MBS Trainer Jochen Jadkowski graduated from Mia Segal’s Zurich 3 Foundation Training in 1993. He has a private practice in Berlin, Germany at Praxis Ayuda, a center where he offers Feldenkrais lessons and his wife (and MBS graduate) Margarethe Jadkowski offers Ayurveda treatments. Jochen worked as a special needs teacher (remedial work with children) from 1991 to 2004 and worked with “Lerina-Therapie” (therapy for children after craniocerebral injuries) from 1985 to 1995. He is also trained in body-centered psychological therapy.
During the final segment of the Bad Toelz Foundation training in February 2014, Jochen shared some of his experiences from the training, as well as his own history with MBS and Feldenkrais. We tucked into a quiet corner booth at Bad Toelz’s renowned ‘Café Schuler’ and Jochen recalled his early days and continuing learning over some Bavarian Kaffee and Kuchen.
What first lead you to Feldenkrais and MBS?
I was born without a left forearm. So, beginning when I was perhaps eight or ten, a woman called Ms. Haenchen worked with myself and other children. We would paint and do pantomimes, play music, tell fairy tales, and do many other activities.
When I was around 27, I happened to meet Ms. Haenchen again. By then, she was working with children who had experienced traumas to the skull, usually from very heavy accidents. She asked me if I wanted to learn about what she was doing, and I did. I went on to work with her for seven or eight years, and it was from her that I received my very first Feldenkrais session. Right then, I felt that it was something for me. I could feel in my bones that I liked it. At this time Mia was just starting a new training in Zürich. Ms. Haenchen said to me, “If you really want to learn Feldenkrais, you must go to this woman.” So I went for the first five days to see how it was, and I liked Mia very much, so I attended the Zurich 3 Basic Training.
What do you recall of that first training?
It’s now been over 25 years since then. But beginning with that training, I’ve had very important experiences that have changed the focus in my life: in my body, in my feeling, and in my thinking. My focus, within my body, had been in the past that I didn’t have my left forearm, my left hand. So my focus was a lack of something, (gestures toward left arm) that I am not complete here. I am ‘wrong’ there.
In Zurich, I found that through looking, step by step, perhaps my left shoulder actually could do much more movement than my right shoulder. If I have a lot more movement here than there, then maybe this side is somehow also better than this one. I knew that in my entire body - not only my arms - the muscles on my right side were bigger and stronger than on the left. And I understood, slowly, that this also had something to do with where I was putting my focus. Through the basic training, I had the experience that I could do a lot more, more easily.
What did you do with Feldenkrais after your Basic Training?
After I finished my basic training with Mia, a Feldenkrais teacher who was leaving the local Volkshochschule (a continuing education center) asked me if I would take on his class there. So I started to teach a group, and would continue teaching there for more than twenty years. In the following years, I was also an assistant trainer to Mia for a few workshops in the Netherlands.
I had been working as a social worker at a children’s home for many years, but eventually it was too much to combine with the Feldenkrais work. At this point, I spoke with Margret about what to do, and she said, “If you stopped working at the children’s home, I’m sure we could make it. Do your Feldenkrais!” So I said, “Okay, we’ll do it!” I started to work solely with Feldenkrais, giving group classes and FIs, and our practice became larger and larger. In 2000, Margret and I started together our own center, where we offer Feldenkrais and Ayurveda Treatments.
What have you learned through your own experience with this work, over the years?
I know that I’m very good at working with people with handicaps, from my own experience and from what I have learned from the many children and adults I have worked with. I think this is partly where I can help, working from my own experiences.
This isn’t my elbow. (Jochen points to the end of his left arm.) It’s my left hand. You can see so when I handle someone for an FI. For example, on Monday, I was supporting a student’s shoulder blades while she lay on her back. It’s not necessary to have two hands to do that. Sometimes I even use my feet, in fact. I did it a few days ago. I had the feeling that I wanted to go under her shoulders. If I used my right and left arms, her shoulder blades would be at different heights. So, when I went to the shoulder blades, I put one foot under one shoulder blade, one foot under the other, and I held the head. That way, I could even work with three parts at once! So, I have learned to use much more of my body.
What drew you to continuing your study and becoming an MBS Trainer?
Over the years, I would usually go into a group class with an idea of what I would do, and then I would adapt with the group as I saw new things. For seven or eight years, I did my classes this way. But eventually I felt that I needed some new input. I could sense that if I went on further in the very same way, without fresh input, I would become bored.
I soon heard that Mia was giving an advanced training in Bad Toelz. This was four and a half years ago. So, I traveled to Bad Toelz and went into the hall, and I knew nobody there. Mia walked in, looked around, and cried out, “Jochen!” In that moment I remembered all the good, open-hearted feelings from before.
After two days of the training, Mia told me how she and Leora were building an academy together. She needed assistant trainers and asked me, “Would you like to do it? You are perfect! What you are doing is really good.” I was very happy on my way home.
As an assistant trainer I learned, step by step, what MBS is about and what had changed since my basic training with Mia. For example, I knew what “in-betweens” were from my own experiences, but I had never heard the term before. If I compare my work now to before, when I was concerned about needing fresh input, I see that much has happened in recent years. If I watch Mia or if I watch Leora, it seems to me that they work in different ways. It’s helpful for me to observe similarities to my own style, but it’s also good for me to learn a new approach, to have more structure to my lessons. That way I have more possibilities.
After these years in Bad Tölz, now I have become an MBS Trainer and am looking forward to all the things to come in the future.
Have you had any notable learning experiences recently?
Well, a few years ago, I slipped and fell on some slick rocks while traveling in Norway. This was an expressive experience for me. When I fell, my buttocks slammed down on the stone and my ischus nerves were affected. For the first time, I actually knew what the ischius nerves feel like.
When I next saw Mia, she gave me an FI. Afterwards, I didn’t immediately say, “Oh, all my pain is gone,” but it had started to change. Within ten days, it was all gone. The biggest change was that after the FI, I was in my body: I was the boss again. When I was the boss, then the healing process became much easier and lighter.