Gi or No Gi: How to Find the Right Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Class
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is widely considered one of the most effective real-life fight training practices in the world. Since so many fights tend to end up with combatants on the ground — including UFC matches — learning how to use leverage and strength is essential.
There are two types of classes: those that require students to wear the type of Gi that is standard in martial arts classes, and those in which students can wear whatever workout clothes they like.
Each type has its benefits, so consider these factors when making your choice:
Get into the Gi
The official uniform of martial arts, the Gi consists of a jacket, a pair of drawstring pants, and a belt. Made from a specially weaved cotton material, the Gi is able to withstand the types of takedowns and transition techniques that occur throughout a class.
Many martial arts experts have noted that the Gi can be especially useful for smaller opponents, because it removes some of the physical advantages of a larger combatant and makes the match more about strategy and leverage.
Another major advantage to a Gi-based class is a sense of progress, since you'll receive belt and stripe promotions. Starting as a white belt, you can rise in rank through blue, purple, and brown belts until the highest level of black belt. Stripes are given between belt promotion as a way to gauge how close you are to the next level. Students test for each promotion, showing the instructor how well they understand technique.
All the workout, without the uniform
Classes done without the Gi don't have belt or stripe ranks, but feature all of the same foundations of the martial art, including takedowns, self-defense techniques, position controls, and escapes.
These classes are less technical, and offer a faster and more dynamic style of fighting. If you're interested in a class that moves at a quicker pace, a no-Gi class may be the best choice for you.
Also, if you happen to get in the unfortunate situation of actually being in a fight, you'll have knowledge already of what it's like to grapple in your "street clothes" rather than depending on the thick fabric of a Gi for proper holds and leverage. That doesn't mean people in Gi classes aren't proficient outside the class setting — who wants to wrangle with a well-trained Jiu Jitsu student? — but it may take a few extra moments of adjustment in a real-life situation.
Another benefit of a no-Gi class is that you'll be able to try out Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to see if it's worth a bigger commitment before you make the investment in a Gi. You can still learn all the basics in whatever workout clothes you already have, and then if you feel like this martial art is a sport you'd like to pursue, you'll be entering a Gi-based class with some of the fundamentals already in place.
Whether you choose a Gi or not, you can discover the unique benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with a UFC Gym Free Pass.