The Zest Convention 2013

The Zest convention was held over 2 days on Saturday 21/22 September at the Royal Overseas League, a venue hidden away at the back of the Ritz. I’m sure the history of the organisation itself is probably worth its own page.

The first thing I notice when entering the convention is how friendly everyone is. This is day 2 of the convention and everyone has been busy taking part in various workshops the enthusiasm is obvious and so is the affection that Michael King is held in.  Michael King greets me and makes me feel very welcome.  Later I heard someone describe him as very charismatic, and I have to agree.IMG_0321

Firstly, I attend a talk given byMichael Fritzke & Ton Voogtabout the history of Joseph Pilates.

Michael & Ton are a mine of information, Michael started out as a dancer and found Pilates to help with a severe ankle injury and Ton had been a gymnast in the Dutch national team before finding himself in the musical ‘Cats’, in the 80′s where they both met. Through the dance & performing world they heard about Pilates and went along to the studio in New York where Romana was the teacher. They were clients of hers, later they discussed the possibility of becoming teachers.  Apparently, Romana said “Come back here tomorrow at 7 am to start” to which the reply was,“ We don’t do 7”.

“Okay” she said. “Well come whenever” – and so they did, the next day at a more reasonable time.

So began their fascinating relationship.   They showed us some documents and flyers from the various advertising Joseph Pilates did.  He was way ahead of his time in that way too, although today one would probably word things slightly more tactfully these days.  They told us also about how each of the elders had their own style and were quite different from each other and that they were always very respectful each others work.

Michael & Ton told us that Joseph Pilates was married twice and neither of those wives was Clara. One of the documents they showed us was a consensus, the form asks who the head of the household is and your relationship to the head of the household.  Joseph Pilates answered ‘Head of the Household’ and Clara answered “Sister of the head of the household’. We discussed the reasons this would be as came to the conclusion that then, living as an unmarried couple would have been totally unacceptable so this is how they would most likely have got round that.

Michael & Ton went on to tell us that every Friday the week ended with everyone in the studio having a glass of bubbly.  It sounds like a great way to end the week to me.  There were many other revelations but we’ll wait for the book to come out.  Please write a book Michael & Ton – I would love to read it!!


Pilates for golfersIMG_0320

Nuala Coombs presented a workshop on Pilates for Golfers.  She explained how Pilates can help the Golfer to improve his or her flexibility, stability and strength and the exercises what Pilates can offer to assist or correct this. She gave us demonstrations on the Reformer and the Cadillac
Nuala also gave us many handy tips and tricks to encourage the golfer towards Pilates  including the terminology and language we use and how to market ourselves including what to put on flyers and how to contact golf clubs.  If it is something you are really trying to get into it could even be worth taking a few lessons so that you truly understand the plight of the golfer’s swing!c and also on the Mat and was clear and concise.  She explained the golf swing and its transitions and what exercises to use to help with stability and flexibility issues,etc.

Spirals master mix

The convention ended with an hour-long class presented by Michael King and if one of the principles of Pilates is flow then there us no doubt you got it in this class. From the moment the class began one movement flowed into the other. No plain of movement was missed.  It was an energetic feast of dynamic movement and if you are into the spirals of the body – anatomy trains, etc then we reached them all.  A lovely way to end the convention.

Thank you Michael for letting my sit in and take part and for making me feel so welcome!

Post Author: Sharon Thompson

Sharon Thompson, co-founder of Sharon has been teaching Pilates for 9 years and has always had an interest in sport, fitness & nutrition. She found the regular practice of Pilates was the only thing that really eased her back & neck pain, so she decided to teach and share the Pilates secret. She also has a passing interest in