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10th Planet Jiu Jitsu – West LA
1080 S La Cienega Blvd, Ste 106
Los Angeles, CA, 90035

Gi Jiu Jitsu vs No Gi Jiu Jitsu

Gi Jiu Jitsu vs. No Gi Jiu Jitsu

The two forms of traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu have been the subject of much debate among grapplers for years; some prefer training in the Gi while others opt for the No Gi Jiu Jitsu method. Gi Jiu Jitsu involves practicing while wearing the traditional martial arts Gi. As such, the competitor can grab the clothing of the opponent and apply submission or use it as a defense to lock hand holds etc. In the No-Gi grappling, Jiu Jitsu competitors don’t wear the traditional uniform; a rash guard and a pair of shorts will do. Traditionalists believe gi training offers immense technical advantages over no Gi training. No Gi followers, however, claim that this belief originates from the culture and tradition of this art but do not find it practical in a real world mma or self defense setting.

From a technical point of view, the originators of the Brazilian jiu jitsu Gi performed it for different reasons. Kano, for example, adopted Gi training as it was the only form of BJJ during his time. As such, Gi mimicked the regular clothes available in Japan at that time hence, the original motivation for wearing the Gi. BJJ masters wore Gi clothing that did not follow a standard pattern and often had different designs and cut. It was only after Kodokan introduced the uniforms that the current Gi pattern was adopted. Other theories have since emerged that have added more differences between the Gi and no Gi training. Experts claim that wrestlers who want to be BJJ professionals should train in both grappling methods. BJJ Los Angeles practitioners give a detailed explanation of the difference between the Gi and No Gi.

The Outfit

As mentioned earlier, the Gi requires jiu jitsu practitioners to wear the traditional Japanese outfit, also referred to as the martial arts kimono. It is consists of a heavy cotton jacket that has a thick collar with a hem reinforced on both sides and a pair of drawstring pants also made of heavy cotton. A belt is cinched over the jacket to complete the Gi look. The No Gi attire is comprised of board shorts and rash guards typycally. Most mixed martial artists wear compression shorts under the board shorts without a shirt.


For No Gi Jiu Jitsu, the opponent has wrestling grips around the neck and the joints of the opponent’s body. As a result, it is more difficult to grapple with the opponent, as they easily slip out of control due to far less friction and hand holds. The Gi, on the other hand, has many grip areas on both the pants and jackets that are routinely taught. The most common is the sleeve grip that provides greater control over the arms allowing the fighter to control the movements using the Gi.


In No Gi grappling, the wrestler can use collars, sleeves, and pant legs to obtain control and apply submissions. Well-trained Gi grapplers can perform collar chokes or use the hem of the Gi or the jacket to tie the opponent’s arm. No Gi does not rely on the grasp of clothing. Instead, we gain control of the opponent by grabbing his wrist, elbow, neck, wrist, or hip. Lack of heavy cotton clothes to absorb sweat causes no Gi grapplers to wrestle at a much faster pace.


No Gi grappling causes far less friction between the practitioners than traditional gi jiu jitsu, which can be pretty uncomfortable. With the Gi on the cotton fabric creates drag as the competitors wrestle, especially when drenched in sweat.

The Rules

Gi grappling does not allow wrestlers to use the heel hook; a potentially effective move in no Gi tournaments. The heel hook originates from the ancient art of the Romans and the Greeks; it remains relevant in modern martial arts. To perform it, one need to prevent my opponent’s knee from turning to the side and hooking his heel using my hands (hence, the name heel hook). that, will set the opponent’s heel in the opposite direction to cause discomfort. The probability of getting tangles in the Gi pants makes it difficult for grapplers to defend hence, the prohibition of the use of heel hook move in the Gi.

Gi grappling means there is far more friction, many more areas to grip, and methods of applying strangles that just aren’t available in a real life mma or self defense situation. As a result, the movement is much slower and more difficult, which compels practitioners to employ a more tactical approach when training instead of using instincts. At 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu West LA we use more mechanical and efficient ways as we try to dominate the no Gi world. It means we can’t take shortcuts battle with strength and technique to escape vulnerable situations. BJJ Los Angeles experts cite the importance of dealing with each barrier to make progress. So, learning patience and sequenced forms is key to achieving goals in No Gi grappling.