At Kaizen Lab, we host both No-Gi and Gi classes, with plenty of members in attendance for both. So what’s different between the two classes? Well, in the simplest terms, in Gi classes you train wearing the traditional gi; in No-Gi, you train in rash guard and shorts (and far less cotton!).
Each holds equal weight in pros and in cons. There’s some keen No-Gi-ers out there as well as Gi-ers. It’s ultimately up to you on what you prefer with your jiu jitsu practice. For now, here is what we’d like to put down on the playing field:
GI IS THE O.G.
Our magical sport originally came to be through a migration of Judo from Japan to Brazil—which can explain the similar appearance of the jiu jitsu gi to the samurai kimono. It was only with the rise of MMA fighting that the jiu jitsu community slowly began to move away from the uniform towards a more modern look—sans gi, that is.
GI SLOWS THINGS DOWN; NO-GI SPEEDS THEM UP
Gi is like being dressed from the neck down in a thick quilt and then being told to fight. It’s not all that easy once you start grappling! With all that extra material in the way, things are bound to get slowed down, likely with a lot more attention paid to the process (which can be great for anyone wanting to zone in more on technique). Whereas, if you’re looking for fast with real-world speed, No-Gi is much more suitable. A combination of both into your weekly jiu jitsu diet comes highly recommended at our gym.
GAIN CONFIDENCE THROUGH GI; GAIN EXPERIENCE WITH NO-GI
UFC veteran Dean Lister recommends Gi as the better option for beginners to gain confidence in their learnings. It’s also for easier grips—those in No-Gi will have much more slippery holds without the great white cotton cloak in the way.
With No-Gi; however, Dean emphasises that there is ‘no gi’ to slow things down and, therefore, it allows for tighter grips during grappling. You can’t use your opponent’s clothing against them—but you also can’t depend on it for holds. For a lot of white belts, this can be a tremendous help towards learning how to better control your partner in grappling without relying on the gi for extra support.
You can check out Dean’s recommendations in his interview with Gold BJJ here.
WHAT ABOUT IN COMPETITION?
Firstly, the rules that apply during No-Gi don’t always apply during Gi, and vice versa. For example, the gi is able to be gripped (within reason) during grappling, whereas No-Gi has clothes-holds off limits. In terms of availability, there are plenty of competitions for both Gi and No-Gi. The most important thing is to just remember to check the rules beforehand as there may be certain elements banned in No-Gi that are otherwise not banned in Gi.
How about giving them both a try—Gi and No-Gi—and see which one you think trumps the other. Give our three-class trial a go and find out how you place between these two styles of BJJ!