Making your gi training work for MMA

 I know this topic touches on the age old debate of gi vs no gi for MMA training, but bear with me for a moment.



What I have found in my years of doing BJJ in the gi is that there are certain ways you can train in the gi to help reach your goal.....whether that goal is ultimately competition jiu jitsu, gi or nogi and MMA.



Here is my take on the subject.



If your ultimate goal is to fight MMA, you can still train in the gi and still learn effective grappling concepts that translate to MMA.  However, the manner in which you train in the gi is the key.  When I roll in the gi, I use a no gi style (for the most part, although I still train the gi with gi tactics as well......Jiu Jitsu is a journey, not a destination.  :) ) while rolling.  What that means is that instead of relying on gripping sleeves and pants, I grip wrists, ankles and legs.....I go for wrist control, overhooks, underhooks and I spend a lot of time working on sweeps that use this idea of training "no gi style"......



The immediate question one would ask is WHY would you train in the gi, but use a  no gi style instead of just training no gi?



IMO, the gi eliminates the slip factor when you start to sweat....It limits the explosive, "hercules" style of powering out of submissions and bad positions.  The reason this is important is because it forces you to technically escape these positions using perfect technique BECAUSE you cannot just power out of a move.  The coefficient of friction of the gi does not lend itself well to this.  Therefore, it's much harder to perform some of these same manuevers in the gi, than it would be in no gi.



Ultimately, this leads to an extremely elevated awareness of submissions.



Here's a specific example of what I'm referring to.  Let's say, for instance, a person has your back with the hooks in and is looking for submissions.  The amount of submissions available to your opponent is basically multiplied by 2, 3 or even a factor of 4.  For all of the standard chokes you have...IE....RNC or even armbars, you have numerous other gi chokes as well.  Defending from this position is harder because you have so many more submissions to worry about in addition to the fact that you cannot just explosively bridge or twist right out of back control......You need to defend numerous submissions while calculating and executing your standard escapes.



From an offensive standpoint, the same coefficient of friction factor plays in your application of submissions as well.  Trying to get a standard RNC with the gi is difficult because while you are sliding in to position, the person can grab your sleeves, etc.....Also, the gi makes it difficult to just slide in there for a choke easily because of the high coefficient of friction.



What does all this mean?  It means that if you spend a lot of time training in the gi, while observing some basic concepts of no gi training, (Again, gripping the body instead of the sleeves, for example), your application of your jiu-jitsu when it comes to no gi training and even MMA training will be sharper and much more technically sound, IMO.



My professor also incorporates the idea of striking when he discusses and teaches certain positions.  For instance, when we are covering mount escapes, he incorporates the opponents ability to strike from this position and to how to defend it while escaping the position.



Personally, when I train no gi and MMA, I never miss a beat....I don't feel "lost" and my jiu jitsu still works just fine.....In fact, I feel loads of improvement when I go back to no gi or MMA training.  I feel smoother, my control feels much tighter and i don't experience any regression in my game.  The place where I really notice a difference is in my ability to regain guard or escape bad positions....I'm so used to getting stuck in certain positions or working really hard to get out of these positions because of all my gi training and the difficulty involved with that.



I purposely pay attention to this while rolling no gi or MMA to see if I'm missing or losing stuff when I go from gi to no gi or MMA.....in short, for me, the answer is not only do I not lose any portions of my game, I feel a significant IMPROVEMENT in my no gi game as well as my MMA game.



Anyone have any thoughts on the subject?

 

I agree with you all the way

My game is my game whether its gi no gi or mma

For me my game is based around wrestling/MMA oriented so i always roll the same, my gi chokes suck because of this tho

Silhouette - I agree with you all the way



My game is my game whether its gi no gi or mma



For me my game is based around wrestling/MMA oriented so i always roll the same, my gi chokes suck because of this tho
This portion is what I was referring to when I said for the most part....I still do incorporate the intricacies of the gi and definitely have and use many gi chokes...I also use gi grips in addition to my other training.



I look at BJJ as a journey and try to learn the art down to the most basic concepts.  I do not like the fast forward approach of "show me enough to be decent in MMA"......In order to be a high level BJJ practitioner, I believe one must use, understand and train in the gi....A BJJ black belt should be able to teach an educated professional BJJ curriculum to new students....it's one of the reasons why I cringe when certain guys get BJJ black belts just because they are pretty good wrestlers with some knowledge of the gi.  



I train all the time and train all aspects of the gi....I also train judo but not as much as I'd like to.  I'd like to have an hour or so of Judo before straight BJJ training, ideally.

 

I train them i just dont focus on them i should say.

dont get me wrong i use gi grips in the gi, i love BJJ and havent trained for a fight in 3 years, but when i say my game i mean getting up from bottom, staying on top, sweeps, and always and i think one of the most important posture control.

I agree BJJ is a journey i def got a long way to go but you have to decide what you want to focus on in training. or why you do BJJ. I do it because it is a martial art and as such i want to be proficient as i can be at defendin myself and imposing my will in a competition. But when it comes down to it i just love grappling all of it wresling, judo, bjj,sambo, catch, all of it

I also trained judo for a long time so if im in a gi im goin to be using grips

 Cool....It's refreshing to hear someone else speak of BJJ from a martial arts standpoint.....I hate it when I talk to people and they want to learn "just enough" or "what's the quick way".




Great post, Sultan...but you lost me when you said "coefficient". lol You know I don't understand words like that.

@ The Sultan - nice insight on the subject and you have gotten me thinking that you maybe onto something.

I've been doing this for years. I train mostly in the Gi but everything I do translates to NoGi. Marcelo Garcia told me he did this at a seminar a few years back, ever since he told me that I took the same approach. Phone Post

joshjitsu -  I've been doing this for years. I train mostly in the Gi but everything I do translates to NoGi. Marcelo Garcia told me he did this at a seminar a few years back, ever since he told me that I took the same approach. Phone Post
Yes absolutely.



A few years ago I conducted a study on the subject.  I interviewed every brazilian jiu jitsu black belt I trained with and got their thoughts on the subject.  It was unanimous in terms of the answer that in order to be MORE successful in MMA and no gi grappling, you need to train with the gi.  The only problem I had is that the WHY wasn't very clear.  Why?  I asked.....The most common answer I got was "because it makes you more technical".........Yes, I understand that.....but WHY?



Now that I'm more experienced in my own right and I've trained and discussed this topic with so many great guys over the years, I've been able to kinda give an explanation that I feel is pretty concrete based on the years of research and my own personal training.





 

Invincible - Great post, Sultan...but you lost me when you said "coefficient". lol You know I don't understand words like that.
You play like you don't get it, but we both know you are smarter than you let people in on.  ;)

 

Martyspike - @ The Sultan - nice insight on the subject and you have gotten me thinking that you maybe onto something.
I hope you give it a shot.



The humility is the gi guy's worst enemy when it comes to this type of training.  Every great wrestler I know that kinda plays in the gi hates the gi for one main reason, "It slows me down"  "freaking guys are always grabbing my sleeves and my pants."



They've even come up with reasons why being explosive is part of the no gi game.....You need to train no gi because you have to get used to the slip factor.....Umm, no you don't.  If you learn a really tight armbar and tight armbar setups, then you will submit the guy....PERIOD.



It's just that the tight armbar setups I'm referring to typically come from people with gi backgrounds.  Sure there are some great no gi guys but they are more the exception to the rule.  Most individuals who start training in BJJ do not have the luxury of being inherently talented and therefore need to take the long scenic route in BJJ in order to get really really good.

 

The Sultan -  Cool....It's refreshing to hear someone else speak of BJJ from a martial arts standpoint.....I hate it when I talk to people and they want to learn "just enough" or "what's the quick way".


Agreed. That's a big reason I really try to avoid training MMA fighters who just want to learn enough to beat jiu-jitsu, not actually win with jiu-jitsu. Phone Post

VTFU...

However, I don't think that you should just practice grips in a way that only translates to no-gi. I say this for a few of reasons:

1) Think about it from your opponents view. If he is also training for mma, he wants the same advantages that the gi can help with. If he only grips you in a no-gi way, then you're missing out the amount of focus and detail to grip breaking....especially when you have gloves on for mma anyways. So yeah, you're game isn't dependent upon the gi for gripping, but you're missing out on a lot of grip breaking details.

2) I think that using the gi for gripping is like training wheels for body and hip movement. It's good to get a feeling for how that movement throws each other's base/balance off.

3) don't forget that mma is a sport. Unless you're on the beach, that's not normal attire. If you're trying to train specific to the sport of mma, then fine.

I think it's good to mix it all up...Sometimes training in the gi while focusing on no-gi style, other times not. At this point, I don't even think twice about it. It's like someone who's bilingual. They don't even think about what language they're taking in. Whatever, the other person is speaking, that's what they start speaking and they don't even necessarily realize it. My wife talks to my father-in-law in both and she doesn't even remember whether she had mentioned something in portuguese or english, so she doesn't know if I was following the conversation or not!

 i like to look at it this way.



passing guard takes a 100 points. these 100 points are made up of 1) technique 2) strength 3) speed



so with a gi on, say you are

90 points tech

5 points speed

5 points strength



no say nogi

20 points speed

10 points strength

70 points tech



the more "technique" points you use, the better your technique gets.



in nogi, it is esier to use more speed/strength than in nogi, so you use less tech and do not develop as much tech




mrgoodarmbar - VTFU...



However, I don't think that you should just practice grips in a way that only translates to no-gi. I say this for a few of reasons:



1) Think about it from your opponents view. If he is also training for mma, he wants the same advantages that the gi can help with. If he only grips you in a no-gi way, then you're missing out the amount of focus and detail to grip breaking....especially when you have gloves on for mma anyways. So yeah, you're game isn't dependent upon the gi for gripping, but you're missing out on a lot of grip breaking details.



2) I think that using the gi for gripping is like training wheels for body and hip movement. It's good to get a feeling for how that movement throws each other's base/balance off.



3) don't forget that mma is a sport. Unless you're on the beach, that's not normal attire. If you're trying to train specific to the sport of mma, then fine.



I think it's good to mix it all up...Sometimes training in the gi while focusing on no-gi style, other times not. At this point, I don't even think twice about it. It's like someone who's bilingual. They don't even think about what language they're taking in. Whatever, the other person is speaking, that's what they start speaking and they don't even necessarily realize it. My wife talks to my father-in-law in both and she doesn't even remember whether she had mentioned something in portuguese or english, so she doesn't know if I was following the conversation or not!





 yea bro, i totally agree with you.  I probably should have explicitly stated that I train gi just for gi sake pretty regularly as well......This post was geared specifically towards the gi vs no gi debate in regards to getting better for MMA.....I work on all my gi chokes and gi breaks regularly too.



I take BJJ as a journey and train everything and anything as much as possible when it comes to accomplishing that goal.  

good stuff man...We gotta figure out how to get together for a role one of these days. We got too many friends in common not to cross paths (rodney, tateki, louis corapi, ryan parker)...I saw you "like" the pics on FB of the feitosa seminar and I was thinking that we're just too ships passing in the night.

Nice Eddie. You have broken it down very well. I really believe training with the gi. Training without the gi is good too. It really tightens up your submission game.

This is why your jiu jitsu has taken off recently. Nice work! Phone Post

tbarchard -  Nice Eddie. You have broken it down very well. I really believe training with the gi. Training without the gi is good too. It really tightens up your submission game.



This is why your jiu jitsu has taken off recently. Nice work! Phone Post
Thanks professor.



The tips you gave me on getting back to guard from underneath side control are really starting to help me out a lot with my rolls lately....it was 1 of those details i was missing for a long time....so refreshing.

 

This has been exactly how I've been training and teaching for the last so many years and have seen great results for myself and students. My students have been very successful so far in mma and are generally more technical than their opponents who only train no gi. While my guys are still comfortable at bjj tournaments. Phone Post

Ok off topic but what's the detail he gave you? Phone Post