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Gi Training For Better No Gi?
As the title states, does gi training make your no gi better? This is a hotly debated topic. Some say that if you’re competing in no gi, that you should only be training in no gi? Sounds reasonable, but it is not true. Doing training sessions in the gi, will make your no gi game better. How is that so? Of course, certain gi based techniques wont transfer over, but a lot of other good things will transfer to your no gi game. Here are the helpful transferrable aspects that go from gi to no gi.
The gripping game. This is an awesome aspect that transfers over. While certain gi grips won’t be available, your overall gripping will get better. When you are training and rolling in the gi, your gripping becomes developed due to having to grab the belt, the pants and the kimono. Once this game is developed and you go over to no gi, you’ll see your grips are incredibly strong. By constantly grabbing cloth, you develop specific strength in your hands and fingers. Then when you roll in the no gi format, controlling an opponent’s wrist, arm, ankle and neck becomes much easier.
Escapes become much easier once you’ve trained in the gi. Being in a bad position can be a miserable experience, but it becomes even more unbearable while in the gi. When you try to escape while in the gi, your opponent will constantly grab at your collar, belt and pants to keep you from escaping. So once you develop your escape game in gi, the escapes in no gi are almost like magic. They work so well, because you’ve trained against when people have more control over you. Shrimping, mount escapes, and all others become natural and easy.
Mat awareness becomes greatly heightened once you’ve done your gi training. In no gi, due to the lack of a kimono and the sweat between you and your opponent, matches happen fast. There are a lot of scrambles, and while that happens, you miss out on certain openings for attacks. In gi, the game is slowed down. It is no longer scramble based, it becomes a pressure and technique game. Once slowed down, you are able to see stuff that you might not have before. When the gi comes off, that awareness on the mat will stick with you, and give you an advantage of someone who only trains no gi.
This is not just my opinion. Many other BJJ teachers agree and promote this idea. Marcelo Garcia, who is one of the best no gi grapplers in modern times has stated before that to be good in no gi, you have to train gi. Even UFC welterweight contender, Carlos Condit has promoted this idea. Gi training will make your game tighter and more complete. And that is something every Jiu Jitsu competitor needs.