The large majority of people who practise Brazilian Jiu Jitsu train predominantly in the Gi (also known as a Kimono) and can often find it a little difficult to transition smoothly into faster style of No Gi training. The Gi or Kimono for those of you new to the art is just the name of the uniform worn during regular Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. In this article I hope to offer five tips to help your No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game firing on all cylinders!
1. Learn Where to Grip and How to Handfight: What this means is that most grips taken in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training involve some type of Gi grip. Here is a brief and simple breakdown of where certain grips translate to:
– Collar (Gi) = Cupping the Neck/ Chin or Posting on the Shoulder (No Gi)
– Elbow Seem (Gi) = Cupping the Elbow (No Gi)
– Cuff of Sleeve (Gi) = Gripping/Palming the Wrists (No Gi)
– Pinning/Posting on the Body (Gi) = Underhooks & Overhooks for Control (No Gi)
– Pants Grip at Knees (Gi) = Underhooking the Knees or Palming the Knees (No Gi)
– Pant Grip at Cuff (Gi) = Gripping/Palming the Ankles (No Gi)
Handfighting is the art of fighting and pummeling for the grips that are most favourable for you and disadvantageous for your opponent. Handfighting is the launching platform for your No Gi game, whoever is able to control the tie ups and get the better grips will usually be at a distinct advantage in the High Speed Game of No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!
2. Focus on Gross body Movements not Moves. When training No Gi, try to think more in terms of Gross Body Movements as opposed to smaller “More Technical” moves. I use the phrase “More Technical” moves loosely as often people think so much about perfect technique and getting everything right in a particular technique. Now while it is important to use technique in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, in the high speed pace of No Gi training it is often better to at least be moving in the general direction that you want to go even if all the “technical” pieces of the move aren’t yet in place. No Gi training revolves around movement and reaction, without the Gi it is harder to slow down and control an opponent so often you are forced to improvise with a slightly less technical “movement” instead of hitting the “move” perfectly!
3. Develop the Ability to Scramble. Being able to hustle and scramble when neither of you are in ideal position will allow you to dominate and control more opponents. For example don’t willingly go to your back. Fight, scramble, recover your balance and try and take the top position against very sweep or takedown that your opponent attempts. This will make him work harder, get tired quicker and will be demoralising for your opponent. Another example is every time your opponent attempts a submission that you are able to defend, you must immediately scramble and attack. Turn the tables and put pressure on your opponent and he will think twice about attacking again or taking risks.
4. Control The Pace (Attack). In No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it is important to impose your will on your opponent. With the lack of a Gi, it is much harder for your opponent to slow you down, stifle your movements and shut out your game so always aim to attack as much as possible and keep the pressure on your opponent! When your opponent is focused on defending against your attack, it takes their mind off imposing their will and drawing you into their game.
5. Become a Better Athlete! Now while it is true that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu revolves around the use of technique and leverage to survive against, control and submit bigger, stronger and more aggressive opponents, it can only benefit you to be in the best physical condition possible. Is it absolutely necessary, No. But is it extremely beneficial, HELL YES! The more flexible you are, the better your aerobic and anaerobic conditioning is, the stronger, faster and more explosive you are, the harder you are going to be to control, wear down and ultimately defeat! Do yourself a favour in more ways than one and get into the best physical shape you possibly can! Your health will improve, your risk of injury diminishes, you can spend more time training and less time off the mat recovering and that means more learning and faster progress!
Marcelo Garcia is a Master of the Five Tips mentioned in this article!
Now finally for the controversial part… Train Gi as well as No Gi! Gi training will help your No Gi training as No Gi training will help your Gi training! The very best in the world train both so you should to and don’t get caught up in the petty arguments of which is better. Do whatever makes you happy, have fun, train consistently and you will get better!
Good Luck With Your training And Happy Rolling!
Jiu Jitsu Kingdom