At about the age of 45, I began to experience severe pain in both of my knees. I was told I had damaged the cartilage, initially caused by the use of a kicking strap on a sailing dinghy, and made worse by many years of beagling, and to stop beagling or risk ending up in a wheelchair. A few years later a friend suggested the Alexander Technique. At first I was very sceptical, but had also reached the stage where I was ready to try virtually any means to solve the problem. A few weeks after my first lesson, I had gone out beagling, but only walking. Some hounds had separated from the main pack and the Master asked a friend to go and bring them back. As the friend ran past me, he asked me to accompany him in order to help him. I was amazed I could run without any pain whatsoever. My back pain had also almost completely disappeared although it remained a small problem for a while. If the pain recurred, I would almost immediately lie down to apply the Technique. It is now many years since I last had back pain. I am now 75 years old and still go out beagling.
The following is an extract from the Rules of the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique which lay down the current requirements for approved training courses.
10. Training Courses
10.1. Any STAT approved training course shall meet the following criteria:
10.1.1. A Training Course shall have at least 1,600 total class hours, over a period of at least three years.
10.1.2. 80% (1,280 hours) of these hours shall consist of practical work in the Alexander Technique.
10.1.3. Each training week shall consist of no less than 12 hours of classes and no more than 20 hours of classes over at least four days with each day to consist of no less than three hours of classes and no more than four hours of classes.
10.1.4. The ratio of teachers to students shall not be less than one teacher to five students during practical work, with all such teachers being certified by STAT or an Affiliated Society.
10.1.5 All regular teachers that make up the 1:5 teacher to student ratio, once a training course becomes STAT approved, are required to be members of STAT so that they are bound by the Society’s codes and rules.
10.1.6. A training course shall have a main (named) assistant who has been certified by and has been in continuous membership of STAT or an Affiliated Society for at least five years prior to becoming the main (named) assistant. However, once a training course becomes STAT approved they are required to be members of STAT so that they are bound and abide by the society’s codes, rules, policies and requirements.
10.1.7. Any application to run a training course shall include details of the scheduling of classes; an outline curriculum; details of the hands-on instruction, student supervisions and any supplementary material that will be taught together with any other information that Council may deem necessary in order to consider the application.
10.1.8. A training course shall comply with STAT’s policies relating to the moderation of students and the conduct of training courses as set out in the respective handbooks and policies.
10.1.9 All training courses will be subject to a yearly procedure that allows for on-going approval and which helps to identify cases where advice, help or intervention might be desirable or necessary.
10.2. Any teacher applying to set up an approved teacher training course shall:
10.2.1. Have been certified, practising and in continuous membership of STAT or of an Affiliated Society for at least 10 consecutive years.
10.2.2. Be required, if not a member, to join STAT before the Training Course application is submitted, and by doing so shall agree to abide by the Society’s codes, rules, policies and requirements.
10.2.3 Submit references from two Heads of Training (STAT or Affiliated Society approved), at least one of which is currently running a STAT approved training course. Both must be willing and able to fully endorse both the applicant and their work. Another reference is required from a teaching member of STAT with at least 12 years experience and a fourth must be a character reference from a person of good standing who knows the applicant well and who is not an Alexander teacher.
10.2.4. Have at least one-year’s continuous experience assisting on an Approved Training Course.
10.2.5. Accept that in exceptional circumstances Council may choose to vary and/or waive any of the above criteria. Council may also stipulate certain conditions on approval.