Thursday, 6 February 2014


Contribution to history of CE in NZ

I have been watching an old VHS video tape of presentations made to a Conductive Education conference held somewhere in New Zealand on 16 March 1991, a real mouldy oldie, out of an ancient cardboard box festooned in real archival cobwebs.

The event was a travelling road show, comprising Judit Kallay, Ildikó Kozma, Julia Horvarth, and Maria Hari from the then International Pető Institute, the whole chaired by New Zealand's own Penny Jorgensen.

Mária did not look at all happy at the start of her own contribution. This was around the time, I guess, that under the new regime she was beginning to feel power slipping from her hands, and she looks most uncomfortable at this state of affairs. Watching, one could not but feel for her.

As soon as things were under way, however, especially as the vocal audience started chipping in with its questions, Kiwi style, she simply assumed her long established role – and took over. Struggling at times to explain in English, within a context not altogether ready for a wholly new orientation, supplementing her words with mime and demonstration, she forgot everything and came alive. 

Never mind the micro-politics, while she lived A Doktornő was always the leader.

Here is a snatch of what she said, part of a response to a question from the floor–
There’s a gap between the conception of the movement and the performing of the movement. He intends to do it, but he can’t accomplish it in an appropriate way.
The wonderful thing that Pető came up with was that he figured he had to change the way of the intention, and he had to teach the way of the intention. This concept was non-existent.
[He taught] how to want [to do a movement]. For example: I want to hold on to my ear. If my muscle tone is spastic and I want to hold on to my ear I’ll do this [Mária pretends that her arm jerks up]. This is a bad automatism and I can’t hold on to my ear.
However, I can be taught how to want to hold my ear; I can be taught a different strategy. I can be taught to slow my will down, put my elbow forward [she demonstrates with hers on the top of the table], wait for the stiff muscles to relax during the slow rhythm, because slow rhythm relaxes stiffness, then use the relaxed tone and hold on to my ear [Mária demonstrates how, with evident delight].
Interest in Conductive Education now goes back some thirty years in New Zealand. Time for someone to have a crack at compiling a history.


Jorgenson, P. (chair) (1991) Conference, PACE NZ  (Videotape), 16 March

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