The Gi versus No Gi debate in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has gone back and forth over the past 10-20 years, especially with 10th Planet and Eddie Bravo bringing No Gi to the forefront of jiu jitsu. If you are training BJJ as a beginner or for self-defense, then training in the Gi is the best for training.
People, who train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the Gi, grapple competently in both Gi and No Gi, but the same is not necessarily true in reverse. You’ll grow proficient in No Gi BJJ training, but your skills don’t necessarily translate because training BJJ in a Gi is a more complicated animal. You had everything available in No Gi, but now you have added a uniform that can choke or pin your opponent. When you train in a Gi, you give yourself more skills and techniques to apply in grappling.
You could train No Gi BJJ to prepare for a competition that requires you to wear shorts and a rash guard, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true. Some of the best No Gi grapplers in the world rarely train and compete in the Gi, and they don’t necessarily perform as well in the Gi division as they do in the No Gi division. However, some of the best No Gi grapplers in the world train almost exclusively in the Gi, and they perform well in both divisions. If you’re training for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament in the Gi division, then it’s best to start with the Gi and add No Gi to your training.
Proponents of No Gi BJJ will say that the gi is artificial for self-defense training. In a place like Southern California, where 10th Planet is based, you’re more likely to encounter an attacker in board shorts and a surf shirt than you are in heavy clothing. However, consider a place like Montana or other northern climates. Training in a Gi better prepares you for self-defense, where people wear pants and jackets for most of the year. In Montana and the northwest, training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in a Gi makes the most sense for self-defense training.
Training BJJ in Gi and No Gi are both fun, and I encourage you to train in both. However, if you’re going to choose one or the other, training in the Gi is best for jiu jitsu because you learn how to grapple with or without it. Your jiu jitsu skills will carry over in No Gi, and you’ll become proficient in both.
At SBG Kalispell, we offer training in both Gi and No Gi. Beginner BJJ students start in our Foundations BJJ program, training in a Gi. As their skills develop, we offer opportunities to train and grapple in No Gi. To learn more about our programs, fill out the form below!