Warrior’s Awareness — the Martial Arts Roots of the Feldenkrais Method ®
Contributed by Jaclyn Boone
In this seminar I share the fruits of my research with Feldenkrais Practitioners and Martial Artists. I present Moshe Feldenkrais development as a martial artist and I show the links between this process and the development of the Feldenkrais Method. I teach some of Moshe’s unique self-defense techniques, so that everyone will experience through his or her own body his ideas of self-defense as well as his fighting spirit.
Shihan Moti Nativ
In January, the FGNA Eastern Region sponsored a 3-day seminar that was a unique opportunity for Feldenkrais practitioners to learn skills from an acclaimed Martial Arts master, based on the teaching of Moshe Feldenkrais.
Moti Nativ (1994) lives in Israel. Shihan (master teacher of martial arts), head of the Israeli Bujinkan Shiki Dojo (Dojo of Awareness), he has been teaching martial arts since 1979. He is proficient in Budo-taijutsu (Japanese ancient fighting arts), Judo, and Krav Maga (military combat system.) He attended Anat Baniel’s training in Jerusalem, and served four years as Israel’s Feldenkrais Guild president. As a Feldenkrais teacher, Moti specializes in seminars for martial artists with a unique course for improving the Warrior Ability.
Moti had three main objectives for improving survival abilities:
• To learn practical tools to perform efficient movements for survival/self defense
• To gain insight into the genius mind of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais in his process of developing from a street fighter to a Master of Martial Arts
• To experience the synergy of ability, spirit and potential (Saino, Tamashii, Utsuwa — in Japanese).
He used a select group of ATMs, rolling combinations, differentiated and varied use of feet, kicking sequences, exploring independence in the gravitational field — all with an emphasis on intention, awareness, internal timing, quality of movement, patience and knowing what is going on around you.
Moti gave an excellent presentation and discussion about Moshe’s life in Palestine, Paris, Scotland, England, Israel, and his meeting with Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, through Moshe’s story and Kano’s diary. Further, Moti talked about Moshe’s relationship with Kano’s black belts, M. Kawaishi and G. Koizumi. There were many photographs and some of Moshe’s descriptions of techniques emphasizing his wide knowledge of Judo and the way he analyzed the science of efficient performance. Moti also shared his research into Moshe’s experience with the method of Yoga, and his work and friendship with David Ben-Gurion.
Moti has republished an updated edition of Moshe Feldenkrais’ Hadaka-Jime: The Core Technique for Practical Unarmed Combat (originally published in 1942), with updated photos, resources and a new Foreword and Afterword by Moti. Hadaka-Jime is a unique training program that is based on one Judo technique. Dr. Feldenkrais developed the program as emergency training for soldiers in WWII. Through ten one-hour lessons, soldiers learned to defend themselves against an armed opponent in the most rapid and effective way possible.
Testimonials from FGNA member participants:
As a martial artist, I have always been intrigued by Moshe’s background. I have read all of his books that are available in English, and I have noted the many cases wherein martial arts techniques appear in Awareness Through Movement lessons. When I teach self defense seminars, I routinely use ATM segments to prepare the students for the actual technique we will be practicing. And so, I was curious to see how Moti accomplished it. Rather than my "segment" approach, Moti taught entire lessons, some of them quite lengthy, and then related them to martial arts applications. Some of the connections he demonstrated I had already deduced, but I must admit that there were some I would never have thought of on my own. — Carl Minkel
The after effect of Moti’s workshop was a mixture of power, strength and lightness that felt incredibly satisfying. And I hadn’t expected to gain such clear insight and experiential understanding of Moshe’s fighting roots and how it informed the development of his thinking, teaching, philosophy, and ultimately the method that we now practice. I really appreciated Moti’s appropriate research into Moshe’s life, with checks to insure accurate factual information and resources. His approach effectively communicated the theory and practical aspects to those who have had no prior education in the Feldenkrais Method. When we learn to develop a higher level of quality and awareness, and we do it for life, then we will continue to move elegantly. I think many graduates and trainees would find value in studying with Moti. — Jaclyn Boone
I was excited to gain a greater understanding of the history of how Moshe developed as a martial artist and the links of his method to his martial arts experience. Having no martial arts experience at all personally, I was a bit concerned initially if I would be able to keep up with the sequences of the lessons. Quite surprisingly, I was able to shoulder roll, punch, and kick pretty quickly over the three days. The ATMs were paced well, and the learning was challenging at times, but fun and inspiring. Herb Thompson, owner of the studio where the event was hosted, was also impressed with Moti Nativ and the seminar he presented. Herb had no exposure to the Feldenkrais work prior to this workshop. Herb shared with me that he honed his skills over the weekend. He said, ‘I’ve been trying to teach my students how to shoulder roll for years and this is the clearest way I’ve ever seen it presented. I can use this with my students.’ — Tammy Spitzer
Everybody experienced the Synergy of Martial Arts and the Feldenkrais Method.