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Transitioning From Gi To No Gi

Transitioning From Gi To No Gi


Transitioning from gi to no gi can be a very intimidating thing. Many people who practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu primarily in the gi have a hard time going from gi to no gi sometimes. This is because they are used to grabbing the kimono for so many things. Some people may even use the kimono to play certain guards like spider guard, worm guard, lasso guard, and other grip dependent guards. Other people may be used to the gi for submissions such as the bow and arrow, the baseball bat, or the cross choke.

When you are used to having the material there to grab it can be intimidating to take the kimono off. Why is this? You might assume that your arsenal of attacks is now extremely limited. Another intimidating element of no gi is the fact that there are many more lower body attacks when considering the different rule sets between gi and no gi. This can also be one of the most Intimidating factors of doing no gi because people do not practice lower body attacks. Lower body attacks are a conversation for a different day.

Today we are here to discuss how to easily transition from the gi to no gi. There are certain things that can make it much easier. You must take certain things into account. For instance, no gi is much more slippery, it is harder to control your opponent, you don’t have grips, your guards are limited, and you have different submissions. So, let’s first discuss grips, then we will discuss pressure, and finally we will discuss using versatile submissions and guards.


Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of grips in no gi that can allow you to have control.  Although they are different then the material on the gi there are certain grips that you can use that are very similar to the grips in the gi.  There are obviously some grips that you will not be able to use.  Let’s take a position like spider guard.  If you are a spider guard player and you use sleeve control, it is going to be hard to find a grip that can replace this.  Let’s say you like collar grips, you can get under hooks or collar tie’s on the head to have some form of upper body control like wrestlers. 

For example, if you use the collar and the sleeve to do a butterfly sweep, then you can use the collar tie or under  hook and an over hook on the arm to do the same sweep.  One of the best grips to use in no gi is the 2 on 1.  This grip can allow you to have so much control over your opponent, whether you use it from butterfly, half guard, or z guard, it is an excellent way to have control.  You can use it for arm drags, and more. 

If you plan on transitioning from gi to no gi you are going to have to learn how to use under hooks, over hooks, cross faces, and collar ties.  All of these are great ways to control your opponent and to keep tight to them.  Check out this pass with 2x ADCC champion, Yuri Simoes and watch how he controls the legs and stays extremely tight to pass.



Pressure passing is going to be your best friend in no gi.  Why is this?  One of the most difficult things when you transition from gi to no gi is to be able to solidify positions.  No gi is much more slippery and when you try to solidify a pass it is very difficult because people can slip out so easily.  One of the things you need to consider is sweat.  When someone is sweaty they are much more slippery.  If you are about to establish side control, it can be very difficult to solidify.  In the gi you have the collars, the pant grips and more.

When you are passing no gi it is going to be a whole different ball game.  Your best friend is going to be under hooks and the cross face.  These are tried and true ways to pass your opponent’s guard.  You need to be able to have pressure when you are passing in no gi.  One of the best methods that was proven effective by the greatest no gi competitor of all time, Marcelo Garcia, is to force half guard and get an under hook and a cross face.  This is because you can apply pressure and you can move slowly and methodically against your opponent.   Check out this pass below with 2x ADCC champion and IBJJF No Gi black belt open weight world champion, Yuri Simoes where he demonstrates a tight way to pass the butterfly guard.

Versatile Submissions and Positions

This may be the most important thing to add to your gi and no gi game.  You must be able to practice moves that will be efficient in both the gi and no gi.  For instance, let us look at submissions that have been proven effective in both gi and no gi.  Some of these submissions are the oldest in the game, the triangle choke, the arm bar, the kimura, the guillotine, and the rear naked choke.  These are some of the oldest submission in grappling and they work in gi or no gi.  If you have a good arm bar, triangle, or any of the submissions mentioned above, it will be much easier to transition from gi to no gi.

The same goes for versatile guards.  For instance, some of the most fundamental guards work extremely well in both the gi and no gi.  The closed guard, and half guard are some of the best guards to play in either gi or no gi.  This is because you have so much control and you can slow down your opponent.  In no gi it will provide you control and stability.  There are other more dynamic guards that can be used in gi and no gi such as the butterfly guard, single leg x, and X guard.  Marcelo Garcia is the king of no gi and he was infamous for using these guards in both gi and no gi and having great success. Many people do not realize that Marcelo never even practice no gi until he was a brown belt. 

If you want to make you transition from gi to no gi easier then you ever thought possible check out our newest DVD with 2x ADCC champion and IBJJF No Gi Black Belt Open weight champion, Yuri Simoes.  Yuri is the most established no gi competitor in the world and he has had success at every rule set he competed in.  He is not a one trick pony who only does submission only and he is not a point fighter who only competes in IBJJF.  Yuri does it all, check out his DVD below.

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