GI vs No GI with coach Jason


GI or No GI? That is the question…

For several years now a debate has been raging within the grappling community over which style of ground-fighting is better – Gi or no-Gi. To me the answer is “both” and “neither”.

The two are not dramatically opposed nor are they mutually exclusive. Many grapplers limit themselves to training exclusively with or without the Gi. This is a detrimental practice because they are denying themselves access to the benefits of the omitted style.

For me, I started my training in the Gi 8 years ago. I always had a passion for MMA so my game was still very no-Gi based. For me it’s easier to transition from no-Gi to Gi as no-Gi relies heavily on the use of overhooks and underhooks as opposed to lapel and sleeve grips. However they both have huge benefits and a complete grappler should train in both.


  • Improves upper body strength: The constant gripping of your opponent’s sleeves, lapels and trousers greatly strengthens the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the hands, forearms, upper arms and back – all of which are used in both styles of grappling. –
  • Slows the game down because the Gi keeps you and your opponent relatively dry and creates friction it results in a slightly slower game than submission grappling. This removal of an amount of speed from the equation results in a more technical, methodical approach while fighting. This is good for those who are over-reliant on explosiveness and brute strength to effect their movements.
  • Promotes better escapes as the collar on your neck puts you in danger of strangulation from many angles, it promotes a greater overall defensive awareness. Also, escaping hold-downs and submissions when your opponent has tight grips on your gi is much more difficult than no-gi. It is much harder to pull a cloth-enveloped limb out of an arm or leglock by relying on speed and explosiveness, and so you are forced to use a more technical approach instead.


  • Promotes better hold-downs and control positions: Learning to hold down a perspiring and slippery opponent is far more difficult than holding down someone who is wearing a gi. When you have learned to control an opponent who is not wearing a gi it will become easy to control someone who is.
  • Increases the speed of the game: The reduced importance of the grips and reduced friction in the no-gi game means it almost always moves at a faster pace. Practicing at this higher speed improves reflexes and assists in the development of reactive, free-flowing movement which is crucial during positional scrambles.
  • Improves submissions: It is much harder to lock in a submission in no-gi as the sweat makes it easier to escape. So this really improves your joint locks as you have to be extra tight and technical to lock in the joint and keep your opponent from escaping


 So instead of buying into the dogma of ‘my style is better than yours’, instead ask “do I want to limit myself?”