Ending the Debate of Gi vs. No Gi Training
They say there is a classic debate between grapplers. Some believe Gi training is better, because it can apply to No Gi training as well. Others believe No Gi is better for real-life situations and makes it easier to transition into MMA. Debates are kind of formal, so let’s have some fun instead.
What is a gi?
The word ‘Gi’ is a martial arts uniform, and is short for keikogi, or doGi. Keiko means practice, while Gi means dress or clothes. The Gi’s heavy cotton jacket is supposedly based on the uniforms of Japanese firefighters. Along with its reinforced drawstring trousers, and colored belt, the Gi was regularly worn by judo practitioners around 1920. The Gi worn by BJJ practitioners are very similar.
What is a BJJ gi?
Beginners are sometimes allowed to participate in a judo Gi. After more serious training, however, the traditionally long and wide sleeves leave fighters more susceptible to submission-based attacks. Jiu-jitsu jackets fit tighter to the body, with shorter, narrower sleeves. They come in different colors, weights and weaves. Some are decorated with patches and embroidery, but this must be approved by your gym.
Should I train in Gi or No Gi?
That question delineates the two forms of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. One allows the use of a traditional Gi, which enables opponents to grab each other’s clothing. No-Gi fighters wear shorts and a rash guard, prohibiting any grabbing. World class grapplers train in both, but most limit themselves to just one. It is important to know the difference.
What are the pros of Gi training?
With Gi training, there is non-stop grabbing and pulling of fabric. This strengthens the muscles and tendons. It is a technical, problem-solving approach to fighting. The game is slowed down and more methodical, like playing chess.
What are the pros of No Gi training?
It is harder to adapt to Gi training, if you start training exclusively without the Gi. Training with the Gi may be more complex, due to all the grips, but No GI has many aspects that are not found in the Gi. Without the Gi, you will be using a lot of wrestling-based takedowns. Matches are faster and more explosive because of the lack of grips, which will greatly improve your conditioning.
Which is better?
This is where we are supposed to answer the question of Gi or No Gi. It all comes down to strategy. The two styles are similar, but they play out differently. With Gi, set-ups are based on gripping the lapel. No Gi players do not have this option, so they go for more chokes and foot locks.
It is really in your best interest to train in both. The mixture of Judo and Wrestling is what makes training exciting. Make it less repetitive and be prepared to excel at both competition-time.