Training no-gi BJJ will transfer into your gi BJJ! The fourth lie in BJJ / Grappling
A previous post introduced my idea of writing about the 5 lies that helped shape my view on BJJ and grappling. In that same post, I talked about the first of the 5 lies of BJJ: To avoid pain, just tap when you get caught! and my oh my did the post receive a massive response. Within a couple of hours there were over 20 comments (now over 35! all very valid and extremely well written) on Facebook and I'm sure there are more now. I thank everyone who took the time to read the post and comment on it and Graham for taking the time to write a post inspired by mine on his excellent blog.
Later on that week I talked a little about the second lie that helped shape my view on this amazing martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and that lie is:
-BJJ / Grappling is for everyone!
And after that I talked about the third lie in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / grappling:
-You don't have to compete to get good at BJJ!
Today I will give you my opinion on the thrid lie in BJJ that, ever since understanding it, changed my outlook and enjoyment of the sport and art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:
- Training in no gi will help your gi jiu jitsu.
While this may not be a total lie, the transfer is much less than you think. Let me propose a scenario and see what you think:
A person walks in thru the door and tells you they have done 2-3 years of no-gi jiu jitsu, free style wrestling, greco roman wrestling...etc. and you put them in a gi and pair them up with one of the following three people:
a. No jiu jitsu (gi or no gi) before
b. 2-3 years of gi jiu jitsu
c. 2-3 years of rock climbing or rowing
Assuming they match each other is size and age, I ask you to be honest and consider the following questions:
1. How will they fare when it comes to learning new material or concepts compared to person a, b or c?
2. How will they fare when it comes to free rolling (in the gi) against person a, b or c?
How would you honestly rate their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu performance (non-attribute based rolling against peers)? Would your answer change if we changed the numbers in the question to 5-6 years? 10-15? 20+ years?
I believe that training in grappling without the gi will make you good at grappling without the gi. When you switch over to grappling with the gi (let's call it BJJ or Gracie Jiu Jitsu) for the first time* you will bring in an advantage (having a good ear for details, spatial awareness, coordination, work ethics...etc.). Heck you may even bring in some technical details and knowledge that will give you an edge in the top game department but I have discovered that that edge is much smaller than people anticipate and it evens out after a surprisingly short time in the BJJ game. The secret? The BJJ gi.
As a Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners and martial artist, levers are our brushes and chisels and the gi is our canvas. People who train more with the gi will be more in tune with that canvas. Naturally, no gi grapplers have leverage tools too which they use to control the opponent and negate his / her control and they, in theory, can use the same tools on the opponent who happens to be wearing a gi.
What they never count on, however, when they venture into the world of gi jiu jitsu is that grapplers with a comparable experience in the gi have their own tools to make the no-gi levers obsolete or at least less effective. Suddenly, their trusted cross face is just a little weaker. They smile giddy as they suddenly have gi pants to grab to pass the guard with their heads driving low only to get caught in a loop choke or swept with a leg lasso spider guard sweep. Every single session you learn in the gi you learn grips and grip breaking (or at least you should) and they afford you an offensive and defensive advantage that cannot be ignored.
*I'm not talking about people who regularly train both gi and no gi. Many Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners grapple a session or two in the gi and perhaps one or two without during the course of a week. What I am talking about here is the perceived advantage we bestow upon no-gi grapplers when they start their journey in the gi, or at least spend extended periods of time training either with (BJJ) or without (submission grappling) the gi.
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi ----Did You Like This Article?--- Click here to add The Part Time Grappler to your Favourites / Bookmarks