The bottom line is that, if you can, you should train in both Gi and No Gi. Each style has benefits and drawbacks, and they all help you become a stronger grappler. Most of the time, you shouldn’t fully dedicate yourself to one style over another, and those that do so are merely limiting their growth (more on this later).
Don’t Overthink Gi vs. No Gi Training
Should I train with a gi or without one when I first started practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu? When you initially begin training, this question could seem crucial, but you shouldn’t give it too much thought. In the end, what matters is that you’re on the mat, that you’re learning, and that you’re moving closer to your objectives. Some people may like to train six days a week and take part in both Gi and No Gi competitions. Others might set a goal of working out twice a week and attending whatever class, whether Gi or No Gi, fits their schedule that particular week.
Whatever your circumstances, just make sure you’re practicing as much as you can because both Gi and No Gi are crucial for the growth of your BJJ skills.
The Benefits of Gi Training
1. GI APPLICATION IN THE REAL WORLD
Unbelievable as it may seem, training in the custom BJJ Gi does have “real-world” applications. You could be thinking, “But nobody strolls around in pajamas. What application does the Gi have in the real world?
The grips you employ on Gi pants are most definitely going to work on someone wearing jeans if you have to wrestle them outside of the gym. The grips you use on a Gi jacket also translate if someone is wearing a coat, sweatshirt, or even a t-shirt. Given that you might only have one opportunity to collar choke someone wearing a t-shirt before it tears, make the most of it. Naturally, your No Gi training will be more useful if you come into physical contact with someone on the beach or in the pool.
2. THE GI CAN MAKE THE GAME SLOWER
The Gi has the power to level the playing field if you are younger, smaller, or in any other disadvantageous position. Control in the Gi can be greatly increased thanks to the Gi fabric’s increased friction and the capacity for secure grips. You may need some time to master the techniques necessary to make it an equalizer, but using the Gi will make it simpler for you to control and hold an opponent who is bigger and stronger but only if you are using good quality Gi by a custom Gi maker. For older or smaller grapplers who want to compete against younger, stronger, and bigger opponents, this may be a blessing.
3. THE BELT SYSTEM AND PROMOTIONS
While some gyms and systems allow you to advance without using the Gi, the majority of gyms demand you to use the Gi in order to advance. A belt advancement is a sign of prestige within the community and an acknowledgment of personal progress for the individual, even though it may not matter to everyone. You will need to practice in the Gi if you hope to one day earn a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Does this imply that you should stop practicing No Gi? Obviously not. Training in No Gi is as crucial to the improvement of your entire game.
The Benefits of No Gi Training
1. NO GI’S REAL-WORLD APPLICATION
As was already mentioned, when both people are dressed more casually, No Gi is more practical in real-world situations. Depending on where you live, you might go most of the day without a shirt on and only wear Custom gear shorts. If this is the case, No Gi training will be more effective in a self-defense situation if you have no choice but to get physical. Even if you often wear a coat and jeans to stay warm, you never know when you’re going to need to defend yourself. At the lake, the beach, or when out on a run, you might need to wrestle.
2. It’s not always possible to obtain the desired grip.
You won’t always be able to acquire your optimum grips, not even in the Gi. Maybe your opponent is more skilled at hand combat, or maybe you just can’t seem to hold a position for long enough to get your preferred grips. Whatever the case, there are instances when you simply cannot use a Gi grip. You will learn how to better control people without the fabric by practicing No Gi. Cross-body side control will help you with cross-face. From north to south, your weight will be more evenly distributed. Most essential, whether it’s Gi or No Gi, you’ll learn how to adjust to every circumstance.
3. IN THE GI, YOUR GRIPS WILL ACTUALLY GET BETTER
You’ll probably see an improvement in your Gi grip game, which is one of the top reasons to train without a gi. The grips for both Gi and No Gi are interchangeable between each style. You cannot, however, rely on the strength of your hold on the Gi’s fabric when you are wearing No Gi. Instead, you need to up the ante on your gripping strategy. Instead of relying solely on your grip strength, you will find that you are becoming better at making minor adjustments and precise articulations to maintain control. You’ll notice that your Gi grips get even better once you’ve begun to improve your No Gi grip skills.
When to Train with Just Gi or Just No Gi
Most people should not overthink the Gi vs. No Gi preference and instead concentrate on training what they can, when they can. There are, however, certain exceptions.
1. READYING FOR A CONTEST
You may only want to compete in Gi or No Gi if you are taking part in a BJJ competition. Due to how tiresome and exhausting it is, not everyone will want to do both. There will be a lot of downtimes while you wait for your bracket to begin in between Gi and No Gi matches because tournaments are rarely on schedule. Gi and No Gi might even be stretched out across several days if the competition is big enough.
You should train mostly in the style you will be competing in if you decide to compete in Gi or No Gi to get ready for it.
2. Concentrating on a method
You will reach a stage in your development where you must buckle down and concentrate on a certain skill, set of techniques, or idea. It’s possible that your coach has been considering you for a promotion but has objected to one of your Gi grips. In this case, you should probably attend only the Gi courses for a bit as you focus on that. The same may be said with your takedowns. Only attend the wrestling class, which is normally No Gi, if you want to. Focusing on only one style during these periods is still beneficial.
3. CARE FOR A HURT
Even if you can only train in a very restricted capacity while injured, you should still strive to exercise. It may be safer to train in the manner with which you are most familiar during these times.
Be very honest and transparent about your injury with your trainers and training partners, and make sure you are taking it easy and protecting it. Avoid reinjuring yourself by letting your ego get the better of you. It is crucial to be aware of your limitations. Keeping your mind engaged, doing what you can, and making the most of your restrictions are the goals of training when disabled. You will be astonished to learn that your game has not stagnated when you recover fully from your injury.