Discovering Pure Classical Pilates: Theory and Practice as Joseph Pilates Intended

Discovering Pure Classical Pilates: Theory and Practice as Joseph Pilates Intended

Discovering Pure Classical Pilates: Theory and Practice as Joseph Pilates Intended

Discovering Pure Classical Pilates looks deeply into Joseph Pilates’ traditional method of mental and physical conditioning by describing its foundations, goals, movement qualities and benefits. Specific attention is given to the ways in which market forces, individual creativity or ambition lead to deterioration and commercialization of the traditional Pilates method. We harken back in time to Joseph Pilates’ own two books Your Health (1934) and Return to Life Through Contrology (1945) by explo

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2 thoughts on “Discovering Pure Classical Pilates: Theory and Practice as Joseph Pilates Intended

  1. 25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Defense of Classical Pilates, May 27, 2009
    By 
    Tom C. Floyd “Tom Floyd” (Austin, TX USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Discovering Pure Classical Pilates: Theory and Practice as Joseph Pilates Intended (Perfect Paperback)

    Anyone who has viewed Peter Fiasca’s Classical Pilates DVDs or attended a training session with him will easily agree on one thing: he is passionate about Classical Pilates and defends it with the ardor of a religious apologist. In that regard, his newly-released book, Discovering Pure Classical Pilates, does not disappoint. And like a religious apologist, he is bound to confront and challenge fundamental beliefs, for if there were no grounds for disagreement, there would be no need for apologetics! He has, in fact, called himself an “apologist for Classical Pilates.”

    Discovering Pure Classical Pilates is a look into the method’s “foundations, goals, movement qualities and benefits” with special attention “given to the ways in which market forces, individual creativity or ambition lead to deterioration and commercialization of the traditional Pilates method.”

    Fiasca wastes no time in declaring his three key points. In terse, plain-language style, reminiscent of Martin Luther’s 95 theses, he declares:

    1) There is only one Pure Classical Pilates — Joseph Pilates’ traditional method.

    2) There are many derivative approaches incorrectly or falsely called Pilates.

    3) “Contemporary Pilates” is a contradiction of terms.

    Fiasca assures us that the method Joseph Pilates passed down to the likes of Romana Kryzanowska and Jay Grimes is sufficiently complex and allows for almost infinite modifications and variations to meet the needs of the individual and will reward a lifetime of study. Any change to the system passed down will necessarily dilute it, he says.

    Why does he consider Romana Kryzanowska and Jay Grimes the chief “bearers of the flame” of Pilates? Because unlike many of his other protégés, Joe Pilates taught them the full method and they chose to preserve it. Others, he says, either chose to change his method or were trained in the context of their own limitations and special conditions and, therefore, did not learn the whole system as he intended for the normal, healthy body.

    However, Discovering Pure Classical Pilates goes beyond the defense of the traditional method, and provides rewarding reading even to those not inclined to consider Fiasca’s arguments.

    For instance, his explanation of how Pilates relates to Paideia directs the reader to a deeper understanding of the method than considering it as mere physical conditioning. Acknowledging that the widely circulated biographical sketches of Pilates are of questionable origin, he suggests that Pilates’ writings parallel the tradition of Paideia, which was the Hellenistic process of educating humans into their true form, their real and genuine human nature. And a consideration of these parallels leads to the conclusion that Joe Pilates intended his method to promote citizenship and productivity in society.

    Fiasca also takes on the task of explaining how the Pilates method engages the whole body, mind, and spirit. He shows how Joe Pilates “wanted us to have a more responsive body, a more facile mind, increased vitality, and a greater capacity to cope with problems in everyday living.” To facilitate experiencing the mind-body components to the method, he suggests using the seven principles of Pilates as metaphors for living. Slightly modifying the six well-known principles handed down from Friedman and Eisen, Peter has us consider how Centering, Concentration, Control, Correctness, Core Strength, Cardiovascular Conditioning, and Cadence have metaphorical parallels in our daily lives. For example, he would have us ask, “Am I applying the principle of Centering in my daily actions analogous to the ways I achieve centering during a workout?”

    As to the spiritual component to the method, he searches for parallels with numerous religious texts that examine the connections between spirituality and the body. Ultimately, though, Fiasca concludes that Pilates himself did not describe his understanding of the spirit; therefore, “in the absence of more specific information from Joseph Pilates himself, Contrology can be construed as a physical ritual and a philosophy of health.”

    But to get to the bottom line, everyone wants to know, “Is it a good book?” or “Will I like it?” or “Is it worth $20?” And my answer is “it depends.”

    Taken as a staunch defense of pure Classical Pilates, an adherent of “contemporary Pilates” (remember, a contradiction in terms!) will find Fiasca’s three key points to be controversial at the least. But taken as a passionate plea to benefit from the method in the way Joseph Pilates intended it to be, it is a book from which everyone can derive benefit.

    The book has already been re-released in a second edition, in which typos were corrected, photos more representative of the Pilates method chosen, and the layout improved.

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  2. 8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Finally, April 18, 2009
    By 
    C. Walsh (usa) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Discovering Pure Classical Pilates: Theory and Practice as Joseph Pilates Intended (Perfect Paperback)

    As a Ballet Teacher I am constantly asked by young students and adults about adding Pilates to their training. This book answered so many questions and gave me a greater understanding of the traditional method of Pilates. Now I know what to look for and will recommend this book as a guide to my students. There is no short cut to teaching the Pilates method and this book proves it.

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