Moshe Feldenkrais: “I Have No Interest In The Guild.”

"My business is to record what people say, but I am by no means bound to believe it." - Herotodus, 2nd century AD, The Histories, (VII.152).

On my computer, I came across this quote from Bill Callison that I pulled off the web several months ago. I've been told that Bill is the person who brought the successful suit against the german feldenkrais guild to challenge their service marks.

Bill has an interesting perspective on Moshe's thoughts about the guild:

Moshé had no interest in the incorporation process, and not very much interest in the “Guild“ activities in the years following. I have a letter from Moshé, stating his unwillingness to give time to an organization, members accepted, no matter how ineffective. With Moshé working hard and traveling, he did not want to waste time with the “confusion”, common to the “guild”, with several factions, wanting to control and influence the “guilds” activities.

Of course, it's nothing more than hearsay...unless Bill can produce the letter he says Moshe wrote.

I would love to see it and will publish it in its entirety if anyone has a copy.

Bill's image of Moshe is quite different than what others have presented. For example, Paul Rubin and David Zemach Bersin have created a Moshe Feldenkrais who agrees 100% with their current positions (and their bank accounts) regardless of the fact that Moshe has been dead for over 25 years. Here are a few examples back to the time of the "Anat Baniel Lawsuit." Just like Bill did, Anat won her lawsuit.

From: David Zemach-Bersin, 11/18/99

"I want you all to know that Moshe very much desired that his work and the words associated with his work be legally protected, and that he wanted and entrusted the Guild to protect them. This was Moshe's expressed wish. He was also vitally involved in the formation of the Guild and wanted a strong Guild to act on behalf of his wishes."

So the Guild is acting on Moshe "expressed" wishes as conveyed by David Bersin, former Guild President. Just out of curiosity - Can David show us where Moshe expressed those wishes?

In recent years, David Bersin, as Paul Rubin has done, has begun focusing on science and stressing scientific evidence for "the method." Perhaps in that spirit, he could show some evidence of "Moshe's expressed wish?" Here's an illustrative quote from Paul Rubin:

Moshe explicitly asked us in 1976 and 1977 to form a guild to regulate the future of the work. I know because I was on the committee that he was empowered to create and present the by-laws to him. I was also selected by him to be a member of the first Board of Directors in 1975. Moshe himself served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for his lifetime. Because of this, I had many discussions with Moshe about the need for and the proper form of, yes, regulation and control of the future of the work. He absolutely recognised that there was a need for regulation and control to prevent people from usurping the use of the terms we now protect." (1998).

I know because I was there"! Isn't that a hoot? Several people have attributed the idea of a creation of a guild to Dub Leigh, not Moshe Feldenkrais. If Paul Rubin is going to make these blanket phrases of speaking for Moshe, he needs to provide some evidence. For those of you who are unaware, there is a great deal more to the creation of the guild than you know or have been told. And I'm sorry to say that there is a great deal more that many don't have the courage to see. I'm often surprised at the way that guild members mentally avert their eyes to not see or consider that which contradicts what they have been told. For the insecure, the need to belong often trumps the need to be aware and know the truth.

The Problem

The real problem is not what Moshe did or didn't think or what he did or didn't want. He is dead and can't be consulted. The problem is that people such as David Zemach Bersin, Paul Rubin, and others are promoting an idea that has a deadly presupposition. They are implying Moshe had a hand in creating the system that we have today. That is simply not true.

Every legal and political restriction that we have in the Guild today comes not from Moshe Feldenkrais but from his students.

To say that Moshe wanted his work "protected", as David Bersin asserts is not to say that he wanted the guild to do so nor that he thought that the guild could do so. Nor is to say that he wanted or devised the laborious 20+ year process for certifying others to train using his work. Or that wanted his materials locked up behind restrictive legal and bureaucratic handcuffs. Would Moshe be hellbent on keeping the Amherst video out of the hands of the public? Would he be shocked that 25 years after the Amherst training that the materials are still not easily accessible? Would he have wanted the Alexander Yanai sessions to cost $1000 and only be available to practitioners?

Would he be surprised that the many FGNA trainers have spent most of the last 25 years imitating him and the last training that he conducted at Amherst?

Again - the man is dead. We can't ask him.

The honest thing to do is for David Bersin and Paul Rubin is to shut the hell up and stop using the cult-like technique of saying that they are the representatives of a dead man. And the intelligent thing - for you who say you care about the work - is to challenge these people when they put forth their bullshit about doing Moshe's bidding. Moshe is dead. But the restrictive monopolistic guild system where the money flows directly to private training institutes is not. These people have their interests protected not only by the Guilds but also by the members whose dues who pay for the guild to do so. Guild members pay for a system that discriminates against them and keeps training ridiculously expensive and out of the reach of the public. Assistant trainers are stuck at the assistant trainer level. New trainers are not being certified. New training models are not being developed. The work is stagnated and the guild is dying. But of course, Moshe made it clear 25 years ago that this is exactly how it should be and how he wanted it. Just ask two of the original apostles, David and Paul.

(Originally published on, a website that I deleted in 2023)