Traditional Pilates in the Modern World
Why is Kinetic MKE committed to teaching traditional pilates in the modern world? Because we believe it is in the best interest of our client’s well-being. By choosing to honor the legacy of Mr. Pilates and his authentic method, we are teaching movement that is transformational and life-changing.
Take a few moments to understand the benefits of traditional Pilates, why our students and teachers stand behind this practice, and the interesting history of Mr. Pilates.
Principles of Traditional Pilates
The Pilates Method is the “style” of Pilates that’s been changing bodies the longest. While the research is slowly catching up, there is tremendous (almost 100-years) of anecdotal evidence of the strength, power, and transformation that is made possible by this transmission of traditional Pilates.
Do Our Students Recognize the Difference?
100% - yes! Students, with experience in non-traditional Pilates, can physically feel the difference in their very first lesson. Our teachers will often hear, “Oh, so this is REAL Pilates!?” Students also feel a difference mentally as traditional pilates also energizes and utilizes the five parts of the mind.
Does Equipment Matter?
Our Riverwest studio proudly hosts equipment based on Mr. Pilates original designs, and it's the only equipment we trust. Why? We find that the results are unparalleled! Our devotion to detailed and personalized instruction, with the use of equipment that is designed to transform, honors the unique individual and their goals. It’s also one of the standards that sets us apart.
Who is Mr. Pilates?
Joseph H. Pilates (1883-1967) was a German-born boxer and gymnast. As a child, he was sickly and frail, so he worked hard to develop strength and became interested in anatomy (so much that he actually posed for anatomy charts as a teenager). Mr. Pilates became swept up in the 19th-Century Physical Culture Movement that was emerging - the same movement that spread to British colonies in India and influenced modern postural Yoga. With these life experiences and influences, infused with older Greek & Roman regimes, he created his own method: Contrology.
Pilates Gains Credibility & Attention
Mr. Pilates eventually returned to Germany, where his method was embraced by "movement pioneers" like Rudolf Von Laban. He was also approached by the German army to train soldiers, but declined. Mr. Pilates was a Pacifist and he full-heartedly believed his method would one day help to achieve world peace.
In 1926, Mr. Pilates moved to the United States and opened a studio in New York City. His method quickly gained attention and credibility with a fair share of celebrity, high society, and everyday New Yorkers - especially the dance community. There was even a Pilates studio atop the Henri Bendel department store for decades it was so popular!
Carrying Out the Legacy of Mr. Pilates
After Mr. Pilates death in 1967, the following handful of his devoted students kept his work alive:
- Romana Kryzanowska (1923-2013)
- Kathleen Stanford Grant (1921-2010)
- Eve Gentry (1909-1994)
- Ron Fletcher (1921-2013)
- Carola Trier (1913-2000)
- Mary Bowen (1930-present)
- Lolita San Miguel (1934-present)
While these beautiful souls were committed to carrying out Mr. Pilates legacy, the method spent decades underground. The American fitness culture didn’t really exist until the late 70’s, and – at that time – Pilates didn’t match the popular Aerobics culture. It finally resurfaced in the 90’s; since, Pilates has earned its place as one of the best body conditioning and corrective exercise systems available.
How is Traditional Pilates Taught Today?
Since Mr. Pilates passing, there have been many advancements in "movement science" and a better understanding of how the body moves organically. Today, Kinetic MKE is deeply influenced by the Franklin Method. This method has helped us articulate each movement and carries out Mr. Pilates original vision of total mind, body, spirit, and health.
Unfortunately, there remains no industry standard or regulation of Mr. Pilates Method today. In 2001, a New York federal court canceled the Pilates trademark after a ten-year lawsuit and the word “Pilates” became generic, like yoga or karate. While this has allowed for an incredible expansion of the industry – and has made the method more accessible and available to more people – there has also been a dramatic loss in the integrity and delivery.
Looking for a Teacher Who Carries Out the Vision of Mr. Pilates? Here's What You Need to Know...
Since anyone can now use “Pilates” in describing their services, they may not be teaching Mr. Pilates work, on equipment specific to his design, to his brilliant vision. With that, if you're looking for a teacher devoted to the original method, these are the requirements:
- Minimum of 600 hours of formal education, including all of Mr. Pilates method, technical exercises, with the proper intent, practice, and application of his philosophy and vision
- Ability to apply the method using equipment big and/or small
- Formal apprenticeship with a master teacher
We believe traditional pilates has a greater impact on our overall well-being, and we encourage you to see for yourself. More importantly, we would be honored to teach you. It is what we love to do. And, we love watching our students fall in love - and feel the difference - in traditional methods in the modern world.