the Importance of S
Did you read it?
What'd you think?
Here's what I thought.
Pilates schools are
defined as trade/vocational schools and most exist at the level that triggers the threshold of requiring
at the state level.
If you've ever state-qualified your teacher training program as a legal trade/vocational school, you'll recognize many of the PMA SAP operating criteria; it's lifted almost point for point from a typical state application. But the PMA wants you to believe this program came from years of in-depth collaboration between the PMA and teacher training schools, it wants you to believe that schools have a vested interest in pursuing SAP status and it wants you to believe that having SAP status matters in the marketplace. In reality, the PMA SAP is a toothless knock-off of a typical state licensure, and, as such, there is no real world value to any school achieving PMA SAP status. Finally, it doesn't matter in the marketplace because the entire industry is an unregulated free-for-all at the consumer level - you can't feign order to certain segments of an unregulated industry, and reasonably assert it matters to the whole. Now can you?
How do I know about the state licensure process? Over 10 years ago when I registered my finishing school in Washington State, I worked so closely with the then Vocational/Trade School Administrative Manager, Peggy Rudolph, and I filed so complete an application and guidebook, that Peggy waived the field inspection requirement. So there's that.
It's logical to assume that the PMA operates its own non-profits according to the SAP standards, right? I mean, how completely disingenuous would it be, otherwise. But are you willing to assume that?
I'm certainly not.
What is it reasonable for us to be able to know about an organization that claims to represent us?
Based on how other transparent non-profit organizations share information, here's what I think we, conservatively, deserve to know
We deserve to see full financial records.
We deserve to see every budgetary line item.
We deserve to have committee and regular board meetings conducted in the open with transcripts of full discussions and meeting minutes available to any PMA member.
We deserve to see voting records.
We deserve to know about any claims of inappropriate conduct including sexual
We deserve to know the chain of custody on all PMA assets especially its self-proclaimed most valuable asset, the teaching credential.
We deserve a transparent organization with staff accountable to fostering that transparency.
But what we deserve from an organization that claims to represent us and what we get are very different things.
The PMA has no obligation to share information beyond what's publicly available a
nd the PMA has no obligation to answer any of our questions - yours or mine.
How do I know?
If you ask enough pointed questions, for long enough, the PMA will tell you precisely that.
It's under no obligation to answer me.
To answer you.
To answer to anyone.
So let's forget that one.
If you perused the state vocational/trade school staff educational criteria, at the state level the qualifications of school educators include significantly
more expansive meritorious
pathways to expertise than the PMA SAP
In this regard,
the PMA power structure is
feathering its own nest.
The PMA SAP includes no independent safety, effectiveness standard, regulation or authority behind it.
More on that?
The PMA SAP simply perpetuates the PMA's long-established history of addressing safety. When it can get away with it, like in the SAP, the PMA completely avoids any mention of the science of spine safety. But sometimes, safety is too central an issue to be ignored and when that happens, the PMA has a decade+ history of willfully and purposely misleading its membership and the public. How? By continuing to MISuse the words "safe" and "safety" in reference to examples in the PMA exam study guide and other educational materials that depict positions that are directly counter to and *the precise and exact OPPOSITE of* every known standard of spine, spinal cord and disc safety. That's right. The PMA knowingly uses the words "safe" and "safety" in reference to movements that the PMA knows there's 30 years of science proving are unsafe.
Here's a brief anatomy lesson for those of you who need it.
Why is it unsafe to bend your back?
The location of the spine toward the back of our bodies, with so much body weight in front of it, is what creates unsafe pressure on our discs, and shoves them toward our spinal cords. It doesn't matter if we're young, strong and healthy and it doesn't matter if we haven't had a single moment of back pain in our entire lives; the membranes inside our discs are only going to take so many cycles of the kind of pressure that moving our backs causes, before they yield, crack, leak, bulge and rupture.
And nobody is exempt from the forces of this physical reality.
If you can't sit safely at your desk in that position, you can't safely duplicate that position in exercise.
Because of the realities of disc anatomy, bending the back is not safe. Period.
Good news! It's super easy to retrofit the science of spine safety onto classical Pilates!
Great news! I've already done it!
Fabulous news! There's tons of free videos and free podcasts on my free sites that will teach you about spine safety FOR FREE! Operative word? FREE! And if you want some in depth help at very affordable prices, I'll sell you the video of courses where I teach it so you don't even have to track me down to learn it!
But let's get back to the PMA and how its very calculated, it-must-be-opposite-day stance on safety causes a trickle down problem that greatly degrades our industry.
Because of the PMA's willful refusal to address spine safety,
Pilates teachers continue being taught to teach unsafely. Because of the PMA's willful refusal to address spine safety, Pilates clients in the open market continue being taught unsafely AND are egregiously led to believe it's safe.
How ironic is it that the actions of an organization self-identified as being in support of an industry so dramatically degrades it?
Pretty fucking ironic.
Do you see how, regardless of how much you may love and respect the individuals who make up the PMA, the organization is based on a premise of safety that is, one moment conveniently-absent, and the next moment egregiously-inaccurate?
Do you see how, regardless of how much you may love and respect the individuals who make up the PMA, the organization continues to build programs that are irrelevant in the real world, that do not carry regulatory weight and are blatantly self-serving?
Setting aside your disappointment, applying your critical reasoning skills, being skeptical and above all, being honest and a realist, you surely must come to those conclusions, and probably more.
Where do we go from here?
Actually, they're already there.
Body Control Pilates is the UK's largest Pilates school. With over 1400 teachers, the Body Control educational conference was last weekend and - are you sitting down? you might want to sit down! - their conference is HUGE - it's half the size of the PMAs but it's carried out on a fraction of the budget and with a fraction of the staff. Plus, Body Control Pilates is not a science-denier!
Body Control Pilates very elegantly, very quietly proves what's possible.
We make up this industry, you and I.
If the PMA were a true reflection of us, it wouldn't operate in the dark, it would open its records and processes to all, it would welcome scrutiny, it would answer serious questions instead of vilifying the asker (that would be me) and it would endlessly endeavor to operate in complete accord with scientific and regulatory
Take a look and see if you think expenses are in line with revenue.
Realizing that the existence of both branches of the PMA do NOT operate as member-driven industry advocacies or endeavor to scientifically standardize the teaching of Pilates, but rather are based on a convenience-driven vacillation between a non-existent safety standard and a wholly unscientific and inaccurate one, take a look and see if you think Elizabeth Anderson's salary is warranted.
The creation of these types of meaningless, arbitrary self-regulating statuses become more and more desperate as the PMA searches for traction in an unregulated, uncontrolled, free-for-all
If you're ready to take back your industry,
let me know.
It's always the right time for a revolution of integrity,
Or run the risk of believing that the PMA SAP matters to anybody other than the folks who run the PMA
and the ones who blindly ask for more Kook-aid.
AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS LIKE THIS?
HERE'S RICHARD SHERMAN SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER ABOUT THE NFL'S BLATANT AND DANGEROUS PRACTICE OF PUTTING PROFITS BEFORE PLAYER SAFETY.
IT'S THE SAME ISSUE - SAFETY.
IT'S THE SAME COMPETING INTERESTS - THE POWER STRUCTURE
OVER THE INDUSTRY VERSUS THE INDIVIDUALS WHO
MAKE UP THE INDUSTRY AND WITHOUT WHOM THERE WOULD BE NO INDUSTRY.
THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS,
NFL PLAYERS HAVE A UNION.
THERE'S NO PILATES TEACHERS' UNION.
I'm right here.
+1 206 963 0755