Why Every Jiu-Jitsu Practitioner Should Train In A Gi

Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners often ask why wearing a gi (the white uniform used in BJJ) is necessary, given that it is big and generally adds at least 3 pounds to your fighting weight. If you think that wearing a gi will cramp your style, then think again.

In general, you will be fighting opponents that are fully clothed, especially when you are in a tournament. The key to succeeding as a BJJ competitor or practitioner is being able to leverage your grip during a fight or session and using your skills to grapple and overpower your opponent. By training in a gi, you will be able to increase your knowledge and ability to defend yourself and attack your opponent when and if needed in the most effective way possible.

One of the most important factors in making the most out of your training in BJJ is finding the proper technique in escaping your opponent. If you train in a gi, you basically have a tool in your hands. It could, for example, make escaping a grip much more difficult and keeping your balance more challenging during a fight.

Most move you love in BJJ can be performed with or without a gi, so why not train with a gi on? There really is no reason why you shouldn’t train in a gi, especially since it helps improve your ability during training. Whether or not you intend to enter a tournament, the extra points you receive by training in a gi will be quite useful for achieving your goals, whether it’s to become a better fighter or go up in ranking.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not just about strength. All things being equal, technique trumps strength any day. One of the most important reasons why you must train in a gi is that you should learn how to defend yourself before a problem even begins. A gi offers some measure of protection for you as a practitioner and training in one will help you prevent unnecessary injuries while helping you improve your technique and skill level.

While many people do practice BJJ to experience the pleasure of this martial art form and not just to earn a higher ranking, the truth remains that this discipline does operate using a ranking system. This system is used to mark a student’s progress within the discipline, thereby creating a reference for both the student and the instructor. The system is also useful for marking excellence. After all, you do not earn a black belt for being a mediocre fighter. Your gi, with the belt you earn, is easily your badge of honor.


Jose Aldo’s Take on black belt’s who never trained in a gi

jose aldo gi

source: http://www.bjjee.com

Giving an honorary black belt for political reasons or to a big star helps promote the sport. It’s a symbolic thing. But giving the belt to someone who never trained in the Gi and tomorrow will give lessons with his black belt at their waist, is wrong. They have to attend the academy. Jiu-Jitsu, today, is very different from what the one I learned. To want a black belt without training in the Gi is complicated. Today, I read that some people get their belts following courses on the internet. For the love of God! A guy like that will get tapped by a good blue belt


Photo Credit: http://www.bjjpix.com



  1. Well if u train BJJ and u fight in BJJ tournaments then yes u should wear a gi, because u are preparing to fight with a gi. However, if u fight in MMA or submission wrestling I have to disagree. Why should u train with a gi, and at the moment of of a fight take it off? Thak makes no sense…it like prepairing for a marathon and do all your training on a bike. If u compete without a gi it makes much more sense to train without a gi.

  2. They didnt give any reason other than just saying "it is better" LoL and you go up in belt rank.
    I think people are starting to realize the ineffectiveness of a gi in a real life street situation. If I have to fight it probably wont be in my pajamas.

  3. Regarding that, pretty much all ADCC champions train in the gi. Wanna tell them they're wrong? For MMA, I think you should train in the gi at least until your blue belt. It sharpens a lot your escapes, because it's more difficult to escape stuff by explosion and slipping out in the gi.

  4. How many times have u seen people fighting in Jackets or fought some1 wearing a jacket? If u live in Boston or Minn then maybe. I live in Vegas and It doesn't happen. Some Gi techniques just don't apply in real life situation.

  5. In mma streetfighting and sub wrestling tournaments gi as a whole is not useful. Its useful in the fact thatbwhen you do train in a gi you are always mindful and think criticaly because of the grips that are used and how they can be used to sweep or set up submissions. That same crtical thinking is very useful in the other aspects of fighting. But it is also a crutch. Having handles virtually everywhere is non existent in a mma fight or no gi tournament. grips aarw key for gi fighting because of set ups and leverage. They also provide ways to negate the opponents movement. If you no longer have grips and clothing to grab onto and thats what you rely on how will you be effective? Movement and pressure should be emphasized out of the gi much like wrestling. Look at wrestlers who fought bjj guys in mma. Urijah faber, joe benivedez, dominik cruz, mighty mouse, rashad evans, phil davis, jon jones, johnny hendricks, frankie edgar, jake shields. All great wrestlers with great ground games and have submitted blackbelts in bjj. and they dont train in the gi. And the ones that do dont train in it often.

  6. very valid points. but the truly elite bjj fighters are equally as skilled with or without a gi. Cyborg, Buchecha, Keenan, the Miyaos, just to name a few.

  7. Bruno Gomes im willing to bet that before they enter ADCC they train a lot without a gi….its a completly different game. As for MMA, same thing…thats why wrestlers have such a good trackrecord in the UFC. If u fight without a gi u should train without a gi…

  8. The majority train in the gi up until a month out from no gi competition. Then they train every second session in the gi. Then 2 weeks out every session no gi. It's a tactic used similar to as clay has highlighted a weight vest in sprinting.

  9. Brian Schlee "im willing to bet that before they enter ADCC they train a lot without a gi…." well aren't you a genius ! "But look at fighters from 10th planet…the are doing great" are they? where? certainly not on MMA. certainly not on big tournaments. It's the same as saying fighters shouldn't lift weights because in a fight, you're not lifting weights. Ffs, being good at gi and no-gi is another tool in the arsenal of a fighter, what's wrong with it ?

  10. Bruno Gomes well no need to get worked up…I can see you have a different vision. I simply dont believe in the gi. Lifting weght gains you power wich is still useful in an MMA fight or a submission grappling fight, and i believe training with a gi isnt because u are not wearing a gi,,,as for 10th planet, i dont live in the USA so i dont know all the tournaments…but i believe Royler got his ass handed to him a few months ago…

  11. You're in one of only three hot states (NM, NV, AZ), dude. All the rest of us started wearing jackets and hoodies last month. The cold weather gear is identical to a gi, so training in both is necessary. Training must be balanced, both are equally important. The truth is, the rest of us only get to go out without jackets around 2-3 months out of the year.

  12. The midwest, the west coast, the east coast, and the northern border states are too cold to be going around shirtless or in rashguards and they account for 3/4 of this country, not 1/2 (Texas really isn't that big). How do you figure that 80% of gi techniques don't apply? Have you ever trained in a gi?

  13. People who are going to get in afight, usually will take their jackets off. If they are smart. Use to live in NC and it gets cold there. Never once saw anyone fight in a jacket. Bouced for 10yrs there next to Ft bragg.

  14. Chico Duran Many of the Gi techniques can be adjusted to different grips on the body. I virtually never train without a Gi and still manage to adjust my grips and not use the few grips that can't be adjusted to no-Gi and still do just fine in no-Gi competitions.

  15. If they happen to be wearing anything stronger than a cotton t-shirt it would still be something you can use to your advantage. A flannel short would be a great substitute for instance.

  16. Gi jiu-jitsu techniques necessitates a Gi to be applied. No-Gi Jiu-jitsu techniques can be applied with or without "clothing", thus are more applicable for street fighting.

  17. Bouga Bougi I only mentioned the 3 states that are warm year round 50's at the lowest. When I lived in AZ, it was 71 Christmas Eve night. No gi is good for every season, but gi is especially good for when everyone is wearing a simple hoodie, jacket, or even a shirt. Being so small, I use grips to even the playing field. Size makes a much bigger difference in no-gi than gi jiu-jitsu. I'm just saying that they both have merit and that you could use your own clothing as a weapon against your opponent, even if he's shirtless.

  18. Why wouldn't you want to expand your overall level of technique? Why limit yourself to just no-gi when there's so much more to learn? Keep an open mind and WANT to learn for fuck's sake. Everything learned no-gi applies to gi, but not the other way around. Bottom line is, gi training is far more complex and forces the mind to be creative. These arguments need to stop, as they are two different variations of the sport. Similarities can be compared, but the "BJJ" term should stick to what it was based off of–the gi. If people want to generalize this argument, then refer to it as submission wrestling or grappling. Jiu-Jitsu = gi.

  19. Micayla Presley Gi Jiu Jitsu is filled with bad habits as far as it's transfer into street fighting. It encourages grabbing and holding, stalling, waiting… which does not translate well when strikes are involved. No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu is more clinch and explosivity oriented, which translate into not having any space and waiting time brought into the fight.

  20. I don't think schools can be generalized like that. My school teaches us to be top position dominant, equally good at gi and no gi, explosive, and guard pulling isn't allowed. I simply view it as another tool in the arsenal. I'm from Oregon up in the high dessert. Last year, it was 27 below 0. The gi is useful around here where it's either wet and muddy or slick and freezing.

  21. I'm always amazed people seem to think that training in a gi is not useful in a street fight. seriously, where do you people fight? the beach? unless all street fights take place in the summer or warm climates and no one is wearing a shirt, the folks who are fighting are always wearing clothes, and a gi is nothing more than a way to simulate clothing. and like clothing, when you train in a gi, sometimes it's there, where it belongs, other times it's wrapped up, pulled half over your head or your opponents head. you have to use whats available. And finally, no offense to all the exceptional no gi schools and no-gi fighters, but no gi allows people, especially young athletic guys who are just starting out, to get away with bad habits. putting on the gi exposes these habits earlier and helps to reinforce good habits.

  22. i can do a collar choke with a T-shirt, in fact i can do it with a sports bra. seriously, gi techniques work with shorts (most shorts are knee length), the vast majority of guard breaks require controlling the hips, shorts work as well as pants. and Chico, not sure what you train but in BJJ yes, 80% of gi techniques apply in real life. in fact more like 95+% apply in real life.

  23. Brian Schlee , wrestlers have a good track record because there is an extremely competitive and structured competition system that has been in place for years. Kids can start at an extremely young age and continue on with club, school, etc… until college and then even going on to compete Olympic level, competing the entire time always with bigger goals and targets to achieve. no other combat sport, boxing included starts so young, and is so competitive. And wrestling is a combat sport. so yes, it's very easy for these guys to spend 6 months cross training so they recognize opportunities while standing and can defend themselves on the ground. They still have to cross train and the quickest way for them to learn what not to do is to put the gi on. if they choose not to, then they took the more difficult path. being able to "get away with it" is not the same as technique. Gi helps teach technique.

  24. Conrad Faust that is your opinion…there are plenty of wrestlers that dont use the gi…actually i think most dont. its easier for wrestlers to use their skills in the MMA because they already train without a gi…as for wresting, yes i know what it is. My background is Pancrase so i know what u mean but i still fail to see how training with a gi is gonna help me when i fight without one…

  25. Vaild points with streetfighting but I do live in a warm area of the country where long sleves and pants arent really the norm. But you should always be prepared. But what bad habits are you saying people develop without the gi. Wrestlers have the best control in martial arts and they never use a gi in there life. They use pressure andmatt work to limit opponents movement not to mention the takedowns and takedown defense. What skill or technique is lost? Without the gi you find alternative to set ups and submissions. If anything technique improves because of the nonexistent handles that are available in mma and submission tournaments. The only technique that might get lost is when you go back to gi based grappling. I listed several athletes who dont train gi and have submitted blackbelts. Was there technique wrong or sloppy? Not if the got the submission victory. Look at josh barnett he submitted dean lister with no gi use and dean is a great grappler. Technique is based on how you train, not what you train in.

  26. Danny Rivera wrestlers tend to open themselves up for chokes a lot if they dont train bjj. and fyi, Barnett is not just a catch wrestler. it's what he claims his style is, but the man is an ADCC champion as wells. his jits is legit. and his style is perfectly suited for metamoris.

  27. Brian Schlee , I understand and even agree with you to a point. if you never intend to compete with a gi on, and all of your goals are focused on no-gi/mma pursuits, than the focus has to absolutely be on no-gi. but i still contend that there are huge benefits for the no-gi mma guys if they train in a gi. it's a bit like cross training. you don't have to make it a focus, but you miss out on gains by ignoring it completely.

  28. Of course a wrestler will get choked without any submission training. Thats like sending a straight bjj guy to only box a boxer. Use of wrestling along with jujitsu or catch only enhances ability to grapple better is my point. The use of the wrestling dynamic to pressure and hold your opponent especially one since one of the maxims of bjj is position before submission. Im not saying straight wrestlers will beat an oustanding bjj guy. Barnett is an abcc champ because of his catch wrestling not because of jujitsu. You also have guys like kasushi sakaraba a free style wrestling champ in japan and catch wrestler who has submitted black belts not with jujitsu but with catch. Again im saying for no gi comp, sub wrestling tournaments and mma, continued use of the gi is not as applicable.

  29. Stuart maddox
    of course a wrestler gets choked with submission experience. Thats like sending the straight bjj guy to box a boxer. What im saying the wrestling dyanmics of pressure and holds paired with whatever submission game is whether it be catch or bjj.Especially when a bjj maxim is position before submission. Wrestling is better alternative to have for no gi use. Josh barnett is an adcc champ based off his catch wrestling not bjj. nothing about his grappling style is close to bjj. Hes been a catch wrestler since he started . There is also kasushi sakaraba who has submitted many black belts including the gracie family and he is a freestyle wrestling champ and a catch wrestler with out use of a gi.

  30. Conrad Faust i think almost any kind of training will help you prepare in one way or the other…i guess its up to you too see if it will help you, how much time you spend on it and if it has any use. I guess we can agree to certain points and at least agree to disagree on others. But thats why martial arts are so great…each person picks up other things that will help them on their path… 😉

  31. I hope people believe that training in the Gi does not VASTLY improve your game in No Gi. That is what I used to believe too. Keep thinking that, it will make the gap between high level and elite level all that more divisive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here