that, and if a couple of weeks ago in a couple of weeks here, right. Um, do, do you, I'm just curious, do you, what happens, did you get a feeling? Do you get inspired to become like a mad scientist and stay up? I have, yeah. I always have ideas in my higher wow. I wish I could do daddy do dog. Yeah. I was lucky they have all this resource of the canal street hardware stores and some of my skill level working with wood and not all in and using speed rails and whatnot. And so I developed this, this back machine. But along with that, uh, my wife and I, or wanting a family and we had put our on submissions at to, uh, adopt in China.

And, uh, when I came back, I mean, when she came back from that era, we found out that we were definitely gonna become parents. And so we flew to China that February and, um, became parents. So this is all happening during this whole thing with, with the pack machine. Wow. And, um, so we spent, uh, like, uh, three weeks in China and came back with our daughter, young, young west. And, um, it was she a newborn. She was at five months old and, uh, and so then, um, uh, that, it was that summer that I, Katie and I presented at okay. At the, Huh. Okay. At that tense medicine person. And, and, and so the reason why I'm bringing that up is because now we were parents and, uh, you know, raising a child in Manhattan was going to be our hardship.

And, um, so we decided in 95, after an invite from Madeline black that, um, you know, that she would sponsor us in teaching like three or four workshops at her studio if we wanted to come out and just try it out. So we did. And that was, uh, 20 years ago and here I am to come and stay, came, came and stay. Yeah. And, and we're filming today that 20 year anniversary on us. Oh Wow. Yeah. And from what I understand, that body of work was originally Madeline studio. Is that true? That's correct. Except we're filming this in Madeline's, it's not the actual space. Natural space. Yeah. That space was on Broadway. Okay. All right. Yeah. This is, uh, the, um, ownership of Jean Sullivan and it's quite the beauty of the space here. It's a beautiful place in the Presidio in San Francisco. It's just amazing. You came and you stayed, you're saying? Yeah, cause we always knew that we could always go back, man.

I had a huge practice. Did you sell bleaker street by then? Did I sell it or, I mean, did you, yeah. Did you sell that stuff? No, I didn't sell it. I was running the loft and I gave my practice to my, uh, my teacher Christine. Right. And um, and she still has one of the back machines along with the GC physics a hundred, but now she's actually even, she herself is migrated up to Toronto, Canada. Um, recently I think. Yeah. Recently [inaudible] for teachers. Correct, exactly. It's wonderful to hear that. Um, you know, where you maybe discovered it initially through Mary indirectly, but then she still is a student of yours and Christine is a student of yours but also her team. I just love that. Um,

Chapter 12

Online Video and Technology

I know that you are a connoisseur of online education and, um, and all education, but certainly in that way in which is only visual really cause, um, not only my close, um, given that, what do you gain from watching workshops and, or just classes from various disciplines online all over Texas is one line. They can say something, you know, good thing and I'll take it further, I'll integrate it through my own process.

You know, and I think that's the key to learning is this is uh, not to mimic but to try to interface how you understand and um, yeah. So I, you know, nowadays, you know, there are all kinds of online pushing, including, you know, the stuff you post on. Please, anytime where I, I'll see one thing, I go, oh wow. You know, I should think about that. That's amazing. Yeah. And, um, do you have any advice, you know, as, as the movement analyst, uh, and teacher from, from general advice for what do you think, given that teaching in all disciplines is going this way, whether it's a language or, um, movement, is there anything that you've wished you'd see more of or better use of the technology? Cause what we haven't talked about at all is your fascination with technology. We can get to that. But for now that's a whole nother video. Um, is that, is that too broad of a question? Um, do you have any advice of what, say we could do better when we're filming workshops? You know, knowing that that's not our main goal or maybe should, uh, good. Um, yeah, it's just learning how to, to can convey your eye ideas to either illustration or, or a video role or, or whatever. I mean, I kind of come to this situation where I, um, when I was, uh, like it was, I think it was in the late nineties, um, I had this client come in who was a young dancer and her mother was the, uh, chief editor of Yoga Journal. And, uh, she, uh, asked me whether I re read the Yoga Journal. I said, well, yeah, you know, in the waiting for, you know, purchasing my food at whole foods. And, and I didn't want to demean it, but you know, is this, I didn't get a lot out of what I was seeing visually in the photos. They would shoot a very beautiful photos of people being in different Asanas.

But I said, I told her, I said, I wish, you know, you could, uh, have some kind of illustration over the photos, you know, or have the right angles so that the text conveyed something matched. So, um, next thing you know, she challenged me. And so she says, well, let's have you do an article in the Yoga Journal. So she did. And, uh, I actually photo-shopped a lot of the photos and, and, um, uh, with, uh, old dogs, uh, I mean, uh, yeah, old dogs. Can you any new learn new tricks about the downward dog and all the degrees of freedom that you do at line up to go into Arsenault? So when you say Photoshop, you don't mean like blemishes on your face? No, no, no. I mean we illustrating, you know, where the intention is, how it's influencing, uh, how, you know, even the, uh, ankle position will dictate how the femur physicians in the, uh, the hip joint and how the shoulders are loaded in that weight bearing position.

Did you have a yoga background and, yeah, no, I just had zero yoga back on. And so, and then after that, um, they actually brought me to teach at the a Yoga Journal conference in San Francisco. They have different hubs, different cities throughout, uh, nine states. And I taught for two years and it was called seeing bodies. And, um, so I would have like a hundred, 150 yoga teachers, um, taking those classes. And, uh, it was like, it was a lot of fun. It was a whole different population to work with. Did you do yoga? Did you, I mean, did it inspire you to want to do any yoga yet? Oh, because I, I was, um, you know, living in Moran Condos, there's a lot of senior yoga teachers there and I worked a lot with them, but I always, again, I was always task-related, you know, I would treat them or not treat them, but you know, or make them feel better. I would choose to not with the word treat, um, and make their Austin is, uh, more functional and it does. Yeah. I don't think of a Yogi seeking functional, like help for that rather that's part of the practice. I'm, it's interesting to me that, yeah, they might come to, I mean, were they in pain or they were, they were definitely. Okay. Sorry. Yeah. And so I decided, well, God, maybe I should, um, study yoga or at least take some classes so I can know what, how, what's the environment? Is it how they, uh, um, teach, you know, but, you know, it's very complex because it's, uh, it's not just about the physical movements about the breath, you know, where you are emotionally, psychically, all that stuff, or at least it should be. And um, so at that time I was actually, um, working with this on a spiritual teacher, Rom doss. And, um, he knew that I was going to be taking these classes and he held my hand and he says, Sean, Claude, you here where a dancer, he says, Yoga is not dancing.

It's not choreography is I want you to focus on the breath and just being there. And I, that was very profound, you know, and I took that very seriously, you know, when I took class. But, you know, it wasn't, it was hard not to just master the movement, you know? And that was, that was what I was gonna do. [inaudible] but you know, you can't, that's not what yoga is about. At least I have a very vague understanding. I'm not saying that I have a true understanding of yoga. How would you define yourself right now, if you were going to introduce you? Um, bodyworker bodyworker yeah. Okay. I'll intro. I mean that, that's at least that's the term I can use where I live and run county [inaudible] term. It's a big umbrella, but um, can be many things. Yeah.

But usually my clientele arise because they already know what I can do. Yeah. I don't need to educate them. Right. What's a typical session or is there a typical session when someone comes to you? Uh, it's usually you work out of your home. Yes, I do. Yes. It's usually, uh, there's some kind of spinal on issue [inaudible] uh, but you know, it can also be, um, some other orthopedic issue with the hips or knees or shoulders. So, so you don't necessarily start with the footwork and do 10, you know, 10?

No, no, no, no. I actually know that I've had the good fortune of a couple of sessions and it's amazing, really. I don't really know what you do. And that's why I wondered if you could describe it, but it was only my experience and I do know that it was incredibly effective and I don't, I don't need to know personally like what you do other than that's part of my inspiration of trying to want to find out all of your influences. Do you have a major [inaudible] of all the people you've mentioned so far, is there one person that stands out or, or one type of modality that stands out as your greatest inspiration or, or what's feeling you today? I imagine that changes for you. Well, yeah. Yeah. Well, I actually, today, um, uh, it's still the, uh, the thorax with the, uh, the concept of the video.

Linda Jolene, Diane Lee are presenting today. They're going at it in a very different sense than they were maybe 12 years ago when they, is that when they first wrote it, w you, when they first wore, she wrote a Diane League and, but they're, uh, they're addressing it much and I, what motor controlled neural sense, some missing link. Uh, you know, I don't want to be a preacher of the work is to be doing them a good service, but, um, you know, they, they talk about, you know, the thorax historically is always defined as a kind of a stable zone because of the ribs are like a cage. Will they say no, you know, you've got to look at those things because those indirectly influence other regions of the body. So I've been taking, uh, another, uh, another approach to that and finding this is true and integrating into my work. What's exciting to you right now? What motivates you personally? Um, is it all kinds of things, you know, using technology and, um, um, seeing things, not in real time but in slow mo and realizing I missed something. Like I had the opportunity to, um, I live right above a high school and, uh, I had the exposure of watching someone pull vaulting and, um, there was a kind of a father son team and they're amazing what they've accomplished and he, the pole vaulters um, you, he's very proficient. I knew nothing about pole vaulting and, uh, I would just watch them. I was very intrigued and, um, they were using, uh, you know, smart phones. And again, this is all kind of funny in a way because this is technology that would've cost three or $400,000 when I was studying biomechanics at umass hammers to really, yeah, my friends are using free apps and they're doing what I was doing back in the early eighties. It's nuts. Um, and uh, so I asked them what they were looking at and they were saying, well, they looking at all these other aspects. And I said, well, can I see the footage?

They Dropbox me the footage of looking actually what they call the swing phase, the phase where he's actually inverted in the air, uh, positioning himself to go over the horizontal polled. And I was able to at the time, cause someone's strangers, they've seen me, but we never really knew each other's name or nor do they know what I do or what they do. And, um, so I, uh, took it seriously and I went onto youtube and I downloaded all these youtube videos of Surgi Bubka who had the world records at the time of pole vaulting and analyze what he was doing and then superimpose it on what this kid was doing and was, gave them, giving him a motor control feedback. And it was very profound. You know, [inaudible] had a huge impact on them. And what, well, just how he was implementing the, uh, loading the kinetic energy he was absorbing through the pole, the bending of the pole and how he was transmitting that into his swings. I could see all that and I was able to break it down in phases, comparing them, comparing them, and showing how his motor control was off. He was thinking the wrong 10 degrees of freedom to him.

It went to the swing phase of the, of the volt. Did you simply just have to show him or is it the technology that did, or were you able to say [inaudible] using the, the graphics and the, uh, super imposing and, uh, I just gave them very simple text voiceover commands on what I was seeing because I don't know anything about Polo thing and it had a profound effect on measurable, Measurable. Yeah, that was great. Wow. Yeah.

Chapter 13


What's next for you? Oh, I'm inventing anything. Yeah, I'm kind of, I'm working with a colleague of mine who actually just so happens to be the, uh, the husband of my first case studies as far as working with a professional dancer. His wife was the dancer I worked with back in the like around 84 85.

And um, he's been a, a professor at a physical therapy school in Manhattan for over 20 years. And this is Marshall Higgins. And again, he was one of the therapists under Marquez for a short period along with being the physical therapist for the white oak project for years. And he's also the in house physical therapist for the Mark Morris Dance Company. And, but he and I have had a 30 year relationship and, uh, he and I are trying to develop a way of developing modular system that can address, um, asymmetries in, in a three-dimensional sense, the motion of the spine and the pelvis and, uh, connecting that to functional movement so that it can, um, interface with any movement system, whether it's Gyrotonic or pilates or whatever. But it really pinpoints some of the, uh, um, intrinsic asymmetries. I mean, the asymmetries, just how the spine or the, uh, the junctures between the spinal segments that the joints operate and how they organize to create, um, movement. To me, this is something you would add to, um, Gyrotonic machine or Polonius just an ad junk. Oh, okay. Yeah.

It would be in a separate p prop, I guess I call it modular system system. Yeah. So that, um, we're hoping to bring that together in a very codify way so that it can, it can influence any movement educator. Fantastic. Yeah. Will you teach more out on the so-called circuit? Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Great. Yeah, that's great news. Yeah. Coming out, coming out, you know, you're gonna end up on the web. Right, right, right, right. Yeah. I want to have online postings of, of how to work the system. Fabulous. I know place if you're interested, check like, sorry. I'm just kidding. Um, well I, I honestly don't know. That's a big loop, you know, 30 years later. Yeah. Well I doubt it's finished either. You know, when I think of loop, I think of either too many times around or, um, finished and I, um, I kind of see you more as like an infinity sign, um, both for your influence and, and you don't seem to stop, um, don't ever say. Yeah. I keep on going back to this, the influence of my a friend and colleague, Marika Molnar, she never stops.

This is inspiring. You know, again, I never really study with her, but just watching her move through her career, it makes me want to do stuff. Well, that's good news for the rest of us. Thank you very much for doing this. Thank you.

Related Content


2 people like this.
Thank you kristi for bringing this extraordinary person to light so everyone can know his vast work better. So Interesting that more and more, we are coming to quite a different understanding about the human body. There is no one way. Very inspirational.
2 people like this.
Fascinating! Great interview Kristi! Thank you Jean-Claude West for sharing your background, knowledge and wisdom. I am still chuckling over your story about the 'masters of the universe'. I do hope you will film a class or two for us to learn more...everyone should have a set of functional footprints!
2 people like this.
Thank you so much Jean-Claude for sharing your storry with us! I hope there will be more with coming up soon. Warmest regards from Germany.
Eric C
2 people like this.
Great addition! Thank you for sharing this amazing dialogue!
I am so happy to have had this interview ~
Michele P
2 people like this.
What a gift Kristi! Jean Claude's workshops created a base for my practice. His techniques change the lives of my clients every day in profound ways.
2 people like this.
Kristi, thank you for presenting this very thoughtful interview with such an amazing teacher and educator. I thoroughly enjoyed all the interesting little nuggets of information throughout this series. Excellent work!

Jean-Claude, thank you for opening up and sharing your fascinating journey. I look forward to seeing more of you on PA and beyond.
I had the great fortune to have studied with Jean Claude and his wife, Anna in NYC in the 90's. Their teaching is always with me.
Thank you Lesley. I am honored to have even had this glimpse of him (and his wife Anna). You studying with them is indeed a great fortune. Thank you for being here too!
Wow. That was amazing. Kristi I loved how your questions kept Jean Claude on track brining him 'full circle' as he said. The stories, the names, the influences all very inspiring. Thank you for your work and enlightening us to 'the greats' out there that influence us and bring light into our work. Phew! My mind is buzzing! Thanks you....
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