To gi or not to gi

Over at the rather spiffing new BJJHacks, they’re promoting the virtues of the gi.They make three points. The first, that more matt-time is better than less, is obviously true. I wonder about the second and the third though:

2: If you can escape when wearing a gi, you can escape damn near anything when no-gi
Boxers hold weights in their hands when they shadowbox. When they drop the weights, their hands are a whole lot quicker as a result. It’s the same reasoning behind running while wearing a weighted vest, or dragging a sled. Once you take away the weight, your body moves a helluva lot faster.

Wearing a gi has much the same effect. The added weight and friction of the cloth makes it harder to move when you’re on your back, and you’ll learn how to escape tight submissions without relying on low-percentage explosive movements.

I think this is right so long as its taken as advice for beginner and perhaps intermediate level grapplers (which I hasten to add is all I am). But aren’t gi and no-gi grappling are fundamentally different animals these days? And doesn’t that mean that athletes are going to have to specialise more?

3: If it’s good enough for the best, it should be good enough for you
Do you know how many UFC champions, past and present, are black belts in BJJ? Fifteen. Yup, fifteen! If you don’t believe me, go take a look.

Is this not just a legacy effect of the fact that both MMA and submission grappling largely developed out of BJJ? Again, the fact that those sports all seem to be going their different ways to some extent suggests to me that the gi is going to start looking less relevant to MMA.


2 responses to “To gi or not to gi

  1. Thanks for checking out the site!

    Both good points. I definitely agree that the higher up the food chain you go as a pro, the less time you should spend in the gi. It’s a fantastic tool for anyone looking to improve their game though, but you’re right – as competition deepens, greater specification is required and this means more time sans gi. Still, fighters box in 16oz and wrestle with boots on – so I would argue that there is a case for putting the gi on once in a while, but adapting your game with an MMA fight in mind.

    Re the legacy thing, possibly. But Anderson Silva (for example) is a striker with a black belt, not a jiu-jitsu guy who learned to kickbox. His advanced level of BJJ saved him against Lutter and Sonnen, both powerful grapplers. So a useful skillset to have, no? I would say a fighter who aims to be a champ needs that level of ability across the board.

  2. Gi or not to Gi that is the question

    It’s the same pattern of movement whe you are on topp for SW BJJ and MMA and the absolute best way to train it is with the Gi sometimes and without the Gi some other times

    The god thing with the Gi is that you can not just explode and muscles your way out of bad situations when you’re training with Gi

    And with Gi it requires a technical solution to all problems, which in turn makes you learn how to manage the good positions you get (topp positions)

    The god thing with the training without the Gi is that the phase is much faster in no Gi training and its forcing you to react much faster than you must with the Gi on

    The big difference between SW BJJ and MMA are the guard work in BJJ it is good to play on your back such as close guard and half guard etc, in SW it is okay to play half guard sitting guard etc, and in MMA it is completely worthless to play guard it is much better to scramble and stand up the only time you play guard in MMA is if your oponent force you to play guard and that it is your only way out

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