Gi vs No-Gi

Kroyler’s Pro-Tip on the quintessential question of Gi vs No-Gi and why it’s a good idea to train both for self defense and competitionas well as the pros and cons of only training one over the other.

This is a gigantic topic in the Jiu-Jitsu community, so rather than makes this a huge pro-tip I will keep it simple.  However, this won’t be a thorough as I wish I could make it.

So, the easiest way to get through this is to go through the pros and cons of Gi vs No-Gi….



a.Gis allow for a multitude of different grips and these grips exponentially increase the number of sweeps and submissions that can be made. In short think 5-10 times more, sweeps and submissions than without theGi. This greater number of threats forces the practitioner to be far more aware and precise with their movement. Meaning that any small mistake will surely be punished.

b.Following the point above, with higher precision and awareness, and a higher number of attacks and threats, the practitioner also must become far more technical than otherwise.This is clearly exposed when you see that 99% of the best No-Gi guys in the world started in the Gi and still dominate in the Gi. I know everyone will point out Gordon Ryan as the exception. Well Gordon is the exception that proves the rule as a guy that has never competed in the Gi that still dominates the No-Gi world.  The question is will he dominate the Gi as well?  There are always going to be exceptions. But as a rule, Gi guys dominate No-Gi more than No-Gi-Only guys do.

c.The Gi is a tool to learn and improve. Doesn’t mean that you can’t improve without it only that it slows your progress.

d.Gi creates friction, in addition to the higher number of grips, causes your movement to be perfect otherwise escaping poor positions is far more difficult.  So, think of it as escaping a submission in Gi as far more difficult than in No-Gi.

e.Gi therefore creates, precision, higher level defense, higher technical amplitude and many other things.


a.It is very difficult to improve or rather see improvement in Gi Jiu-Jitsu.  As there are so many more ways to be controlled, attacked and submitted it takes longer to see progress.

b.The higher number of attacks can also lead to an over-reliance on the need for Gi grips, removal of those grips can hurt the Gi practitioner until they figure out how to re-establish the grips in No-Gi.

c.Gi friction leads to a slower pace, and it can cause the practitioner to need the slower pace in order to process all their option.  Therefore, a faster pace can hurt the Gi only guy.



a.It is easier to improve or see noticeable movement earlier in your jiu-jitsu journey. As there are less ways of being controlled and attacked and submitted. This creates a more immediate feel good feeling. Which causes people to enjoyNo-Gi more than Gi especially early in their journey. The Gi can be quite a difficult journey early on.

b.Less grips, less submissions, leads to a faster thought process. You don’t have a multitude of different attacks, so you don’t have to think about a great number of option and which works best in any given specific situation. You are limited so you take the approach of what fits best, even if it isn’t the best fit.

c.Along with the previous point, No-Gi means no-friction, therefore a faster paced fight in comparison to Gi. Which creates an emphasis in movement speed not in movement quality.  Therefore, a slower pace hurts the No-Gi only guy as the movements aren’t as technical, and without the athletic buffer out of the equation they struggle.


a.There are far fewer grips and methods for control.  Therefore, there are far fewer sweeps, submissions and attacks in No-Gi only. Because anything you can do without the Gi you can do with the GI. The opposite is not true.

b.Due to the lesser number of grips the fighter learns to be more athleticism-reliant than technique reliant. This leads to No-Gi only fighters to generally do better than their Gi counter-parts early on in their Jiu-Jitsu journey. Because early on athleticism carries you further than at the later stages of your journey. Because at the later stages the technical proficiency ishigher,and the athleticism factor isn’t worth as much.

c.Without the Gi, a proper base is never truly created.

d.Escaping submissions is far easier without theGi as there are less grips to control you. This can lead to a false sense of security.

e.No-Gi creates a higher emphasis on athleticism rather than in theGi.

Now That isn’t to say that one is better than the other, simply they have different emphasis.  Furthermore, I mean no disrespect to anyone. There are savages that only train No-Gi, and there are savages that train only in the Gi. But we must all admit that the best savages are the ones that dominate both in the Gi and in the No-Gi, and generally these are all guys that start in the Gi and then laterally move to No-Gi from a place later in their Jiu-Jitsu Journey. As Firas said, Gi guys also just have WAAAAYYYY more mat time than their No-Gi counterparts.

Nonetheless I digress the point was to discuss why training both is beneficial and how they help in Self-Defense.

It is beneficial to train in both because it helps you pick up the good habits of each while shedding the weaknesses of each of them. Meaning you’ll develop a higher level of technique, higher amplitude of attacking options and control, as well as a great defense; and your mind think of a solution to a situation faster, you will react faster physically, and be more aggressive.

So, in Self-Defense, it is important to understand that in life or death situations you must acknowledge that a mistake doesn’t get you tapped. It gets you killed. Therefore, your technique more than ever must be perfect, mistakes cannot be accepted. As discussed above Gi training generally gives you the more superior technical training. However, in situations of life and death, hesitation can be as bad as atechnical mistake, and Gi only training can lead to paralysis by analysis. So, some complemental No-Gi training can lead to a fast response time and a faster physical response time. The reality is that in a Self-Defense Situation you are literally stuck in the Middle of the No-Gi/Gi world. You are not naked, but you also aren’t wearing a Gi.  So, in order to perform optimally in this middle ground, you must be familiar on both sides.

The most important thing to understand is Gi, No-Gi, Self-Defense, these aren’t different Jiu-Jitsu or different styles of Jiu-Jitsu. All 3 of those factors ARE jiu-jitsu. A complete Jiu-Jitsu practitioner must be capable of donning the Gi and performing at a high level, then take the Gi off and still perform at that same high level and must be capable enough to apply their techniques in Self Defense situations appropriately.  It’s all Jiu-Jitsu and sequestering yourself to one side only makes you incomplete. Doesn’t make you less, just incomplete. Don’t be that fuck-tard that caps their own growth by picking one of 3 sides.

Again, this was a very brief overview. The Goddamned Dads need to start picking topics I can expand on that are easy enough to discuss over a “pro-tip”. Deeper topics are better discussed organically in person.

Kip Dice