Joseph Pilates 1883 to 1967
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. His father was a gymnast and mother a naturopath. As a child, Joe Pilates was plagued by asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. He was often teased for being so frail. Intent on becoming healthy, Joe studied anatomy and movement. He worked on his stamina and physical strength. By the time he was 14, he was in such prime condition he was asked to model for illustrations in anatomical charts. He self taught himself to excel in wrestling, gymnasts, boxing, skiing and diving.
While living in England working as a circus performer and boxer, Joe was forced into an internment camp in England at the outbreak of WWI because he was German born. Keeping a positive attitude, Joe started teaching his fellow internees wrestling and self defense. This fitness training led him to work with rehabilitating detainees who were suffering from diseases and injuries in the camp’s hospital. To assist him in training, he adapted the beds with springs, straps and pulleys. These were the beginnings of the equipment we use today in pilates studios.