It was a car accident that took away a life she had planned as a promising ballerina. Moon Ji-sook (’86, Dance), who seemed to have a great future as a ballerina. Moon was only 26 years old when she hurt her waist and had to quit ballet. It seemed a capital sentence to Moon because there was nothing she could do any longer as a ballerina, as a woman who was highly motivated only for dancing for more than two decades.
“I even brainwashed myself into thinking I quit ballet for my own decision, not because of the accident in order to keep my self-esteem,” Moon said.
However, the once frustrated ballerina is now the queen of Pilates in Korea. Pilates is a mind training and muscle exercise that was created by Josef Pilates in the 19th century for his own rehabilitation. He invented various motions, referring to Yoga movements but also differentiated them from Yoga in their logical and medical connection.
Now Pilates is a worldwide popular exercise among people pursuing inner peace and wanting to stay fit. At first, Moon learned Pilates for rehabilitating her waist after the accident; she then studied more deeply, and finally became famous for her own Pilates education system, which is newly developed specifically for Koreans.
“All sports and exercises have been influenced by the culture in which they are rooted. My Pilates education system relies on 70 percent of initial Pilates styles with 30 percent modification specially designed for Koreans’ body structure and national psyche,” Moon said.
She has taught Pilates officially to people who need rehabilitation or want to get their bodies in shape since 2004 and opened her own Pilates studio in 2008 at Garosu-gil, Gangnam. Moon is not only renowned for her innovative Pilates education system, but also for her celebrity trainees, such as Son Ye-jin and Kong Hyo-jin among others. Currently more than 150 trainees visit her studio per month.
Not only does Moon teach Pilates but she also runs courses of other exercising methods for people who want to be instructors.
Moon is not just a famous Pilates instructor, but rather an expert in the field. She believes that each and every Pilates movement is attributed to logical and scientific reasoning. Therefore, she always studies for new techniques to teach and shares medical knowledge with doctors with whom she is aquainted to teach Pilates more effectively.
Moon also attends overseas conferences on exercise not well known in Korea in order to introduce them to Korean public.
“The happiest moment in my routine is when I see the bright smiles of people after exercising who came to my studio in a painful state. Since I have the experience of having been in pain myself, I can understand people who come to learn Pilates from me for their rehabilitation,” Moon said.
It was hard for her to overcome her destiny at first but she accepted it, which became her first step for finding a new life. As a person who lives a successful second life, Moon gives a piece of advice for students who are afraid of doing a job that seems to have nothing to do with their major:
“I had to find another life beyond ballet, which I had done for since I was six years old. Life is full of making choices and you are young. Four years of campus life is too short to make whole life plan.”
Moon believes difficult ordeals are given to the people who are strong enough to get over them. Moon also emphasizes that there is no human being who has no regret in his or her whole life.
“You could regret everything in your past, whatever it is, but what is really important is doing your best when you restart.”