There is an age old debate in the sport of jiu jitsu over Gi versus NoGi. Although most students train in both, some pioneers consider one to reign supreme over the other. There are legitimate arguments for both practices. If you have trained in both, you will understand the differences and nuances to each. NoGi has the advantage of not relying on clothing for control or position.
This translates more fluidly to a self-defense situation. The Gi, on the other hand, has several benefits that can easily be applied to NoGi situations just as easily as the Gi. In this article, I will explore the advantages of the Gi and how that can be applied in all facets of jiu-jitsu.
BJJ Gi Training Advantages
The Gi provides a huge amount of friction when grappling. This friction makes it far more difficult to reply on strength over technique. A simple example like shrimping requires far more precision and accuracy in the Gi than the NoGi. In addition to the technique aspect, the Gi is often heavy and can weigh you down. This added weight not only increases conditioning, it also adds to the difficulty of escaping. The friction and the weight of the Gi are aspects of Bjj that cannot be recreated in NoGi. When transitioning to NoGi, escapes will become more fluid and less effortful.
Over Hooks and Under Hooks
The beauty of Gi training is the flexibility to use both Gi and NoGi controls. NoGi forces you to make use of over and under hooks. In the Gi, you have the additional option of choosing collar and sleeve control. If you adjust your Gi training to focus mainly on over and under hooks, your NoGi game will develop exponentially. The thick Gi material makes these hooks difficult to hold. As a result, you will condition yourself to have a tighter grip. When training NoGi, this conditioning will enable you to hold a tighter and more solid grip on your opponent.
Although touched on above, the Gi slows everything down and gives you a better feel for technique. This is as true for escapes as it is for positioning and submissions. A classic example is the Rear Naked Choke. In the Gi, even if you cannot sink the choke, the control over your opponent is very firm. In NoGi, the lack of friction makes it easy to escape from that same position. By slowing everything down, BJJ Gi Training Advantages allows you to get a truer feel of every technique. If you feel one area loosening up, you will have the time to adjust. This slow training translates to the fast pace of NoGi by making you aware of a technique’s nuances and allowing you to fix prevent issues before they occur.
Any student who has trained in both disciplines will understand the difference in effort between Gi and NoGi. Although fast paced, the lack of a heavy Gi enables NoGi students to roll for much longer than Gi students. Training in the Gi is not only adds weight but the friction between uniforms also adds another layer of effort to techniques. A similar comparison would be running with a weight vest on. You are developing the same skills but the effort required is that much higher. Naysayers of the Gi would be wise to train a couple of times a week for conditioning if nothing else.