Wednesday, May 14, 2008

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To Gi or not to Gi?

Many people, particularly on my recent trip, ask me about the pro's and cons of training with or without a Gi? certainly, with MMA on the rise, no-gi grappling is more widespread than ever before - but it's worth noting that this is not necessarily always the best way to go.
There is a lot of value in wearing the Gi, especially when first starting out. Apart from the fact that there are many potent techniques that can be used against a gi-wearing opponent, the ost important thing to understand is that the Gi slows the fight down. And when people are startign out, especially in their first year or two of grappling, a slower fight is an easier fight to understand. The Gi affords the same benefits to grappling as 'training wheels' do to learning to ride a bike. Without the Gi, the fight speeds up considerably - grips are harder to get and maintain, and escapes are much easier to execute. With the pace of the fight moving faster, it becomes more difficult for beginners to 'map the fight', to learn 'what usually follows what', to get a grip on both the mechanics and strategical considerations of the fight - it's sort of like playing chess when you only have a three second time-limit to work out each move, as opposed to as much time as you like - mistakes will be many and lessons both harder and slower to learn. For the more advanced grappler though, there are many benefits of the no-gi grapple. With the pace moving faster, there is a far greater cardio benefit to be enjoyed. The controls need to be more exact and the game needs to be 'tightened up' somewhat. The no-gi pace also requires that we 'up' the processing speed in our thinking and well as our physical movement - so we tend to improve on both strategic and physical levels. From a self defense perspective, becoming less-reliant on an opponent wearing a gi, has obvious benefits.
Hopefully these few obvious considerations will shed a bit of light on the subject for the newbies. I must apologize for the skimming over the surface of this complex issue - but I am jet-lagged to the eyeballs right now. it's 4;40pm and my eyes are beginning to closedown hard.
I'll be back on deck in a day or two - my brain still thinks it's in Norway.
best wishes - sweet dreams.
JBW

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5 Comments

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Anonymous 11:21 am

Also, the argument that no-gi training is more realistic or less is a bit of a mute point really...

People wear clothes - the type of actual street encounter you might get into will probably be at night while out. In which case there is a good chance the other person is wearing jeans and a collared shirt. Sure you might also have a situation on the beach...

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For a frequent traveler like you...I've used with great benefit the homeopathic stuff 'Jet Ease' that you can find at the chemist in Australia. Last time I had a 2 weeks trip to Europe and I barely felt any jet lag at all both ways. Worth a try I think...all the best.

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Thnaks Luca - i appreciate the advice - i'll go hunt it down. it's five days since i've arrived home - and am still badly jet-lagged - waking up at 2 am. After doing research on it - the reason is more than likely because i was out in very bright light in Norway during the middle of the day for two days running. Apparently that's the best way to re-set you body clock. Now i pay the price. Thanks again - I'll try jet Ease! Cheers!

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Giuliano 2:49 am

Hi John,

Thanks for your super explanation. It was very interesting. I follow the same way with my students. First they need to understand at least some fundamental techniques and only then they can train without the Gi. I have seen that the “risk of error” is much higher “without the Gi” because the game is much faster and therefore it’s easier to miss some crucial steps from an E2E technique. On top of that those errors are very difficult to fix it because you get used it.

By the way I read your book 1 (fear & the engine). This book is top! It’s one of my favorite’s martial art books. You book did motivate me a lot to improve and to explore further about all kind of Martial Art. I can’t wait to read your book number 2 and 3. I will order it right now. Again John, well done!! I hope you will visit soon Switzerland. If so don’t forget to stop in Bern!

All the best,
Giuliano

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Giuliano 3:05 am

Hi John,

Thanks for your super explanation. It was very interesting. I follow the same way with my students. First they need to understand at least some fundamental techniques and only then they can train without the Gi. I have seen that the “risk of error” is much higher “without the Gi” because the game is much faster and therefore it’s easier to miss some crucial steps from a technique. On top of that those errors are very difficult to fix it because you get now used it.

By the way I read your book 1 (fear & the engine). This book is top! It’s one of my favorite’s martial art books. This book did motivate me a lot to improve, to explore further about all kind of Martial Art and to continuing teaching BJJ. I can’t wait to read your book 2 and 3. I will order it right now. Again John, well done!! I hope you will visit soon Switzerland. If yes, don’t forget to stop in Bern!

All the best,
Giuliano

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