If I want to fight MMA should I train in the Gi??? YES!!!!

I ran across this write up this morning that I had to share with you guys.  I don’t know how many guys I come across saying stuff like “You don’t wear Pajamas to the cage” or “take that thing off and there is no way you can submit me”.  I hear it all the time, but the truth of the matter is BJJ in the Gi makes your Nogi game much tighter and precise.  Which in turn can translate to MMA.  I found this write up at mixedmartialarts.com posted by a professional MMA fighter whose name on there is The Sultan.  Here is the post and below it is my reply to it.

I know this topic touches on the age old debate of gi vs no gi for MMA training, but bear with me for a moment.

What I have found in my years of doing BJJ in the gi is that there are certain ways you can train in the gi to help reach your goal…..whether that goal is ultimately competition jiu jitsu, gi or nogi and MMA.

Here is my take on the subject.

If your ultimate goal is to fight MMA, you can still train in the gi and still learn effective grappling concepts that translate to MMA.  However, the manner in which you train in the gi is the key.  When I roll in the gi, I use a no gi style (for the most part) while rollilng.  What that means is that instead of relying on gripping sleeves and pants, I grip wrists, ankles and legs…..I go for wrist control, overhooks, underhooks and I spend a lot of time working on sweeps that use this idea of training “no gi style”……

The immediate question one would ask is WHY would you train in the gi, but use a  no gi style instead of just training no gi?

IMO, the gi eliminates the slip factor when you start to sweat….It limits the explosive, “hercules” style of powering out of submissions and bad positions.  The reason this is important is because it forces you to technically escape these positions using perfect technique BECAUSE you cannot just power out of a move.  The coefficient of friction of the gi does not lend itself well to this.  Therefore, it’s much harder to perform some of these same manuevers in the gi, than it would be in no gi.

Ultimately, this leads to an extremely elevated awareness of submissions.

Here’s a specific example of what I’m referring to.  Let’s say, for instance, a person has your back with the hooks in and is looking for submissions.  The amount of submissions available to your opponent is basically multiplied by 2, 3 or even a factor of 4.  For all of the standard chokes you have…IE….RNC or even armbars, you have numerous other gi chokes as well.  Defending from this position is harder because you have so many more submissions to worry about in addition to the fact that you cannot just explosively bridge or twist right out of back control……You need to defend numerous submissions while calculating and executing your standard escapes.

From an offensive standpoint, the same coefficient of friction factor plays in your application of submissions as well.  Trying to get a standard RNC with the gi is difficult because while you are sliding in to position, the person can grab your sleeves, etc…..Also, the gi makes it difficult to just slide in there for a choke easily because of the high coefficient of friction.


What does all this mean?  It means that if you spend a lot of time training in the gi, while observing some basic concepts of no gi training, (Again, gripping the body instead of the sleeves, for example), your application of your jiu-jitsu when it comes to no gi training and even MMA training will be sharper and much more technically sound, IMO.

My professor also incorporates the idea of striking when he discusses and teaches certain positions.  For instance, when we are covering mount escapes, he incorporates the opponents ability to strike from this position and to how to defend it while escaping the position.

Personally, when I train no gi and MMA, I never miss a beat….I don’t feel “lost” and my jiu jitsu still works just fine…..In fact, I feel loads of improvement when I go back to no gi or MMA training.  I feel smoother, my control feels much tighter and i don’t experience any regression in my game.  The place where I really notice a difference is in my ability to regain guard or escape bad positions….I’m so used to getting stuck in certain positions or working really hard to get out of these positions because of all my gi training and the difficulty involved with that.

I purposely pay attention to this while rolling no gi or MMA to see if I’m missing or losing stuff when I go from gi to no gi or MMA…..in short, for me, the answer is not only do I not lose any portions of my game, I feel a significant IMPROVEMENT in my no gi game as well as my MMA game.

Anyone have any thoughts on the subject?

I think you hit the nail right on the head here! I’ve always felt that training in the gi has made my no gi game much tighter and cleaner. Wearing the Gi makes you really focus more on your technique. Whether it be passing, sweeping, or submitting because of the friction it causes and the grips available to your opponent everything has to be precise especially at a higher level. Your good technique will easily translate to Nogi in these departments with the use of different grips.

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