Here in the antipodes, summer is nearly upon us. It's the perfect time of the year to shed the Gi and do some slippery mat-work. But what are the pro's and con's of no-gi training???
Training without the Gi can be frustrating for the beginner and an argument can be made that it can retard their progress. This can be likened to trying to teach a child to ride a bike, and doing so, without training wheels on a wet, steep hillside. The lack of a Gi makes for a much faster fight and therefore makes it more difficult for the beginner to pick up basic strategy ... in much the same way as a novice chess player would find it difficult to play a game of speed-chess.
The other consideration, particularly if a part of our motivation (especially when we start out) is to prepare ourselves for real world confrontation/violence - then we need to understand that clothing plays a very important role in the grappling dynamic (chokes, grips, etc).
But now to the advantages of shedding the Gi ...
A more slippery fight is a faster fight and so providing you are ready for it, the cardio element becomes more challenging. And the fact that the fight is moving more quickly, forces us to calculate more quickly and improve our processing power under duress. Another consideration is that no-gi training provides a slight advantage for the less-skilled of two opponents in most training sessions ... this is because it is a little more difficult to hold/control an opponent in the no-gi scenario and so the 'bottom' grappler have an edge that he or she doesn't usually have. This can be a good 'class leveler', squishing up the 'bell-curve' a little.
No-gi can be a lot of fun and in hot weather, a much welcomed change of pace for the class ... roll on summer: JBW