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What Makes Someone "advanced"?


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#21 taowave

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 01:50 PM

I fully agree with one tiny caveat...
From my experience,those who move with relative ease and one with the breath are usually exceedingly strong(in a gymnastic way),and have had a very solid strength training foundation..

With that said,I do believe one can achieve a "soft" internal strength that is 80-90% of an external "hard" strength with half the energy beieng expended.Thats not too shabby:)

I dont quite understand using springs correctly and how it relates to an advanced level.If one is truly advanced(and strong),there may not be a need for springs at all.At least thats my goal



those who do the advanced exercises and make them look effortless, they are relaxed, they look at ease, and the alignment is perfect, the breathing flows with the movements and it looks beautiful, rather than those who can do the exercises but you can "see" them maneuver or muscle through with a lot of excessive tension..

also understanding how to use the springs correctly, makes someone advanced in my mind


Edited by taowave, 03 September 2011 - 02:13 PM.


#22 Siri Galliano

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 08:46 AM

those who do the advanced exercises and make them look effortless, they are relaxed, they look at ease, and the alignment is perfect, the breathing flows with the movements and it looks beautiful, rather than those who can do the exercises but you can "see" them maneuver or muscle through with a lot of excessive tension..

also understanding how to use the springs correctly, makes someone advanced in my mind



Those who do BASICS exercises and make them look effortless are also advanced.
Is Jay Grimes advanced? You dont have to be doing headstands or Control Balance Off to be advanced,
you can just be vibrant and healthy and working well into your mature years and be advanced.
This is not competition, it is completion.

Edited by Siri Galliano, 04 September 2011 - 08:46 AM.


#23 pilates65

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 10:40 PM

Those who do BASICS exercises and make them look effortless are also advanced.
Is Jay Grimes advanced? You dont have to be doing headstands or Control Balance Off to be advanced,
you can just be vibrant and healthy and working well into your mature years and be advanced.
This is not competition, it is completion.



PUT SIMPLY, I THINK IT IS SO TRUE WHAT SIRI IS SAYING HERE.

AS A PARTICIPANT WITH A WEEKLY GROUP MAT CLASS OF MATURE LADIES EVERY WEEK FOR SOME THREE YEARS NOW, AND WHO ARE MOSTLY IN THEIR 50'S AND EARLY 60'S. WE ROUTINELY WORK ON THE BASIC BUILDING BLOCK MATERIAL AND THE BASIC TO INTERMEDIATE EXERCISES CONTINUOUSLY EACH WEEK. THE DEFINITION OF BASIC/INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED NEVER COMES INTO THE PROGRESSION, WE SIMPLY WORK EACH WEEK TO GET BETTER AT EACH EXERCISE WITHIN OUR OWN BODIES AND CAPABILITY. THEY STICK AT IT AND NEVER ASK FOR SOMETHING NEW OR INNOVATIVE,OR GET BORED; THAT IS ADVANCEMENT IN LEARNING THE MAT METHODOLOGY ONE WOULD HOPE.

#24 taowave

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 03:12 AM

If you are going to use "effortless" as the measuring stick,you are correct that it doesnt matter if an exercise is basic,advanced or immediate,but it does matter if it is challenging.

Everyone has limitations,and when faced with an exercise that is highly challenging,only then can one gauge ones level.






Those who do BASICS exercises and make them look effortless are also advanced.
Is Jay Grimes advanced? You dont have to be doing headstands or Control Balance Off to be advanced,
you can just be vibrant and healthy and working well into your mature years and be advanced.
This is not competition, it is completion.



#25 LAville

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 04:01 AM

If you are going to use "effortless" as the measuring stick,you are correct that it doesnt matter if an exercise is basic,advanced or immediate,but it does matter if it is challenging.

Everyone has limitations,and when faced with an exercise that is highly challenging,only then can one gauge ones level.








What you think of as highly challenging is subjective to your body, so it would be difficult to gauge levels based on that yardstick.

Siri said it well, Advancement is about the intangibles, about maintaing a state of being in your body and feeling healthy in mind, body and spirit throughout your life. Being able to move around with youthful energy as you age, and not have to deal with pain.

( And at my age of 64, I can still do Control Balance off and all the exercises that I have been doing for years thanks to a daily practice of the basics)


Edited by LAville, 17 September 2011 - 04:03 AM.


#26 laico

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 06:35 AM

There is no such thing as basic, beginner, intermediate, advanced or super advanced.

I have a 75-year-old client with osteoarthritis to whom I taught Chest Expansion on Reformer (and everywhere else previous) before he ever did Stomach Massage. I also have another female client who does Rowing but not Semi-Circle. You ever see that video of Joe teaching Rowing to a first-timer? Jay Grimes and I have both given the Swan on the Barrel to male first-timers.

People should just learn the work, the whole repertoire before going into any teacher training program. And an apprenticeship should not be divided into basic, intermediate, and advanced. I've seen so many teachers who just give clients "the program". In other words, all the "basic exercises" on almost all the equipment before "progressing" them. I think a divided apprenticeship brainwashes one to do that. And that's just wrong.

Clearly one must be able to do Roll Down before Roll Up and Rolling Like a Ball. Or before Short Spine one must master Leg Circles on the Mat, Reformer, and Caddy. Should one learn Short Spine before Rolling Ball because of the support of the straps? If so, is Short Spine basic and Rolling intermediate? There are some signs that a client is ready to try anything with the pelvis up i.e. Roll Over and Short Spine, like when s/he starts to lift the hips up well in Corkscrew on the Mat. Doesn't necessarily mean Corkscrew is intermediate and Short Spine is advanced. One should master Up Stretch maybe even Semi-Circle before attempting Snake & Twist. But does that really mean Semi is intermediate and Snake is advanced? Sometimes I think people should learn Long Back before Semi and Rowing. Then again, I also think Rowing is a warm-up exercise and the workout really starts with Long Box. Do we always teach the Sari and Tower before Short Spine? For someone with scoliosis the Sari might just be "super advanced" - i mean, just plain old really bloody difficult not that I would necessarily give it to a scoliosis sufferer. Then again, I might give that same person Rolling Like a Ball... And for someone with a very bendy back the Push Through might be "advanced."

Been talking about exercises here, but my point is, there is not objective advanced exercise and therefore no advanced practitioner. Even if you argue that it's how one performs an exercise, well, it's gonna look different on people of different proportions etc...

Edited by laico, 19 October 2011 - 06:42 AM.


#27 laico

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 06:49 AM

Those who do BASICS exercises and make them look effortless are also advanced.
Is Jay Grimes advanced? You dont have to be doing headstands or Control Balance Off to be advanced,
you can just be vibrant and healthy and working well into your mature years and be advanced.
This is not competition, it is completion.


good point - i don't even know if Jay even practices anymore. His Pilates is in the way he stands and carries himself, isn't it? Although, the few times he has demonstrated, his technique was impeccable!

#28 Siri Galliano

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:32 AM

good point - i don't even know if Jay even practices anymore. His Pilates is in the way he stands and carries himself, isn't it? Although, the few times he has demonstrated, his technique was impeccable!


the fact that Jay is his age and working so hard shows his Pilates health.
His weight is perfect, he is traveling the world, working more than full time.
Surely longevity and vitality are great results, better than the modern narcissism.

I live, Laico, the way you think, and glad you share it.
but I think the 20 basic exercises are important to layer on to weak, overweight beginners.
I used a recipe for curry for years until I finally learned it and dont have to refer to it anymore,
and i think for beginner teachers(those five years and under) a system is important.
Then after 5000 lessons people can choose easily and effortlessly the right order.

I have a new student, she's a chef, very overweight, but for arms I only do triceps, her other arm
muscles are strong from chopping and carrying. What a person does for a living, if they have one,
is so important to consider.
My rich ladies I do lots of arms because they dont carry groceries or wash their own hair.

I've been doing more mat at least half mat each class; I think it's important for their
lives long term to really learn it and not be too dependent on equipment.
I think we are building too much muscle sometimes,
especially in women, they dont need their backs built in rowing like a man. I do it on the Armchair instead.

#29 taowave

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 10:39 AM

Of course thats true L.There is no set gauge for a challenging meter as everyone is different,but the fact remains that every body can be challenged if they raise the bar.

My point was anyone can perform an exercise that doesnt challenge them look effortless.Thats easy..

But at some point,most of us will face a an exercise that is "most challengng"..

To me,that is when you find out ones "level" of proficency


What you think of as highly challenging is subjective to your body, so it would be difficult to gauge levels based on that yardstick.

Siri said it well, Advancement is about the intangibles, about maintaing a state of being in your body and feeling healthy in mind, body and spirit throughout your life. Being able to move around with youthful energy as you age, and not have to deal with pain.

( And at my age of 64, I can still do Control Balance off and all the exercises that I have been doing for years thanks to a daily practice of the basics)



Edited by taowave, 30 October 2011 - 10:50 AM.


#30 taowave

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 10:58 AM

Your point is well taken,but there are definetly highly advanced practitioners in every art,and there are definetly super advanced techniques in every practice.

Its no dfferent than the whole Olympic scoring system for Gymnastics and other sports.
Absolute Level of diffculty is taken into account


There is no such thing as basic, beginner, intermediate, advanced or super advanced.

I have a 75-year-old client with osteoarthritis to whom I taught Chest Expansion on Reformer (and everywhere else previous) before he ever did Stomach Massage. I also have another female client who does Rowing but not Semi-Circle. You ever see that video of Joe teaching Rowing to a first-timer? Jay Grimes and I have both given the Swan on the Barrel to male first-timers.

People should just learn the work, the whole repertoire before going into any teacher training program. And an apprenticeship should not be divided into basic, intermediate, and advanced. I've seen so many teachers who just give clients "the program". In other words, all the "basic exercises" on almost all the equipment before "progressing" them. I think a divided apprenticeship brainwashes one to do that. And that's just wrong.

Clearly one must be able to do Roll Down before Roll Up and Rolling Like a Ball. Or before Short Spine one must master Leg Circles on the Mat, Reformer, and Caddy. Should one learn Short Spine before Rolling Ball because of the support of the straps? If so, is Short Spine basic and Rolling intermediate? There are some signs that a client is ready to try anything with the pelvis up i.e. Roll Over and Short Spine, like when s/he starts to lift the hips up well in Corkscrew on the Mat. Doesn't necessarily mean Corkscrew is intermediate and Short Spine is advanced. One should master Up Stretch maybe even Semi-Circle before attempting Snake & Twist. But does that really mean Semi is intermediate and Snake is advanced? Sometimes I think people should learn Long Back before Semi and Rowing. Then again, I also think Rowing is a warm-up exercise and the workout really starts with Long Box. Do we always teach the Sari and Tower before Short Spine? For someone with scoliosis the Sari might just be "super advanced" - i mean, just plain old really bloody difficult not that I would necessarily give it to a scoliosis sufferer. Then again, I might give that same person Rolling Like a Ball... And for someone with a very bendy back the Push Through might be "advanced."

Been talking about exercises here, but my point is, there is not objective advanced exercise and therefore no advanced practitioner. Even if you argue that it's how one performs an exercise, well, it's gonna look different on people of different proportions etc...


Edited by taowave, 30 October 2011 - 12:12 PM.


#31 Sleeping Turtle

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 11:23 AM

Oh Iīm so glad this thread got interesting.

I do think there are definitely "basic", "advancing" and "advanced" practitioners. The way someone does the footwork or the 100 varies a huge amount. I also find the framework of "basic", "intermediate" and "advanced" exercises helpful on the whole.

Of course you get clients who donīt fit in the mold (I have one who, because of body type, canīt do stomach massages, but has an extremely impressive twist and reach with fishing on the short box and sheīs not far off round the world. Her short box is advanced). But the reality is that for most people a set of basic exercises is a useful place to start.

Indeed, things like footwork, the short box, the roll up, stomach series and the hundred are not exercises that you want to leave out unless they are contraindicated. As long as "basic" is not seen as an obligation to be followed slavishly and blindly itīs fine.

I wrote down some of my own thoughts about what being advanced in Pilates means before I re-read this thread and seem to be on much the same track as many of you.

Iīm curious Siri- what are your 20 basic exercises?

#32 laico

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 12:14 PM

Basic/Intermediate/Advanced is for inexperienced teachers who need a framework within which to work. Thanks to Siri for sharing the recipe analogy. Experienced teachers no longer need to refer to levels, or the framework, recipe if you will.

#33 Sleeping Turtle

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 11:20 AM

Basic/Intermediate/Advanced is for inexperienced teachers who need a framework within which to work. Thanks to Siri for sharing the recipe analogy. Experienced teachers no longer need to refer to levels, or the framework, recipe if you will.


I hope that everyone sees the levels as a convenient framework, a way of using othersī experience as a guide. Those who become fundamentalists are dull and heavy as teachers

#34 taowave

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 08:46 PM

Dont necessarly agree with that...6 of one/half dozen of another

Teachng is an art.Content is secondary..

One can mix it up,or they can remain a "fundamentalist"..Neither dictates as to whether one will be dull or heavy as a teacher.


I hope that everyone sees the levels as a convenient framework, a way of using others´ experience as a guide. Those who become fundamentalists are dull and heavy as teachers


Basic/Intermediate/Advanced is for inexperienced teachers who need a framework within which to work. Thanks to Siri for sharing the recipe analogy. Experienced teachers no longer need to refer to levels, or the framework, recipe if you will.


Thats not true either.It is how you view those who choose to work within a framework..

Edited by taowave, 08 November 2011 - 08:51 PM.


#35 Sleeping Turtle

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 10:01 AM

Dont necessarly agree with that...6 of one/half dozen of another

Teachng is an art.Content is secondary..

One can mix it up,or they can remain a "fundamentalist"..Neither dictates as to whether one will be dull or heavy as a teacher.






Thats not true either.It is how you view those who choose to work within a framework..


No. You are misreading. A "fundamentalist" in this case is not someone who keeps the level framework as their default. A fundamentalist is someone who, rigidly and pedantically with little regard for circumstances, insists on doing only exercises and progressions which their training system sees as basic with a "basic" client.

I work in a framework. I find it useful. I like it. It helps. But I have clients who need adaptations which I wasnīt explicitly taught and are ready for exercises which donīt fit the standard path of progression (being able to do some "advanced" exercises while still unable to do other "basic" ones). I make those modifications. A "fundamentalist" would not as they are not "correct". Teachers like that are dull and heavy. They are more concerned about rule keeping than teaching pilates to a particular body.




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