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Thread: Gi training is better, even for MMA.

  1. #1

    Default Gi training is better, even for MMA.

    I strongly believe that training with the gi is better for improving grappling skills, even for MMA or no-gi grappling.

    It is often argued that training with the gi tightens up your defence, with greater control over your body it will be necessary to use good technique to escape a sub.
    It's hard to argue against this logic but it should be pointed out that by the same reasoning training no-gi will also tighten up your subs, a slippery opponent is harder to control after all so I don't think this argument is particularly strong overall.

    Instead my argument focuses on the fact that there are so many more techniques and positions available with the gi. In my opinion the knowledge and experience of all these extra techniques will have a positive effect on grappling ability in the long term.

    I understand that with different grips and strategies there are a lot of these "extra" techniques that many would consider irrelevant to training no-gi but I would argue that this is just a matter of diminishing returns. If we assume that there are 3 times as many techniques available with a gi then maybe the long term advantage would only be 2 or 4 %, it's almost impossible to measure but this kind of margin is certainly enough to make the difference between winning and losing.

    When we look at the evidence it is clear that training with the gi produces the best grapplers in the world, Roger, Marcello and so on are all exponents of training with the gi.

    If you want to make short term gains for training MMA (when you have no grappling experience) then I would recommend drilling techniques without a gi.

    If you want to make short term gains for MMA or no-gi I would recommend training with a gi and looking for all of your no-gi subs (it's amazing how easy it is to sink a brabo or rnc for someone coming from gi to no-gi)

    If you are interested in competing at the highest level in MMA or sub grappling then I suggest you buy a gi and start your journey to black belt.

    All my humble opinion, feel free to voice your own.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rob T's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    South Wales


    Totally agree.

    People say that using gi grips makes things unrealistic to MMA, but I think they are concentrating too much on those grips rather than the leverage and balance control. Nearly any sweep using gi grips can be made to work nogi... it's just that you usually have to hit the sweep perfectly 1st time in nogi, whereas the gi allows you to persevere even if it's initially blocked. That means you get to practice the technique while rolling more with the gi.

    I enjoy training both and have found that stuff I have learnt from each has transferred over to the other. This isn't exactly surprising.

    Really, the only things in the gi which don't help in nogi are collar chokes, spider guard (although, even some of that works nogi) and some of the more bizarre sweeps (using the lapels etc). -

  3. #3


    I disagree, both should be trained. Look how many BJJ black belts have been pounded out from there guards in MMA by far lesser grapplers.

  4. #4


    Just to clarify.

    Is your argument that an aspiring mma fighter should only train in the gi. Or that he should mostly train in the gi and then move to no gi?

    If you advocate a balance what proportion would you suggest be given to each?


  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    I don't think he is advocating replacing one with the other, simply including both.

    I think you should train both gi and nogi, both have their advantages... personally I prefer Gi though.
    The Dungeon Sunderland / Checkmatt BJJ team

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by SWM View Post
    Just to clarify.

    Is your argument that an aspiring mma fighter should only train in the gi. Or that he should mostly train in the gi and then move to no gi?

    If you advocate a balance what proportion would you suggest be given to each?

    I think once a week without gi and all no gi in the run up to a fight.

  7. #7


    i have successfully used de la riva guard to sweep someone over my head whilst they tried to punch me in the face (mma training)

    also robert drysdale said something along the lines of training with a gi is so much more physically demanding, its like a boxer training with weights on his arms. and by all accounts he tools everyone at extreme couture.
    Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Thai Boxing in Farnborough
    Full time academy!

  8. #8


    Training methods have come full circle.Relatively few modern ufc champs
    train solely without the gi.Most have realised what a valuable training tool it can be if used constructively.Obviously a few weeks out from a fight the gi shouldn't be used but in the off season it can be very beneficial.
    Imagine training boxing without boxing gloves because you don't wear them in a cage and they present more opportunities to block a shot because they're bigger than mma gloves.

    MMA is a mix of martial arts and each art had its own training methods that have been honed over time to present challenging training to better its athletes-the gi is one of these methods.
    Last edited by Simon Hayes; 12-05-2009 at 09:13 AM.

  9. #9


    Marcelo Garcia trains once a week without the gi and he won the ADCC in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

    The Gi is very important

  10. #10


    You can look at this from another perspective. More so that almost everyone that is super successful has a base art. not many 'pure mma' champs exist. We don't have a youth wrestling infrastructure in the UK and most talented strikers stay in their original sports, so training in the Gi is big thing for many people

    Thats where the Gi is an advantage, it makes you more of specialist in one area of MMA. For an elite level Striker or wrestler i think training in the Gi is less important.

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