Written by James Cooper
Last Updated

In Jiu-Jitsu, the debate between Gi and No-Gi will continue to rage on, with people advocating for both sides. It comes down to two different grappling styles and there is a good and bad point for both options.

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What are the Real Differences Between Gi and No Gi?

With Gi Jui Jitsu, the key difference is the uniform that is worn. In this version, the GI uniform involves wearing a thick cotton coat and trousers and the clothing can be used to help you get hold of your opponent or throw them in different ways to No-Gi. 

In the No-Gi version, students tend to wear stretchy clothing made from polyester and can even fight in regular shorts and t-shirts. There is no requirement to wear a specific uniform for No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, it’s about being comfortable.

 

Are the Techniques that You Learn Different in Gi vs No Gi?

For some, the lack of uniform makes No-Gi more relevant to real life, whereas for GI supporters it makes you more used to grabbing clothing, which you can also do in a real-life fight if needed. There are pros and cons for both. 

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Both styles share many techniques, however, the tactics and the way the techniques are carried out are very different, so let’s take a look at the ways in which they differ: 

  • Clothing grip – in GI training you are able to grip your opponent by their top and their trousers, to hold them, or get them to submit.
  • Technical approach – in GI training, the clothing creates more friction and makes the fight slower. This calls for a more technical approach to win, rather than relying purely on speed and strength like in No-Gi
  • Wrestling based – in No-Gi you need to use a lot more wrestling grips and rely on balance and speed to win and you can’t grab by the clothes 

 

Are the Different Competitions for Gi and No Gi?

Yes, there are different competitions around the world for both Gi and for No-Gi competitors globally. They both require different skills but there are also fighters who like to learn both techniques. 

The competitions do have different rules, for example, in a Gi competition everyone has to wear the correct uniform and those taking part can grab and pull on the clothing which is not allowed in a No-Gi competition. 

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What are the Benefits of Gi?

With Gi training, you will learn a lot more techniques including ways to make your opponent submit, which you won’t learn in No-Gi training. Wearing a Gi can make training more difficult which makes it a stronger workout. 

With someone grabbing and pulling you all the time, you get to improve your muscles and balance much quicker than with No-Gi. It’s a great way to increase your strength and get your body into better condition.  

Gi training is slower than No-Gi, meaning you need to be tactical and focus on techniques and creatively plan ahead to beat your rival, which is great for your mental wellbeing as well as your physical health.

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What are the Benefits of No Gi?

If you want to work on your wrestling techniques, then, No-Gi would work better as it involves a lot of work on how to put pressure on your rival and how to use your body against them to win the battle easily. 

The fighting in No-Gi is much faster and will help to boost your cardio and your reaction times very quickly. No-Gi is a great workout and will also help you to improve your reactions. Both techniques offer different advantages.

 

Is there a Style that’s Better for MMA?

When it comes to MMA No Gi seems to fit better as in MMA there is no requirement to wear a Gi or similar uniform, so it’s more related to No-Gi in that respect. 

Also, some of the techniques used specifically in No-Gi can’t be applied in MMA whereas Gi training improves the general wrestling and grappling skills as well, but it’s possible to do MMA even if you train in No-Gi.

 

Can I Train in Both Styles?

There are benefits to both Gi and No-Gi training and the only way you can become really good at Jiu-Jitsu is to train in both ways and really mix things together. 

Some of the techniques you learn in Gi will help you to become better at No-Gi and the reverse is also true. Once you try both styles you might find out you prefer one to the other, but you need to try them both first. 

Training in both techniques will certainly help you to become a stronger grappler and it will also help you to be prepared for any kind of competition or scenario. Learning both techniques will also help you to improve any of your weak spots in your style. 

 

Conclusion

There are pros and cons for both Gi and No-Gi styles when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu training and which one you choose will depend on your own personal preference. 

Both will help you to learn different techniques, so whether you want to become a technical grappler, or you want to enhance your speed at fighting there is a style for you to choose from and both will help you to become a better fighter in different ways.

Whether you prefer the restriction of wearing the Gi uniform with the option to grab your opponent and try out submission techniques, or you like the freedom of fighting in ordinary t-shirts and shorts and focussing on speed, it’s your choice. 

The debate between Gi and No-Gi training in Jiu-Jitsu is not one that is ever going to reach a real conclusion as there are always benefits on both sides, and there will always be proponents and supports of each style and technique.  

 

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