Happy Birthday, Joe!

Geburtshaus Joseph Pilates
Birthplace of Joseph Pilates in Mönchengladbach. Picture was taken by S. Grootenhuis

Today it’s 132 years since Joseph Pilates was born in Mönchengladbach, December 9, 1883. At 3:30 am on a Sunday he saw the light of day – and there was not much evidence indicating that his name would be known throughout the world more than a century later.

The circumstances of the infant’s family were humble: his father Friedrich Pilates was a metal worker, his mother Helena was a housewife and former factory worker. They could not afford any comfort or an easy life for their children, but Joseph’s father gave his son something really precious: his enthusiasm for gymnastics, boxing and heavy athletics.

Joseph grew up and did a job training as a brewer – while his passion was reserved for the body and movement. His internment as a civilian during the First World War which brought him to Knockaloe on the Isle of Man, finally made it possible for him to spend all his time pursuing his passion.

Back in Germany he founded a boxing gym in Gelsenkirchen, then he moved to Hamburg where he was teaching self-defense-training to police men of Ordnungspolizei and worked in rehabilitation. In 1926 he emigrated to the United States where one year later he opened his studio for body contrology in Manhattan. He ran it successfully for forty years!

Joseph Pilates was convinced that developing his method he had found a way to make people happier: „Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness“, he wrote in his book Return to Life through Contrology. Today many people share his opinion. Several millions of people practice Pilates all around the globe!

That’s a reason to celebrate! Thank you so much for everything, Joseph Pilates! Happy Birthday!

If you would like to find out more about the life of Joseph Pilates, have a look at the English excerpt of my book! Excerpt Eva Rincke – Biography of Joseph Pilates_First Chapter


One thought on “Happy Birthday, Joe!”

  1. kleinen Details- he moved to Hamburg where he was teaching self-defense-training to police men of Ordnungspolizei and worked in rehabilitation. Thank you for writing this book. it is very hard to find facts about the normal life in germay after the first world war. For example his work for the police- it is not clear what he did there, did he got good money and so on. I hope that some one will use your book to give the big picture of the society in germany in these years. Merry Christmess.


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