Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has traditionally been performed while wearing the gi uniform. But no gi grappling is also a highly popular sport. No gi divisions are offered at most jiu jitsu tournaments. And no gi classes are offered at all of our academies. What are some of the differences between these two grappling practices?
It’s all about the grips!
The most obvious difference is that in gi jiu jitsu gripping of the opponent’s uniform is allowed. This provides many opportunities to control your opponent by gripping their sleeves or lapels. Likewise, it forces you to deal with and strip the grips they may get on your uniform.
Gripping is also a part of the no gi game, but practitioners must learn the parts of the human body that can easily be gripped without fabric. This can include the wrists, ankles, triceps, knees, back of the neck or head, and other places.
So which one is better for self defense? It’s a common misconception that no gi is better for self defense because an assailant likely won’t be wearing a gi. But consider that in any self-defense encounter, your attacker might grip onto your clothes. You will need to know how to strip those grips! Likewise, knowing how to effectively grip an assailant’s clothing (even if they are not wearing a gi) is an important advantage.
Speed of the game
Another difference between gi and no gi is the typical pace of a match. Gi jiu jitsu can at times be very fast paced, but the presence of grips can also be used to slow the game down and keep one’s opponent in a hold for a long time. It is a bit more difficult to maintain certain holds and positions in no gi, which often results in a faster pace of game play with more frequent changes in position.
So how do you choose?
At the end of the day, the style of jiu jitsu you want to focus on is really a matter of personal preference. However, if you want to have a well-rounded education in grappling, you really should train both gi and no gi.
In the end, gi and no gi really are two sides of the same coin. We hope to see you on the mats in the many gi and no gi classes offered at Easton!