Firstly, we should note that this can be a controversial topic and there are passionate arguments on both sides. We’re going to look at what each entail and the benefits and drawbacks of training in both. The history of BJJ dates back to the 1800s, and it’s not exactly clear when no-gi became a major part of the art.
Training in Gi BJJ
If you didn’t already know, a ‘gi’ is the loose jacket that can be worn in judo and karate. In gi BJJ, this jacket is worn and it allows fighters more grip. Suddenly, more techniques are available in combat and sweeps also become more common. With gi, a chain of submissions is achievable whether it’s the lapels of both individuals or the sleeves and collars. However, there are rules to how you can grab a sleeve or legging during a competition, so it’s important to know the rules of BJJ before entering a competition.
On the other hand, those who train with gi will need to get used to being warm. Not only is it hot, but there’s also a good amount of friction. As a sleeve or a loose piece of material grazes your body or face, it’s likely to leave behind a small friction burn. As well as causing pain, many note how it makes passing some guards harder.
Training in No-Gi BJJ
Rather than wearing a gi, this art will see you in simple shorts and t-shirt which, as you’ve probably immediately noticed, reduces the opportunities for grip. With this in mind, it’s a very different art and can often be faster-paced. With friction in gi BJJ, many feel as though the sport can be quite slow. With no-gi BJJ, the grips are similar to wrestling including the neck and various joints of the body. For the defensive-minded participants, no-gi BJJ can be ideal because you can slip out of grips and use sheer power to escape the opponent’s control.
Gi BJJ vs No-Gi BJJ
Which should you choose? When it comes to gi BJJ, many have described it as a more tactical game; a slowed-down version of the sport and almost a game of chess. Closely watching the opponent, being methodical about every step, and choosing the right time to attack/defend. To escape submissions, you’ll need a great technique.
With no-gi BJJ, the game is much faster and it’s all about explosiveness. Therefore, your stamina and conditioning should both improve while training. With wrestling-based takedowns, you’ll work on this explosiveness and how to tackle the opponent without having that easy grip available.
Training in Both Gi and No-Gi BJJ
While some people train and get to black belt in one field, others choose to practice both and this is an option you have. Over time, your grappling will improve and it should help to iron out any weaknesses. At some training schools, they even offer 50/50 training classes so students learn the merits of both. Eventually, you learn both grip-based and wrestling-based moves while also being able to defend against all types of opponent.
If you have this decision to make in the coming days and weeks, we recommend speaking to different schools and learning more about the topic. There are benefits and drawbacks to choosing each, and training both can keep lessons fresh and exciting. The choice is yours!
Whatever you decide to do, you want to make sure that the team you are training with has experience competing, has active competitors, and has a black belt training you that is either a legend or has received his black belt from the lineage of a legend like Roy Harris.
If you live in Tucson and are interested in a free trial class, contact us today and learn why jiu-jitsu is one of the fastest-growing sports in Tucson. If you are interested in other combat sports, you may find some of our other classes appealing as well. We offer some of the best combat training in Tucson for MMA and other combat sports including Boxing, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. We also offer personal training and Crossfit classes to our members that give everyone a diverse set of training skills.