Monday, October 24, 2011

In conversation with Ron Fletcher

Pilates Style had a catch up with Ron Fletcher on lessons learnt in his life of 90 years. Would like to share on a few of them:

1. Trust your Gut

2. Learn to Teach
Martha Graham told Ron: “You tell them what you’re going to tell them, then you tell them, then you tell them what you just told them. Then you start the process over.”

In other words, it takes patience. You’ve got to do it over and over. You say, ‘I’m going to have you turn your head,’ then I’d show them. Then I’d tell them again and then I’d show them again. That sounds ridiculous, but it’s amazing how effective it is. When you’re teaching, realize that it takes some people three times, while it takes others 28 times. Some won’t get it at all. It takes a tremendous amount of patience, knowledge and awareness to communicate what you know.

3. Know What You Know

4. Find a Good Teacher
Dancers and those who’ve made it their business to get a good education in movement therapy or kinesiology make the best Pilates teachers. Pilates is not an exercise program, it’s a movement program. Most teachers don’t understand that. Doing Pilates well depends on whom you study with.

5. It all starts with the feet
The feet are the foundation of the building—the body’s the building. If the feet are in the correct position, then the ankles, knees, hips and everything upward are all going to be in position. If the feet are not correct, your hip, for instance, might stick out, and there will be a counterbalance to the body—maybe a shoulder will stick out.

6. We're in a constant fight against gravity
 It’s a given that living well, whether you’re a dentist or a dancer, requires understanding your body and treating it well. It also depends on your genes as well as how you tend to yourself. Doing this work keeps the body in good shape in terms of the parts working together as a whole. Work from the bones. Think from the bones. Any movement you do, whether it’s Pilates, dance or dentistry, should come from deep inside the body.

Ron also mentioned he has done the most innovation.
I was the first to take the work vertical—it was all supine before—and people disagreed with that. I was the first to make gaits across the floor to rhythm. People don’t realize that what I do is the basic truth, concept and philosophy of what Joe called Body Contrology, which is control of the mind, breath, body and spirit.

This was the a group photo taken at the inaugural Fletcher Pilates conference
(can you spot where I am?)

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Movement should be approached like life - with enthusiasm, joy and gratitude – for movement is life and life is movement, and we get out of it what we put into it.”

~ Ron Fletcher

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