Gi vs. No-Gi training has evolved into a popular debate in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu circles.
What’s the best and most efficient way to learn BJJ? Should a student focus on training in gi or no-gi? Is one better than the other for self-defense?
If you’re new to BJJ, you might hear these questions come up as you’re comparing schools. If you’re already training, you’ll know there are passionate advocates on both sides of these questions.
Before we dig down into the differences between gi and no-gi training, we’ll take our official stance: We think you should train both.
As a traditional Gracie BJJ school that places a high value on both technique and self-defense, we offer mostly gi classes.
While the gi is our traditional garment, that’s not the only reason we choose to use it in the majority of our training. The functionality and usefulness of the gi are proven time and time again when we put our training to the test in real self-defense situations.
Popular arguments against the gi usually go something like this: Gi’s aren’t realistic, people don’t walk around in a kimono, sparring in a gi isn’t exciting, etc.
However, our combined years of professional experience, and practical application of jiu-jitsu, prove to us that the gi mimics clothing in an extremely useful way. People generally move about their lives wearing jackets, T-shirts, pants, jeans, collars and all varieties of clothing.
The gi is simply a good general representation of normal clothes.
We also value the technical benefits of the gi. Using a gi makes our students much more sensitive to touch and their opponents’ strategies. Furthermore, training in a gi allows for more control of yourself and your opponent’s body and creates more chances to identify (and fall for) opportunities for submission.
The superiority of the gi in maintaining good hygiene is also a consideration. A gi is great protection against scratches, it absorbs sweat, and it keeps space between opponents’ skin. In a time when cleanliness is top-of-mind for everyone, we look to do everything we can to stay safe.
Finally, it’s important to remember that everything we teach in the gi not only translates to real-life self-defense, but it’s also transferable to your no-gi training.
Most people who sign up for a no-gi class opt to wear some combination of tight-fitting clothing, like shorts and rash guards. While it’s fun and an interesting challenge to train with a slippery opponent, most self-defense situations do not involve rash guards and spandex.
That said, the black belts on our teaching staff still fully understand the added value of no-gi training in your regimen.
No-gi grappling looks very different from a match where both people are wearing a gi. Matches are faster and some of your methodology absolutely must adapt to account for the lack of clothing to grip.
It’s great training for quick thinking, cardiovascular gains, and competition. Students learn to quickly adjust for sweat and speed. We also practice submission techniques that do not rely on grasping the sleeve or collar, opting instead for the wrist, elbow, knee, hips, etc.
The down-side our coaches see is that no-gi opens up the door for gaps in training to be exposed. People who are strong can muscle through strategies and rely less on methodology.
Since we place technical training and responsibility in such high regard, we think it’s ok to slow down and make sure our technique is perfect. Not only is it safer, but it makes us better overall in our BJJ, in and out of the gi, over time.
What kind of training will you find at Lineage BJJ
If you attend classes at Lineage BJJ you can expect a mix of gi and no-gi classes as we expand our schedule. While you’ll find much is the same in the training in gi or no-gi, It’s important to practice both so you add dimension to your training and your jiu-jitsu isn’t compromised.
Currently, in our Calvert County location, we have one day designated as a no-gi day on our schedule, and we’ll do the same in our St. Mary’s location as we open more classes. You can also look for us to occasionally host T-shirt-only classes or, more simply, just opt to remove the top of our gi as the context of normal instruction necessitates. We aim to prepare our students to face all types of situations and opponents, not just their clothes.
Most importantly, you can look for us to teach both more thoroughly, more responsibly, and just better than competing schools in the area.
© Lineage BJJ, LLC & Kristin Beauchamp