To Gi … or not to Gi

Training with a Gi is a very important part of BJJ training. For one thing; there are hundreds of techniques that can be applied through use of the Gi that are easily translatable to ‘real life’ self defence scenario’s off the mat. Simply put, people usually get in fights, when fully clothed – and the Gi simulates this scenario.
The more important reason though is this: the Gi slows the action down. It can be likened to having training wheels on a bike – the fact that the action takes place at a slower rate allows for more efficient learning. The novice has time to think; to look, see what is happening and has an increased opportunity to grab a better opponent and slow his movement a little. Slower action allows for better skill uptake – particularly in the first couple of years of training.
On the flip side; No-Gi promotes a much faster pace of action. This has obvious cardio benefits. Also, because everything is so much more slippery, the person underneath the fight can more readily find ways to escape and move around; this in turn, causes a ‘narrowing of the gap’ between opponents of disparate skill levels – leveling the playing field to some degree. Plus, no-gi, in hot weather, can be a little more comfortable.
The game (strategy, tactics and techniques) do vary somewhat depending on whether or not the Gi is worn. In my view, both Gi and No-Gi training have their advantages. On my own mat, once the hotter weather hits, I have the advanced class shed their Gi’s and don their fight shorts and rashie’s. here in the antipodes, that time has arrived. JBW


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