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His system certainly worked for him as, by the age of 14, he was posing for anatomical drawings. He came to England in 1912 and was delivering his training regimen to Scotland Yard detectives when World War I was declared. Pilates was interned on the Isle of Man but continued developing his method of training for his fellow internees and reportedly it was to his credit that none of the internees became infected with the flu epidemic that was raging at the time.
After the War he returned to Germany in 1926 and, due to the unrest in Europe, he then emigrated to the USA. He met his future wife Clara, a nurse, on the boat and once in New York they decided to set up a studio. Their reputation attracted many clients including top class actors, boxers, gymnasts and ballet dancers all eager to learn Pilates’ techniques.
Joseph died fit and healthy at 82 in 1967 of smoke inhalation from a fire at his studio. Pilates’ pioneering work has been carried on by his assistants who set up their own studios and in turn trained teachers through apprenticeships. What we learn today is derived from Joseph Pilates’ original extensive repertoire. His legacy lives on!
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