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"To gi or not to gi" by Cesar Gracie

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Cash Bill 52, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. Cash Bill 52

    Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    I got a good response from the http://www.sherdog.net/forums/f12/total-jiu-jitsu-cesar-gracie-1288349/ thread so I thought I would share some more. The gi/no gi debate has a long glorious history. We haven't had one on here in a while IIRC.

    I think it is important to do both even though I prefer the gi. I need to be prepared to defend myself if someone attacks me in a Speedo.:icon_twis

    TO GI OR NOT TO GI
    by Cesar Gracie

    So you’ve been training for some time now at your local Brazilian Jiu-jitsu school and you’re beginning to feel pretty confident about your grappling skills. Your gi chokes are coming along nicely and you’ve even become adept at executing sweeps, not to mention some tricky new moves you learned from a visiting Brazilian “Master”. Watching shows like Pride and the U.F.C, however, you don’t quite understand why the fighters don’t use some of these moves to end their fights.

    Then one day you train with a gi-less grappler who knows enough jiu-jitsu to not give you an easy armbar or his back for you to apply a choke. From your back (you will be on your back because you haven’t learned any wrestling and your opponent has) you vainly look for his lapel or sleeves to work with, but since there are none you quickly realize that your grappling game is not prepared for this. Even worse, unless you’re in complete denial, you come to terms that if strikes were being used you might need to reconsider your dental plan. What went wrong? Has it become time to reassess the importance of wearing a gi at all? To answer this, we should first examine why Brazilian Jiu-jitsu adopted the gi in the first place.

    In the early days of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu the emphasis was always on developing a system that could be employed to defeat an opponent even if you were smaller and weaker than he was. With this in mind, various moves were formulated and refined for maximum effect in self-defense situations. Kimonos were worn because average street clothes were not durable enough to take the abuse of constant training.

    With the proliferation of tournaments, jiu-jitsu has now developed more for point scoring and has, in many instances, turned a blind eye to its original roots of self-defense and combat effectiveness. Tournament players are too often content on scoring a couple of points or even a mere advantage and then stalling for the rest of the match to secure the win. It’s no wonder that students are left ill prepared to deal with situations that occur outside the guidelines of sport jiu-jitsu.

    However, if we eliminate the gi completely we would be making an even greater mistake than those that only train with a gi. After all, most real life confrontations will occur between people who are wearing shirts and pants. Gi training is crucial for dealing with such scenarios. If you are not accustomed to training in a gi, you might very well find yourself unconscious after being choked out with your own shirt or jacket by a simple lapel choke.

    Do not think that street fighting resembles the fighting we see in the cage or ring today because it doesn’t. Street fights consist of striking and grappling while using whatever attire people wear on a daily basis. Only training with the gi will adequately prepare you for this. It is also of no coincidence that the top MMA grapplers were all at one time gi- wearing champions. The gi makes your escapes more precise and your control more defined. At the same time, it is a mistake however to be completely dependant on the gi. You must be ready to grapple without it to get used to the different holds and grip adjustments.

    The conclusion? To be a well-rounded grappler, you must train with and without the gi. Only then will you be ready for any situation, whether it’s on the mat or on the street.

    - Cesar Gracie
     
  2. bnosam

    bnosam Green Belt

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    An amazing read. Sadly, the title is just going to bring in idiots that say gi is useless.
     
  3. Cash Bill 52

    Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    Well, if nothing else, they can wrap their gi around a bar and do some great pull up exercises...
     
  4. Jagcorps_esq

    Jagcorps_esq Red Belt

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    I totally agree. The reason I know it is true is that I hate nogi passionately. I hate the nakedness of not having well defined grips and only training can make it so that I don't feel that same panic in a situation where I don't have a nice parka to hold onto.
     
  5. Cash Bill 52

    Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    Yes, I prefer my gi grips as well. IMHO people "panic" in unfamiliar territory. That's why there is no substitute for being on the mat and training like you implied. The more I train, the more relaxed I am. I have been attending the fighter training sessions lately. These guys are mostly no gi guys with great takedowns and nasty foot locks. I will admit to some panic when I am out there.


    Also, don't be a "Nakedness" hater. :icon_twis (sarcasm)
     
  6. BJJ Beginner

    BJJ Beginner Green Belt

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  7. Cash Bill 52

    Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    Thank you for the thoughtful reply. At our school(s) we have people who share a similar opinion. Jake Shields never wears a gi. Caio Terra (no gi world champ) believes strongly in the gi. I like the fact that we have an environment where different ideas are respected.
     
  8. Jagcorps_esq

    Jagcorps_esq Red Belt

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    I know. I see it's value. It really just seems very different to me. I see the similarities, but to me nogi is to BJJ just as judo is to BJJ or sambo or wrestling.

    Similar, but it's own thing and I just don't like that thing. I'll learn it, but I'll never really like it.
     
  9. Cash Bill 52

    Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    It's like eating your vegetables. You may not like it, but you know it's good for you.

    So, you think it is a separate art altogether? hmm...

    You are a young man. You still have time to change your opinions. Maybe, you could learn to like it???:D
     
  10. Jagcorps_esq

    Jagcorps_esq Red Belt

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    I'm not that young...so let's not get all crazy! In fact, some people on this forum would call me old.

    And I don't know....it's not entirely it's own art, but the flow of it feels different....honestly it feels sloppy and too fast.

    It's like comparing speed chess to chess for me.
     
  11. Cash Bill 52

    Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    Chess/Speed chess is a good analogy. It's not a separate game, but tactics and strategy need to be modified.

    40 is the new 25. So, that means, people in their 30's are still teenagers!
     
  12. Jagcorps_esq

    Jagcorps_esq Red Belt

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    Thanks. I've been pondering it a lot, mostly trying to figure out why I dislike it so much. I never liked speed chess because I felt rushed and never really go the style down. Same moves, different tactics....very applicable.


    Yippee!!! I'm a kid again......[cart wheels]...OH!!! MY BACK!!!
     
  13. platfox

    platfox Silver Belt

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    1. Thanks for the article Cash Bill. Is Cesar's english and grammar that good, or was it edited by someone. Just curious.

    2. On the subject of preferences, I know you need to practice no gi at some point if you want to do no gi events. You won't be magically good at no gi just because you're great at gi. With that said, my preference is still in gi. Only do no gi every once in a while out of necessity (the young guys at the gym always wanna take off the gi during open mat). Its hard to talk them into going gi all the time so I try to be accommodating.

    3. BJJ Beginner's screen name coupled with his join date = awesome.
     
  14. Cash Bill 52

    Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    Cesar grew up in Northern California. I believe he wrote it himself.

    Back in the day, everyone just wore what they wanted. So, I had board shorts and a rash guard under my gi. I would switch out all the time.
     
  15. Gerbiljiujitsu

    Gerbiljiujitsu Purple Belt

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    Thanks for posting this. It's always nice to hear some of the great practitioners views on grappling.
     
  16. lechien

    lechien Gold Belt

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    I love Nogi as it takes me away from my confort zone: too much reliance on sleeve grips. :p
     
  17. newerest

    newerest Purple Belt

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    I mean, I really hate to be the dick that says this, but what if I take off my shirt in a fight? how could training in a gi possibly help me defend then, against the clothing grabbing.

    I don't understand how the gi makes people better no-gi. I guess it helps you get the reps in and makes your hips fucking mobile as hell (the grips in the gi will definitely allow you a better chance to work shit like spider guard and open guard game) but outside of that I just don't see how it's applicable to no-gi. it seems like when your whole system of submissions is based around setting up mistakes with colar chokes, or having a sleeve to hang onto, that when you do no-gi those tendancies will not be there to use.

    the gi obviously isn't useless. when I get older and lose strength and athletic ability, honestly I'll probably start really training in a gi. the only really advantage I see of the gi is that it makes it more technical - not to say no-gi isn't technical, it just lends itself to more explosive movements like yanking arms out of arm bars.

    I'll pose this hypothetical situation, say Grappler A has done no gi the whole time he's been training and Grappler B has done gi the whole time he's been training. they're both equal skill for their sports.

    in a no gi situation grappler A is able to pull his arm out of grappler B's arm bar attempt, sensing it coming

    in a gi sitatuon grappler A is NOT able to pull his arm out, and has to tap

    does this make grappler b a better grappler? or does it just mean that the gi allows less mistakes? I think the latter.
     
  18. Cash Bill 52

    Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    I don't think you're being a dick. In your first scenario (taking off your shirt), Training in both helps you if you don't have time to rip your shirt off before your fight.:wink:

    I think your argument would convince anyone to train in both gi and no gi like Cesar believes.

    In your a/b analogy; I would like to add grappler "C". A grappler who trains in both is the better overall grappler!
     
  19. platfox

    platfox Silver Belt

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    Only? Making you more technical isn't enough?
     
  20. Cash Bill 52

    Cash Bill 52 Brown Belt

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    I was waiting for someone else to pick out that nugget.

    I believe it is easier to go from gi to no gi than the reverse.

    Also, I think Newerest is calling Jag old...

    New, newer, newerest, I finally figured it out!
     

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