Thursday, 22 January 2009

Gi or No Gi Grappling

Gi grappling or no gi grappling. Which is better to practise. Out of the many grappling arts which are practised in today’s world, they all share the same principles of good balance, correct body positioning, the ability to flow and transition from technique to technique etc. Weather a gi is worn or not, these principles must be strictly carried out or ones grappling will never be effective. So what other factors must one take into consideration in deciding weather to train with a gi or not.

What are you training for - Obviously if your training for competitions where the gi is worn it would make sense for you train gi grappling the most. If you are an MMA fighter or fight in submission grappling tournaments where the gi is prohibited than train without it.

Training for self defence – If your grappling is mainly for self defence then where you live in the world should have a lot to do with your decision. The gi is used for controlling your opponent with throws and also for applying certain chokes and hold downs. In hot climates the chances are that people will not be wearing thick jackets or jumpers when out and about (where self defence situations are most likely) because of the heat, opting for thinner materials like T shirts. Learning to be dependant on a thick gi to grapple if you live in these types of climates may not be your best decision.

If you have a problem with sweat - Although his may be a silly reason when influencing your decision, a lot of people don’t like even touching other peoples sweat. If you are one of these people, ALWAYS OPT FOR GI GRAPPLING.

Like every aspect of martial arts it is always best to become knowledgeable, grappling with and without the gi. A lot of Judo and Jiu Jitsu fighters, although very good at grappling with the gi, can sometimes become completely helpless when grappling without it, as the different ways of controlling your opponent become limited to only a few. Also without the gi, in order to gain better control, fighters are forced to hold behind there opponents head with one arm and there upper arm (below the tricep) or wrist with the other, when throwing and rolling on the ground. This forces a much closer wrestling style of combat, and can be difficult to adjust to for some.

On the other side of the coin, no gi grapplers who start grappling with the gi must be extremely cautious until they become used to it. The different ways of controlling and applying submissions with a gi are vast and you may find yourself caught out many times because of this.

Just as a good striker will train with many fighters from different fighting styles in order to gain experience striking in all kinds of situations a good grappler must also be prepared to grapple with and without the gi. This is the best way to be ready for any situation.


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Zyaga said...

The whole idea is that you should be able to use anything around you to help you dominate your opponent, regardless of whether it's a tournament match or a life threatening situation.

Therefore, the gi is simply another tool to be used against your opponent if they happen to be wearing one. The ability to be able to use any resource(like the gi) around you, whether or not you've ever trained with it, is a skill in itself.

Lori O'Connell said...

Good points all around.

Adam @ Low Tech Combat said...

I am of the school of thought that believes it is best to train in what is relevent for your area and season as you mentioned. In summer, no gi, and in winter, gi. In between, you mix it up.

Over a full year you get exposure to both while at the same time you are training relevent self defence.

Chris | Martial Development said...

The sweat issue is not silly.

I once worked out with a very unhealthy person, who apparently ate only junk food. His sweat literally smelled like ketchup. After class, I took a shower and that stink would NOT WASH OFF! It was unbelievably disgusting.

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