Often times in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, grapplers will be faced with the all-too-common question: “Should I train gi or no-gi?” Basically, there’s no definite answer to this. Each form of BJJ offers its own distinct set of advantages that simply can’t be overlooked. With that being said, let’s take a look at the pros of each one.
Advantages of Training with the Gi
By training with the gi, you’ll be able to learn the fundamentals associated with Brazilian jiu-jitsu much more deeply. Since gi training typically includes a lot of collar attacks, you’ll be able to dramatically improve your defense as well. Another thing to consider: in the majority of self-defense situations on the street, the person that you’re defending against (the attacker) could possibly be wearing some sort of jacket or collared shirt.
The great thing about this is that the exact same techniques can be used on that opponent compared to a training partner on the mat. On a final note, gi training is simply a lot of fun! Since there are so many more points on an opponent to grab (collar, sleeve, pants, etc.) it makes it much easier to go for moves or sink in submissions much more tightly. Plus, by practicing with the gi, you’ll be practicing the same way that the original founders of Brazilian jiu-jitsu practiced over a century ago!
Advantages of Training without the Gi
From the perspective of comfort and overall enjoyment while practicing, training no-gi means not having to wear a heavy, hot kimono, as well as not needing to tie your belt several times during class. From a self-defense standpoint, training no-gi can provide a lot of benefits.
For example, if you were to face a confrontation on the beach, no-gi training would come in handy since it doesn’t require you to grab onto a piece of clothing in order to perform moves. Fighters who fight in MMA particularly love training without the gi since this mimics what they are going to experience within the octagon.
Finally, if you love scrambling or finding yourself in fun, new positions while on the mat, gi training can certainly be a way to experience this since the lack of a kimono can lead to some unorthodox scenarios while sparring. Which should you choose: gi or no-gi training? As a general rule of thumb, try to practice no-gi at least once or twice per week while practicing with the gi at least two or three times per month for optimal results in your skill levels.