I’m a huge fan of No Gi Jiu Jitsu. The first time I stepped on the mat without a Gi, I knew I wasn’t going back. It has a chill atmosphere that’s hard to find anywhere else. For me, it’s my favorite when it comes to martial arts. It’s got its own special feel that sets it apart from traditional Gi BJJ.

So, what exactly is No Gi Jiu Jitsu, and why might you want to try it? Stick around, and let’s find out if and why you should try it!

What Does No Gi Jiu Jitsu Mean?

In regular BJJ or Gi BJJ, you wear a heavy cotton jacket and pants called a “Gi’. In No-Gi, you don’t. That’s why it’s called “No-Gi,” no heavy cotton jacket, no pants. Instead, you wear rash guards and fight shorts.

But it’s not just about what you wear. In Gi BJJ, you can grab onto your opponent’s jacket and use it to help you grapple. But in No-Gi, those grips aren’t there. You need to use other techniques.

No Gi Jiu Jitsu - A man wearing The uniform
No Gi Rash Guards and Fight Shorts

What’s The History Of No Gi BJJ?

Traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was developed by the Gracie family and is all about the Gi. Royce Gracie even had an MMA fight wearing his Gi in the early UFC stages. He wanted to prove that BJJ is the most effective martial art. He was successful.

But then, MMA fighters started to pick up on Jiu-Jitsu and found effective defenses against it. BJJ Grappler realized they needed something more for MMA tournaments. 

One who really pushed No-Gi into the spotlight is Eddie Bravo. He’s a big name in the BJJ world. His take is that No-Gi is the way for MMA and self-defense. He says that if you’re in a real-life fight, the other person probably won’t be wearing a Gi for you to grab.

Eddie Bravo thought training in No-Gi was more practical, especially for MMA, where no one is wearing it. 

So, No-Gi started picking up fame, especially with MMA fighters. And now, it’s got its own following and styles, and it’s getting increasingly famous every year. 

No Gi Jiu-Jitsu Gear

  • Rash Guards

This tight, stretchy shirt keeps you from getting bruises and scratches. Also, it dries quickly and is sweat-resistant. 

  • BJJ Shorts

You’ll need special shorts for No-Gi. They’re elastic. So they are made to move with you, so you’re not fighting your clothes while you’re trying to grapple. Also, they have no pockets and no zippers. 

  • Spats/Compression Pants

Some like to wear these tight pants under their shorts. They help keep your muscles warm and offer more protection for your limbs.

  • Mouthguard

A mouthguard is a must in No Gi BJJ. Rolling can get intense here, and protecting your teeth is important. 

  • Groin Cup

Not everybody wears those, but they are important! Our lower parts are vulnerable, and accidents happen. 

This is all the gear you need for No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s simpler than all the stuff you need for Gi BJJ, and you’ll feel lighter and faster.

What’s the Difference Between Gi and No-Gi?

  • Grips

In Gi BJJ, you’re holding onto the other person’s Gi a lot. You specialize in grabbing their sleeves, collar, and all that. But in No-Gi, forget about it. Without the Gi, there are different body mechanics. Here you have no cloth to grab means you’re doing more underhooks, overhooks, and just grabbing onto the person. 

  • Submissions

In Gi BJJ, you can use the cloth to help you out. You can choke someone with their own Gi, for example. In No-Gi, it’s not about clothes; it’s about getting control of arms, legs, and neck. So you see that Gi and No-Gi BJJ have a different grappling style.

  • Speed

No-Gi is quick. Like, really quick. You don’t have all that heavy cotton to slow you down. This is why lots of MMA fighters like No-Gi. It helps them get ready for fast, real-life fights.

  • Traditional Gi

In Gi BJJ, you’re wearing a heavy cotton jacket and pants. It makes things slower and more focused on technique. But in No-Gi, you’re in a rash guard and shorts so that you can move more freely.

  • Belt system

Do they have belts in No-Gi BJJ like they do in Gi BJJ? The answer is yes, but it’s not as big a deal. In Gi BJJ, you start as a white belt, then move to blue, purple, and brown before earning a black belt. No-Gi has these same belt levels as in Gi, but people don’t emphasize them as much.

I had a chat with a coach from 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu in NYC, and he told me something interesting. I asked him why, at the ADCC trials, they don’t have belt classes. He said, “Belts don’t matter anymore.”

He said he has seen many times that a blue belt defeats a black belt during the ADCC BJJ competitions. It’s all about your skill, not the color wrapped around your waist.

So, yes, you can get promoted in belts in No-Gi, but it’s not the focus

Should You Train No Gi BJJ as a Beginner?

Okay, you’re new and wondering, “Should I start with No-Gi BJJ?” Let’s break it down. 

Why You Should Start Training No Gi BJJ

  1. Offense Power: No Gi has techniques where you don’t have a Gi to grab, so you use body position instead. It’s about getting in the right position, grabbing the body, and submitting. 
  2. MMA Ready: If you’re into MMA, No-Gi is the way to go. MMA fighters don’t wear Gis, so No-Gi is a better match.
  3. Quick Moves: No cloth means faster moves and switches. If you like a quick game, you’ll love No-Gi.
  4. Self-Defense: No-Gi is more like real-life fights. You use moves that work even if the other guy isn’t wearing a Gi. So, it’s great for self-defense.

Why You Should Not Only Rely On No-Gi

  1. Limited techniques: With the Gi, you will learn even more techniques. Grabbing and holding is harder, so you miss out on that. 
  2. Finding a Gym: No-Gi is getting big, but it still needs to be everywhere. You might have a harder time finding a place to train in No-Gi than in the BJJ Gi. 

Final Words

So, as you saw, there’s a lot to No Gi Jiu Jitsu. It’s different from traditional BJJ, and it’s becoming more famous. 

I’m all about No-Gi BJJ. It’s what I train in, and I love it. It’s fun and laid-back, and it comes easier to me. Plus, I believe it’s better for self-defense.

But you gotta decide what’s best for you. If you’re on the fence, why not give No-Gi a try? I can’t recommend it enough. Whatever you choose, make sure to have fun and stay safe out there.

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