Jiu Jitsu Gi or No-Gi Jiu Jitsu. What is best?
Well, it all depends on who is answering.
For me after 38 years doing Jiu Jitsu gi and no-gi, I can tell you that I like both, they complement each other, and depending on the phase I am in I would like more no-gi over gi and vice-versa.
Of course, there are people that are very extremist over gi and over no-gi (grappling). But extremist we found in anywhere, politics, religion, soccer and why not Jiu-Jitsu.
There are many articles out there explaining the differences between BJJ (gi jiu jitsu) and No-Gi (to me it is all part of the same thing) but to a more educated public. No one is interested in explaining the difference to a non-educated public, meaning to people that heard about jiu jitsu, grappling, submission grappling but do not have a clue where to get information.
What is out there? The info we find is that BJJ is better for beginners and no-gi is better for intermediate to advanced so you can tighten your game. It is very much true but not the absolute truth.
What if the guy is a wrestler and wants to start doing jiu jitsu. Is gi the recommended one? Probably not. What if the guy is an American football player? Which one is recommended? Probably no-gi grappling. But we need to know their goals. Maybe the wrestler wants to become a teacher one day and in my opinion, it is good to know gi jiu jitsu so you can teach kids, you can teach women, and have those nurturing/feeding classes that will lead to the advanced classes. Is no gi more athletic, fast-paced? I would say yes. Could it be done in a lesser way? Yes but it all depends on the school. For example, a school where most of the students or athletes are no older than 30 years old, then of course expect to be fast-paced. A school with lots of 45 years old folks, might be more towards fun rolls.
So, jiu jitsu or submission wrestling (no-gi)? It all depends on the school, the type of athletes or students in that school, the type of coach in that school, how they practice the dangerous techniques with care or not? in other words is it safe? Is it a business or just a place where people get together to train? Is it a professional or very low-key business? Which one do you prefer? What are the goals of the student? All this combined with the student’s characteristics, like athleticism, experience, availability to train, etc. And with all that sad, it saddens my heart when someone calls the gym asking about the price and not even want to come and visit the jiu-jitsu school but this alone is another subject.
My recommendations for someone that want to start is:
- Know your goals (weight loss, competition, make friends).
- Know yourself, if you are unathletic you might not be a good fit for some gyms, but there are many gyms that can help you. The problem is not BJJ, but the gym you have chosen.
- Understand that the gi and no-gi discussion is irrelevant, the main point should be if the school is able to keep yourself as a student, not hurting you and making sure you can learn. This will make a sustainable path for many people and therefore a sustainable growth of the art that can lead to many practitioners, and the advent of sponsors, the strengthening of the sport overall, which will be good to everyone.
- Silly biased discussions, that are only trying to maintain one’s status quo will not help the growth of this amazing art called, Jiu-Jitsu, BJJ, Grappling, submission wrestling, etc.
Prof. Renato Migliaccio is a fifth-degree black belt in BJJ, 4th in Judo, a Former Brazilian Wrestling team member, former MMA pro-athlete, BJJ Pan-American Champion, European Champion, World Champion, and Brazilian Champion all in the black belt adult level. He is also a self-defense lecturer at California State University – Long Beach CSULB has a Bachelor’s degree in sports (University of Sao Paulo), a Master’s degree in Sports Management (CSULB), and an MBA in sports management (Real Madrid University), Founder of Sampa Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and BJJ intensive camp.