Does no-gi help gi fighting?

Just a thought here, and I'm not trying to stir any shit, but what are your thoughts that training w/o the gi might help gi training. I've been training primarily w/o the gi for the last couple of months becuase of my work schedule, and I notice when I go back to the gi my game is a little better as I don't ONLY focus on gripping the collar and sleeves. I suppose by taking away something that I rely on and forcing me to rely on something completely different, it elevates BOTH games. Thoughts?

I think that gi and no-gi complement each other nicely. The gi vs no-gi wars are highly retarded.

Gi helped my no-gi. I became more aware of positioning. I found I couldn't rely on my speed and natural athleticism...or spelling. When i took the gi off for a little rolling I founf I controlled my opponent better and was "heavier" than I was before....or so they say.

The no-gi helped my gi game in that I scramble pretty good and have an idea what to do if I can't get a good grip. Where it has hindered is I had bad posture in the gaurd and I had to learn to posture up and not rely on some of my bread and butter no-gi passes.

Also in gi you can't get caught and power out as much...or at least I can't...I started to rely a little on the sweat factor to get out of armbars, triangle etc.

All in all I love no-gi but the gi has definatly helped out my no-gi game more than the other way around.

I love the gi though b/c it's fun and something new to me...but then again I'm only a 2 stripe white belt :-( so you can disregard everything I said.

Have a nice day!

Good thought, let's keep it comming!

Here's a post I made on another forum in a gi vs no-gi thread that was so awesome that I think I'm just going to keep reposting it instead of writing anything new:

I understand both sides of the gi vs no-gi argument, and so far all the staple debating points have been coming to the table.

On the gi side, we've got: the gi making you more technical; this is because the gi offers more techniques and grips; the gi slows down the game; the gi makes you need to have more technical escapes since you can't just rip out; no-gi is too athletic and slippery; most of the top no-gi competitors have a base in gi and say to train it to help with no-gi.

On the no-gi side, we have: no-gi is just as technical; gi makes you dependent on the gripping fabric; gi competitors have been around longer so they have a stronger base coming into no-gi; the judo versus wrestling analogy; specificity (training for the venue in which you'll compete); anything Eddie Bravo said.

While I see merits and faults of both sides of the debate, I seem to have formed a rare opinion on gi vs no-gi.

Do both.

I could break down my personal thoughts on all of the arguments above to explain why, but I think I can sum up my viewpoint with a new one: I view training gi and no-gi as an issue of altering awareness. Yes, I am painfully aware of how that sounds like fruity New Age talk, but I mean it in a very practical sense so hear me out.

When you are wearing the gi, you have to be aware of different factors than when you are not. Viewed from the other side, not wearing the gi makes you aware of different factors.

I first started moving into this line of thinking after watching Luis Gutierrez's SoFlo DVD. In the introduction to the section on the chin strap, he explains that he came up with the concept for it because he favored a "loop choke" collar grip when rolling gi, and he used this as a base to find a no-gi way of applying the concept. He explains how he feels that the way to gain from gi training is to use it to explore positions and concepts that you might have missed in no-gi without the grips and slower pace, then expanding on these and finding how they apply to no-gi as well.

Viewed like this, the gi is a learning tool, not some magical outfit that makes you "technical" by itself. If you really do just hate the gi so badly that you cannot enjoy wearing it, then I don't think you'll gain anything training in it. But I think that if you can approach it with the right mindset, you can use the gi to improve your awareness and understanding of grappling as a whole, and that this can transfer into no-gi. This is a two-way street though, so I also feel that you should do no-gi in addition to gi for the same core reason of altering awareness.

Drawing from my ever-flowing spring of Matt Thornton quotes:

Not being cloth dependent and not wearing a gi are two very different things. Learning both is the key.

I have competed no-gi, but more so with a gi. So although the past FJKD tapes focused on no-gi, I have always taught and trained both. I feel it's important people train both.

At this point, based on experience over the last few Years, both Tom and I have concluded that people that train with both make MUCH better athletes in terms of technical skill, and depth of knowledge regarding the game.

So just do both.


Doing both gi and no-gi is obviously the best route. I train, teach, and roll in both every week.

Each game will compliment the other in terms of it's tempo, skills, and technical aspects.

Plus it's just fun. As I am sure you have discovered.


By the way, I say this as someone who loves no-gi grappling, and whose no-gi game is honestly far better then my gi game.

I'll tell you a story about this. Last week one of our tougher purple belts came in, and he happens to be someone that I always roll gi with. I teach and roll in both gi and no-gi every week. But some of our students only prefer one, although we ALWAYS encourage them to be brave enough to train in both. For the last Year or so he and I have always rolled in gis. Last week we went no-gi vale tudo for a few rounds, and the standard game we play against each other totaly changed. The pace, tempo, and the subs I used also changed. We both commented on how different and fun it was for the change of pace.

The week prior I rolled with another one of my purple belts who ONLY likes no-gi, and who does whatever possible to avoid bringing or wearing a gi. This time I caught him in a gi, and it was the same thing. Totally different game then we usually play with each other. New routes, new tempo, new subs, new positions. Just a very different game. Things he is normally used to doing where shut down, and he had to improvise by playing in different territory. It was great for his overall game, technique, and mind, as well as for me.

Changing it up with both athletes was great for both them and for me.

Check it out for yourself.

To end with one last Thorntonism:

Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .Do Both. . .it's FUN

And to quote Johnny S, BJJ black belt:

Gi forces you to getter better at your escapes. No-gi forces you to get better at your controls.

I think you should do both to be a well-rounded grappler. I personally find gi to be more fun. However in summer we switch to no-gi for a few months and I quite enjoy changing things up. No-gi allows me to get easier underhooks and so I get to work my hooking sweeps more. It also forces me to work my leglocking game and my back-control game more because I can't do my gi chokes from side control.

"Gi forces you to getter better at your escapes. No-gi forces you to get better at your controls."

Awesome quote.

I agree, do both.

The exact same argument applies for standup grappling. You should do both yet people are always rabidly either into wrestling or judo..even when they appreciate the value of training both gi and no-gi on the ground. This does not make sense.

"Gi forces you to getter better at your escapes. No-gi forces you to get better at your controls."

I like that!

Yes...don't forget about starting from standing either. Gi allows me to use the good old judo type throws and takedowns and no-gi you get to try and use more shots.

We just started doing no-gi at our judo club and its alot of fun the game is totally different. Also as someone mentioned i do feel that it will help in developing your control especially your guard as it forces you to rely more on movement than just trying to grip at the gi.

I agree both complement each other. For me training with gi make your game more technical (you can adapt to no gi a lot of techniques or concepts).Training without help you to have better control, body positioning, body sensations and strong submission attacks.

I think that the gi is more technical in most respects but IMHO I think when it comes to a submission in isolation in particular armbars I think you have to be more technical without the gi.

will the more experienced correct me or affirm cause i am new to this no-gi thing.

Okay, to reel this thread in....

Do both...great. Thanks fellas, real insights. My origional post was how do you guys thing that no-gi helps training with the gi?

As you said, it makes you focus on not using the grips.

It also makes you tighter with your pins and submissions.  You learn to use your knees and elbows a lot more when holding someone down and especially when passing the guard.

It also tends to be a different energy because of the faster pace.  Your anaerobic endurance goes up, which also carries over into gi work.

Is that better?  ;-)