Gi vs No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu: Which One is Better? Pros and Cons Revealed

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There is no debate that Jiu-Jitsu is an incredibly effective martial art. However, there is a big debate in the Jiu-Jitsu community about whether or not you should train in Gi (kimono) or No-Gi. Some people swear by the effectiveness of training in Gi, while others believe that No-Gi provides all the benefits you need. So, which one is better? Let’s take a closer look at both options. 

People who train only in gi say that it familiarizes you with grips and makes it difficult for your opponent to move around on you as they please. They also argue that when wearing a gi, chances are an opponent will have less grip strength because cloth provides more friction than skin. We’ll go over this and more in the next section.

Differences Between Gi and No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu

Different kinds of clothing

The major difference between the two types of Jiu-Jitsu is that in Gi, you wear a kimono (or gi), and in No-Gi, you do not. The gi is a uniform that consists of a jacket and pants. The jacket is usually made of cotton and has long sleeves that are tightened at the wrist by cuffing, and a collar that is tightened on the neck by a draw-string. The pants are usually made of cotton or canvas and usually have an elastic waistband. The material of the gi allows you to grab it easily to make moves such as chokes and joint locks more successful.

Differences in training

In Gi Jiu-Jitsu, you learn how to use the gi to your advantage. For example, you learn how to use the fabric of the gi to choke or control your opponent. You also learn how to defend against moves that utilize the gi. In No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, there is no fabric for you to grab, so you have to rely on different techniques to control and submit your opponent. Training without the gi can be a little more challenging because it requires you to be more creative with your moves.

No-Gi works in many ways like wrestling, with the exception that you can still use Jiu-Jitsu moves and submissions. Because there are no grips to maintain, this type of Jiu-Jitsu tends to be faster-paced and more dynamic. No-Gi also places a premium on takedowns and throws because ground fighting becomes much more difficult without the help of a gi.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

The popularity of MMA has led many people to believe that training in No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu is more beneficial because it closely resembles the kind of fighting you see in the Octagon. MMA fighters rarely, if ever, wear a gi when they fight, so it makes sense that you would want to train without one if your goal is to compete in MMA.

However, many successful MMA fighters have a background in Gi Jiu-Jitsu, such as UFC Champion Georges St-Pierre and Lyoto Machida. So, while training in No-Gi may give you an advantage when transitioning to MMA, it is not essential.

So, which type of Jiu-Jitsu should you train in?

The answer may depend on your goals. If you want to compete in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, you will need to learn and master both types because they are both used in competition. If you’re interested in self-defense, No-Gi may be a better option because it more closely resembles a real-world situation. And if you’re just looking to get in shape and have some fun, either type will work just fine.

At the end of the day, the best way to determine which type of Jiu-Jitsu is right for you is to try them both and see which one you like better. Many Jiu-Jitsu schools offer classes in both Gi and No-Gi, so you can easily try both and decide for yourself which one you prefer. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to benefit from the many benefits of Jiu-Jitsu.

The history of the two styles of Jiu-Jitsu

The history of the two styles is very interesting and can be the center of an entire blog post. The origins of No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu can be found in Japan, where it is called Judo. In Judo, practitioners wear a loose-fitting gi (or kimono), which allows for easy takedowns and throws. Eventually, several techniques from Judo were adapted to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after they reached Brazil in the early 1900s.

How have the two styles evolved over time

The two styles of Jiu-Jitsu have evolved quite a bit over time. In ancient times, they were primarily practiced as self-defense techniques by the samurai warriors of Japan. Then, in the early 20th century, Judo was introduced to Brazil and later became what we now know as No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu. Since then, both styles have continued to evolve and grow in popularity around the world.

Today, there are thousands of gyms offering classes in both Gi and No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu. And with its growing popularity in MMA competitions, many people are turning to this martial art for self-defense or training purposes.

Rule Differences between the two styles

There are a few key rule differences between the two styles of Jiu-Jitsu. In Gi Jiu-Jitsu, a BJJ practitioner is allowed to grab their opponent’s gi (or traditional gi uniform) during a match. This provides a significant advantage because it gives you something to hold on to when trying to take your opponent down or submit them.

In no-gi BJJ, however, grabbing the gi is not an option. This makes it more difficult to control your opponent and can make for a more fast-paced and dynamic match.

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation is in charge of competitive BJJ. Gi and no-gi BJJ divisions exist within the IBJJF. The heel hook maneuver is prohibited in GIs, but it is permitted in several no-gi BJJ events, such as the one hosted by the Abu Dhabi Combat Club. In general, Gi competitions have more stringent regulations and standards than their no-Gi BJJ counterparts.

Benefits of Gi Training

There are many benefits to training in Gi Jiu-Jitsu, regardless of your goals. First, the gi provides a level of stability and control that is not present in No-Gi. The gi allows you to grab your opponent and control their movement, which can be very helpful when trying to take them down or submit them.

Another benefit of training in the Gi is that it forces you to be more technical and precise with your movements. In No-Gi, there is less structure and more room for error, which can lead to bad habits.

Finally, training in the Gi will give you a better understanding of the many aspects of Jiu-Jitsu. The gi is a complex piece of clothing with many different parts that can be used to your advantage in a match. Learning how to use the gi will make you a more well-rounded fighter and give you an edge over your opponents.

Benefits of No Gi Training

While there are many benefits to training in Gi Jiu-Jitsu, there are also several benefits to training in No-Gi. First, as we mentioned before, No-Gi is more similar to a real-world situation. If you’re interested in self-defense or competition, you’re more likely to find yourself in a No-Gi situation.

Another benefit of No-Gi is that it is generally faster-paced and more dynamic. Without the gi to grab onto, matches tend to be more fluid, and moves are often executed quicker. This can make for a more exciting match and also help you develop better timing and reflexes.

Finally, because No-Gi does not have as many rules, it allows you to be more creative with your techniques. In Gi Jiu-Jitsu, many specific techniques must be followed for a move to be legal. In No-Gi, however, there are no such restrictions, which gives you the freedom to be more innovative with your movements.

The Verdict

Benefits of No-Gi Training

  • Similar to real-world situations
  • Faster paced and more dynamic
  • Not as many rules and restrictions

Benefits of Training in Gi Jiu-Jitsu

  • Gi provides a level of stability and control offering more leverage
  • Forces you to be more technical
  • Gives you a better understanding of the origins of Jiu-Jitsu

Each type of Jiu-Jitsu has its own unique set of benefits that can be advantageous to practitioners. It really depends on your goals as to which style you should train in. If you’re interested in self-defense or competition, then No-Gi may be a better option for you. If you’re looking to learn the origins of Jiu-Jitsu and be more technical, then Gi Jiu-Jitsu may be the better choice. Ultimately, the best way to decide which style is right for you is to try out both types and see which one you enjoy more.

Final Thoughts

Gi vs No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu is a topic that has been debated by martial artists for many years. There are benefits and drawbacks to both styles, and the best way to decide which one is right for you is to try them both out. Thanks for reading our blog post on the history and benefits of using a Gi in Jiu-Jitsu!

Origin fighter

Origin Fighter is a blog for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to learn about Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, Wrestling, Boxing, Health & Nutrition, Performance and more. Origin Fighter also provides information on how to train smarter with resources such as workout plans and diets tailored for your goals.

About the Author

I am a huge fan of both BJJ and MMA. Jiu-jitsu is my biggest passion, and I’ve been training it for more than 5 years. I have recently been promoted to a purple belt. In this blog, I will be giving you tips on how to improve and how to choose the best BJJ equipment! Learn More