Who was Joe?

The story of Joseph Pilates is the stuff of legends.  He was born in 1883 in Germany, into an impoverished family with many children.  He was a sickly child, who was bullied and teased for having the same last name as Pontius Pilate.   His father was a prize winning gymnast and his mother was a naturopath.  As a child, he received an anatomy book from a family physician and learned every page.  He would also lie in the woods for hours, observing how animals moved and especially how the mothers taught their offspring.  The careful observation of animal movement, particularly that of cats, greatly impacted him.  In addition to anatomy and animals in nature, Joseph Pilates studied a variety of exercise forms, including yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman regimens.  By 14 years of age, his body was so well developed that he began modeling for anatomy charts.

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