Types of Brazilain Jiu-Jitsu: Gi vs NoGi

Gi vs NoGi

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of the fastest-growing martial arts in the world right now! More and more people are waking up to the idea of stepping onto the mats and taking responsibility for health in new ways. In jiu-jitsu, there are two styles of play: no-gi and gi. In this article, we are looking at the types and comparing them to one another!

Gi vs NoGi

Types of Brazilain Jiu-Jitsu: Gi vs NoGi

When taking on the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu it is important to note that there are two main styles of play that you will need to get accustomed to, this is gi and no-gi. The main difference that people notice is the attire that you were in each style of play. When training in the gi you are competing against someone else in a uniform known as a gi or more commonly referred to as a kimono.

The differences between the two styles of play run deeper than just the attire you find yourself wearing. Things that work in Gi Jiu-jitsu may not work in No-Gi and vice versa. Many people lean toward a preference for style as they get more into the sport but for the most part, it is ideally important to be competent in both.

Most schools in the United States these days offer both styles of play as classes throughout the week. It is very uncommon to find a school that trains strictly no-gi but you may find more schools only teaching in the Gi because it is the more traditional way of learning martial art.

Gi vs NoGi

Differences Between No-Gi vs Gi Jiu-Jitsu

Key Difference: Ways to attack

One of the big differences between no-gi and gi-style jiu-jitsu is the setups for attacking an opponent. Because the Gi is easy to grab, and establish grips and adds more friction to the encounters you have it is much easier to grip opponents and control movements when compared to no-gi. 

Certain guards like the spider guard are very popular when training in the gi. At the highest levels, this guard position is used to control your opponent’s posture and ability to make quick movements. Just from a 30-minute training session in no-gi, you will quickly realize the spider guard is not nearly as effective because it is much easier to slip out of positions like this when you are slippery from sweat.

Many things that work in the gi will not translate well into no-gi but many things in no-gi do translate over very well when in the gi. In our opinion, training no-gi makes you a better offensive player in the gi. When you know how to be creative and get into favorable positions without the friction of a gi, it just makes it that much easier to establish dominance with it.

Key Difference: Rulesets

Numerous rules differ from Gi and No-gi jiu-jitsu tournaments. It is important to know that when you compete you understand what style is being played and what ruleset is going to be enforced throughout the matches. One common technique that is banned in IBJJF Gi Tournaments is the heel hook. In the ADCC ruleset (No-gi style of play) the heel hook is one of the most common submissions that you could get.

Make sure you read and understand the rules at play before you decide to compete. Your coach should be aware of the differences between the two!

Gi vs NoGi

Similarities Between No-Gi and Gi

At the end of the day, the two styles of play are still jiu-jitsu. They are not the same in the way you approach problems that arise but for the most part, the styles of play have many things in common.

Should I Specialize?

This is a pretty personal question that one would need to come to answer for themselves. We believe that you should not pigeonhole yourself by specializing in one style over the other. To be a well-rounded jiu-jitsu athlete you need to be training both gi and no-gi. There is nothing wrong with having a preference of which you like to train most but you should not ignore one style of play over another.

Our goal is to be the best athlete that we can be, in order to do this we have to train in both styles and be proficient in many different situations. We highly suggest anyone that is serious about getting good at jiu-jitsu, wants to claim the ranks and adopts all the positives from BJJ to train both Gi and No-gi. As we stated earlier, most gyms these days offer both styles of training throughout the week, how often you show up and train is dependent on your goals and ability to commit to the sport.

It s crucial to understand that both of these play styles will be important for your growth in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Getting to a high level in this sport will take years of training in both styles and mastering techniques that are suitable for their styles of play. When you embrace learning from both styles of play you will find that many techniques are similar by nature or can be translated completely.

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