When we move our nude bodies, we experience a range of motion greater than when we are clothed. It might be a difference of just a few millimeters in the range you can rotate your shoulder when not restricted by your shirt, or the way you can spread out your toes when you take off your shoes. But, inch by inch, a big difference is made if it’s a motion you’re repeating. Example: you’re hiking down the trail, and your nudity allows for a slightly longer stride and a more efficiently coordinated back-and-forth between the swaying of arms and the swinging of legs–not to mention the greater evaporation of sweat that’s facilitated by the unrestricted air passage over the entire body in motion.
Torque has to do with this swinging and swaying through a range of motion. It’s defined as “the moment of a force, a measure of its tendency to produce torsion and rotation about an axis” (American Heritage Dictionary). The image below cleverly uses Photoshop for an illustration of torque that shows how Tarzan is supposed to be depicted, sans loincloth!
Restrictive clothing severely reduces or eliminates the torque of those fleshy, boneless parts of ourselves–breasts, genitals, buttocks–that continue to swing or sway beyond the moment we’ve used our muscles to stop the core movement. If you’ve ever beaten eggs while unclothed, you know that this kind of torque can present itself in even the smallest of movements, and it can be startling at first, but also pleasant.
The original German FKK understanding of social nudity promoted movement through exercise as a big part of what being nude socially was all about. Black-and-white, silent videos from the early twentieth century show groups of nudists extending their full range of torque as they perform coordinated motions somewhere in between dance, martial art, and calisthenics. Unfortunately, these sorts of group activities are less popular now, although the recent growing popularity of nude yoga classes is at least one example of a contemporary equivalent for healthy stretching, focused breathing, and flow of force in a group setting unimpeded by fabric.
Volleyball, a general favorite for nude recreation today, is another activity that demonstrates the best of torque’s naked power unleashed, as players propel themselves by their legs, and send the ball over the net with coordination from swinging back, chest, and arms. Among nude enthusiasts, perhaps even more popular than volleyball on land is water volleyball, since for many participants the greater resistance of water (compared to air), along with the effects of buoyancy, mitigate the torsion of fleshy parts all while keeping the players cool and wet.
In all cases, the extended torque of this greater clothesfree range of motion is part of the beloved freedom so essential to all of us who celebrate being nude.
5 thoughts on “Nude Physics 2: Torque”
Great post, Will. It is good to think of the mechanics of the body in terms of free movement rather than constricted movement. Torque. I'll have to remember this. – Robert
The very thorough and speedy translator Cor van de Sande has rendered this article in French, posted here: http://www.vivrenu.ca/blogue/la-physique-de-la-nudite-cont/.Many thanks!
My understanding of the yoga poses is that we find how our bodies fit together best, and, importantly for this conversation, learn how to learn our ways into positions of unusual flexion, balance, and strength. There are some poses I can do dressed without minding, but some for which even the slight drag of my flannel trunks is a distraction. BKS Iyengar posed for Light on Yoga wearing something like a Speedo, and I have seen pictures of other Indian yogis posing in loincloths. One of my teachers wore a pair of short bloomers that were gathered at the crotch with elastic, and a jockstrap would probably be okay but silly.I've wondered about unbound breasts as a liability for the aspiring yogini, and I haven't made the nude whisking experiment yet.
The aspiring yogini – I'd say it's a good argument for folks being able to wear as much or as little as practical, recognizing different needs. As for the whisking – it's just an example. 🙂 Even just brushing your teeth or walking down the stairs can exemplify the beautiful torque of our bodies.
Whisking–would that be equivalent to sweeping with a broom?