Sport ‘Au Naturel’: What We’ve Lost

‘Gymnastics’ means ‘The Naked Art’. Although most boys train shirtless in the gym, it was not what we know as gymnastics today, but track and field athletics and wrestling, performed by naked boys – boys all enjoying their ‘freedom’.

Cut to 1952 USA:

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Four swimmers cheerfully photographed for the school yearbook – and the local newspaper. Swimming naked…

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Yep…boys to swim naked alongside the girls. Schools, and the ‘Y’…

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tumblr_nyck5gpx2b1uvssdso1_1280So, our tendency to train naked for weights gym… maybe not so weird? Except that it is 2017 not 1952, and some attitudes sure have changed, especially here in US!

I posted some while back (and you’ll have to search because I forget which post) a contemporary newspaper cutting in which the debate about naked swimming in schools was again raised: boys voted to stay naked, girls to cover up. Parents supported both choices.

Then, more recently, in November, we had a piece specifically on naked weights training. That generated a lengthy report from a reader in London UK about the NKD Training website which is linked at the bottom of this page. Regular sessions where guys can train with like-minded guys in a private sessions which is – contrary to some suggestions – entirely focussed on the training. Like us and the lads in our cabin.

The above swimming reports – and more – can be found on a brief blog site www.stillrowing7-swimming.tumblr.com/archive  which was drawn to my attention by a follower here in western TN. One post accuses the blogger of photoshopping all his posts, but I suggest, given the number of newspaper cuttings, that everything seen there is ‘true to life’.

cover1-thumbcover2-thumbcover-3-thumbSo: we’ve been ‘at it’  since we were late teens, admittedly as gay guys and with gay friends (see the books). Our kids and their friends (yes, we are gay dads) also train naked, largely because my son and Dave’s daughter grew up alongside our training regime… shirts and shoes are hardly ever worn in the home, and less in the training cabin! Guys sharing the enjoyment of developing their bodies, encouraging each other, admiring each other’s progress. Working together, one making a human ‘bench’ for his friend’s bench press while a third ‘spots’ – the “bench’s” muscles straining against the performer, sharing the moment. Magic.

It is curious that the most likely candidates for training naked these days (apart from us!) seem to be ballet boys – at least from the number of photos out there. We’ll move on here to a little celebration of guys working naked at their chosen pursuits – in many cases acrobatics – and sometimes enjoying the sun on their backs:

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Rain? No problem:

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Warm rain on a warm body? Great feeling – try running shirtless in a light rain! And this guy might as well be in the pool – although he does seem to need his Speedos on this rainy restaurant terrace:

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Now, some guys who are close to training naked but didn’t quite make it:

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Of course, if the trunks come off, a towel to sit on is desirable or, as in our private gym, a mandatory thorough shower before starting! That won’t stop the sweat, but sweat in weights gyms is also mandatory! Better outdoors, where possible (n.b. – bad form here – back should stay in contact with the bench to avoid over-strain):

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That last was a ballet rehearsal, I think.

Did I mention that naked wrestling – uninhibited raw power struggle – is also hugely fun (and in keeping with that ancient Greek ‘gymnastic’ tradition)?

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And, to finish, here’s a guys activity which would probably have been better naked, although I guess some onlookers would have thought it inappropriate. But they went down to underpants (something Russian boys are prone to do in public rather than buy themselves Speedos, incidentally – but that’s a story for another day).

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tumblr_mu11i9vyv11rsh0nno1_1280So: shuck the shirt AT LEAST, train hard, watch each other’s muscles develop, and have FUN!

What’s not to like? Comments? gymacrobat@gmail.com

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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3 Responses to Sport ‘Au Naturel’: What We’ve Lost

  1. Pingback: Facebook Makes My Point! | Tony Cavanagh

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  3. Pingback: ‘Schmeissing’, Anyone? | Tony Cavanagh

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