joseph hubertus pilates

‘To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life we must constantly strive to aquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limits of our ability.’

Joseph Hubertus Pilates

Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in Germany, in 1880. A sickly child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever, he dedicated his entire life to becomming physically stronger. Joe studied body building and gymnastics and by the age of 14 was fit enough to pose for anatomical charts.

In 1912 he moved to England earning a living as a boxer, circus performer and a self-defense trainer of English detectives. After World War I broke out he was designated an ‘enemy alien’ and interned with other Germans at the camp in Lancaster and later on the Isle of Man. Pilates became a nurse in the camp and trained other internees in physical fitness exercises he developed. He was widely credited when none of the inmates succumbed to an influenza epidemic that killed thousands of others in England in 1818.

After the war, Pilates continued his fitness training program in Hamburg, where he honed his methods with the city’s police force.In 1926. Pilates emigrated to United States. On the ship to America he met his future wife Clara. The couple founded a studio in New York City and directly taught and supervised their students well into the 1960’s.

Pilates and his method, which he called ‘Contrology’, soon established a following in the dance community. Such well known dancers and choreoraphers as Martha Graham and George Balanchine became his devotes and sent their own students to him for training.

Pilates practiced what he preached and lived a long, healthy life. He died in 1967. at the age of 87.

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