Bolo Kimono Paradox?

I would be interested in getting your opinion on the perennial question of the "kimono paradox".  I coined that term to describe the belief that training with a gi on will actually make you better at no-gi competition than training without the gi all other things being equal.

Do you think the kimono paradox is real?  In other words lets say that a person only had the goal to compete in no-gi tournaments and had no desire to learn any gi techniques or MMA or self-defense.  This person just wants to focus on the sport of Sub. Wrestling a la Abu Dhabi type competition.

Let's say that person had a year to train for his first competition but had a limited amount of training time available.  Let's say he only had three nights a week to train.  Now for the sake of that sport would he actually be better at the end of the year if he trained part of most of the time with a gi on?  I am speaking to all aspects of the sport too including time spent on takedowns. 

Although its hard to prove or disprove the kimono paradox in a scientific sense I would really like to hear your opinion on this.

Think of it this way.....

Let's say you have an Olympic caliber judoka and a Olympic caliber freestyle wrestler. You have a takedown match with no gi. Who do you think is going to do better in this contest?

It is silly to say that training gi makes you more technical. I've rolled with many people in gi's who were not technical at all. Some say that you use more physical attributes when you do no gi. So those people have never rolled or competed in gi against someone who did not use every ounce of strength, enduranace, flexibility, and speed they had?

The only bad thing that I can think about no-gi is that it's tempting for very athletic people to use their explosiveness to get out of bad positions. But if they don't allow themselves to do that, they're more likely to develop a very technical game, even though it's no-gi. But basically, I pretty much agree with both of you.

"The only bad thing that I can think about no-gi is that it's tempting for very athletic people to use their explosiveness to get out of bad positions."

Once again, people do that all the time regardless if it gi or no gi.

By the way, strength is technique. In addition, every technique requires strength and every technique has size and strength limitions. You can teach a 6 year old child how to do a perfect armbar, but I can use pure arm strength and not allow that child to straighten my arm. I can teach my 105 lbs. girl how to do pin escapes, however, I guarantee that no matter how good her technique is, she will not be able to escape the pin of a 200 lbs. man who knows only a little about pinning and just decides to squeeze the shit out of her.

From my experience, most traditional Brazilian teachers hold the Gi in the highest esteem. So, the "gi makes you more technical" argument is simply a traditionalist grasping at straws. In turn, many beginner students merely parrot their teacher's sentiment without ever actually breaking the statement down and thinking about it.

Once again, people do that all the time regardless if it gi or no gi.

I totaly agree, if  you put a retard in a gi, its still a retard.

"...strength is technique. In addition, every technique requires strength and every technique has size and strength limitations."


Despite the fact Bolo thinks I am long winded, prone to academic jibberish and despite our difference concerning nutrition there are still matters which I agree with him 100%!

zen writer,

That is correct. People often take for granted what is told to them without thinking it over logically. This is a problem that plagues BJJ. It reminds me when I was child and thought that a certain brand of shoes that my favorite athlete wore was going to help me run a little faster and jump a little higher.

Jonpall also said, "But if they don't allow themselves to do that, they're more likely to develop a very technical game".

Then that means that being technical is more a state of mind and translates over to certain types of physical action and as nothing to do with what a person wears.

The funny thing is when someone powers out of something, people think that the person is not very technical. However, I tend to also think that the other person was not technical enough because he was not able to stop someone from powering out.

I once asked a Brazilian BB under Rickson about the "gi makes you more technical" issue once (after I had read Eddie Bravos' book, btw) and he explained that he viewed the gi as a tool, and that tool can be used in such a way (as a training "device") so as to promote certain technical aspects, but of course just wearing the gi won't give you that and if you don't know how to use the gi to do that, then you won't get the benefits. I'm not the one to defend that position, but I offer his view since I think some of these guys may have some insights worth considering.

So then why do we train in a gi under the Jens flag?

To me it is important for a person to train the first two years in a gi. You have to walk before you can run type thing. Bolo stated that it's not the person ripping out of the armbar that is not technical but the person who is doing the armbar is not techincal enough because he was not able to stop someone from powering out of the armbar. Well he's not! And the person ripping out of the armbar is not either! The guy on bottom needs the gi as a tool to slow down the game, something to make clean grips onto, and keep his mind on technique without bothering with the sweat that might make his technique slip. The guy on top one day will face someone good enough to hold that armbar and he will not be able to rip out. If all he's got to train with is lower level guys he'd better have a gi on to make it hard to rip his arm out and become technical at escaping. Gi less can be so fast that it becomes a battle of cardio at times. 2 years and under are looking for technical advancement not all out sprints in which their minds cannot quikly enough conjure up what are the necessary moves needed in various positions and situations. I'd say the gi is very important but not for your whole life. And at a point people go too far with the gi, making funky chokes with tails and loops which takes away imo from the core of what BJJ should really be about. That stuff is fun to learn but should not be in the foundation of ones game. After 2-3 years I think people should still be training gi but should also go gi-less. Anyways this is just stuff I've been thinking about for when I open my own school later in life.

I personally feel a person should strive to be as versatile as possible. He (or she) shouldn't limit themselves to one type of game or one type of environment.

I personally would train in both. I think of it like a basketball player who has both an inside game and an outside game, who can play more than one position on the court.

I think of gi and no-gi as parts of Bjj.

Where I live, in Quebec, it goes from -30c to +25c, so in winter, I love me some kimono, in summer, I take that shite off.

The problem is that within baketball, having an inside game and an outside game relate to the one sport. If our sport were really related to basketball you'd say there was a type of basketball where you only played in the key and another where you only scored from the perimeter. Now which of the two is more important or is going to make you more techinical? BJJ is split between the gi and gi-less. Which is going to make you more important, which is going to make you more techinical? The gi is going to allow the game to be slower in able to fine tune technique and gi-less is going to get you used to a high paced game and rely on extremely tight and technical moves. Both are good in their own aspects but you have to train in the gi to be able to get to that upper level. It's a tool that will help you understand the basics and fine tune your game. I see wrestlers who have been training the the gi train with white belts in the gi. The two against each other without the gi is like watching a bear eat a rabbit. But with the gi the non wrestler has a better time and is able to compete more with the wrestler. It might not be much of a difference but there is a slowing down of how much he's getting mauled and that little bit will help him see what's going on in the match. Otherwise in gi-less, it's like a big blur and then he was tapping. And doesn't see as much and therefore doesn't catch what he needs improvement on.

In all honesty, I think the gi has to be redesigned. Better ties for the pants, keep the collar but make the top more of a sweater type garment that you can't open therefore you can't use the tails. I mean we're still using standard Judo gi's for a sport played on the ground. The only real modifications have been that the gi's are thicker, shorter at the bottom and the collar line is thicker. Having these open jackets is part of the reason we have all this fancy crap and part of the reason why we have these huge distiction between gi and gi-less. Change the gi!! I'm starting a revolution here! JK


Why do we train gi?

  1. I enjoyed the mental challenge in dealing with all the additional techniques that can be done with the gi.

  2. With no gi, there are some techniques that I no longer like to deal with when it comes to injury. There are many techniques in no gi that are illegal in sport BJJ. Though they may be great techniques and I used many of them in the past, I am at a point in my life (and most of my students feel the same way) in which being a bad ass in not as important as being able to go to work the next day uninjured.

  3. I simply don't like grappling some sweaty ass guy with no shirt on and have my head stuck in his armpit. Many years ago, when I trained with Roy Harris, there was one student who decided that training no gi meant that he could roll solely in is underwear. When training gi, there's no "misunderstandings" when it comes to that shit.


LMFAO @ 3.

Training no-gi is the reason why i started shaving my armpits.

Sorry but unless you are actually competing in mma there is no reason to go without a shirt. 


I think both are technical. I personally don't feel one is more "technical" then the other. I think the both obviously share alot in common BUT they each have techniques which "work" better for each respective game. And in many cases they each have techniques which only work in their own environment.

So I disagree with the idea that either one exclusively is more "technical" than the other.

In my mind gi and no gi or just two different situations/environments where Jiu-jitsu techniques can be applied.

A person who is interested in being well-rounded will strive to have some aptitude in both.

A try to regularly spar in both situations. Some days I spar with the gi and some days I spar without it. No big deal.

I do tend to like to train and spar with the gi. If I do no-gi well I agree with Bolo in that I don't like the nearly butt naked deal. No-gi I'll wear rash-gear long sleeve shirt with gi pants or some variation of that.