To gi or not to gi, that is the question. With the growth of MMA is contributing to more and more people walking through the doors of BJJ academies nationwide, there is a controversy inside these BJJ walls when it comes to wearing the uniform (gi) or not. many Due to schools offering gi and no-gi classes, many argue over which is the best training method. One group says if you fight in a no-gi tournament, you should just train in wrestling and no-gi only. But, I still believe that training with the gi is fundamental for success in no-gi.
What is the answer?
To be successful, training with the gi is fundamental for no-gi and here is why. First, gi training is much more technical. When training in the gi, there are many more options to grab and use for submissions. Hence, the ability to defend those attacks must be wider as well. Without the gi, many times you can escape from a submission or a hold position by using the old “sweat pull out”. Due to the gi absorbing one’s sweat, a simple pull out will not work. I believe all BJJ practitioners should train in the gi for the first year or up until bluebelt because you need a foundation. Like the great Rickson Gracie always said “If the your house doesn’t have a foundation, the house will fall.” The gi provides that BJJ “road map”, a way to learn how apply submissions better and for a technical to escape submissions.
The Weight Factor
Weight is another factor. When you are wearing a gi, it feels like you have a backpack on. Take it off and you feel lighter and faster. Training in the gi for that first year will also help you learn to attack in combinations fasters.
Need more proof?
In conclusion, lets talk ADCC. The ADCC tournament over the years has been won primally by BJJ blackbelts who train mostly in the gi. In the last 3 ADCC tournaments in 2011, 2013 and 2015, every single division was won by a BJJ blackbelt.