Which is Best, Gi or Nogi BJJ?

While Jiu Jitsu has exploded in popularity over the last decade, the sport has split in its approach to training between the traditional gi, and newer no-gi style. With two obviously different looks, some BJJ students are left to wonder where they should place their focus, as everyone seemingly has a different opinion on one being better than the other.

While the purpose for training becomes the pivotal question for each individual, today I wanted to take some time to look at the pros and cons that exist in three areas of training Jiu Jitsu - both with and without the gi.

Now, at the outset it should at least be mentioned that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is traditionally practiced with the gi because Jiu Jitsu is a Japanese art, and the kimono originally worn in training was essentially the same outfit people wore daily in public. It simply made sense to train in the academy wearing the same clothes that someone might find himself wearing during a street altercation. Obviously, times and fashions have changed and very few people walk around today wearing kimonos. But that’s not to say that many people do still wear clothes that can be easily gripped and used against them in combat.

So to break this down, lets look at three components of training Jiu Jitsu: Gripping, Defense, and Positional Control.


Training Jiu-Jitsu and Injuries

For better or worse, we live in a time of quick sound bites, terse tweets, and waning attention spans. What could be discussed in past generations with a lengthy discourse must now be compacted into an easily digestible quote, catch phrase, or bumper sticker.

With that in mind, the manner in which one handles a training injury may be summarized with this line from Epictetus:

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.


Tips for Starting Out in Jiu-Jitsu


Every newbie gets told to “relax” about a hundred times, it’ll take time but it’s important for productive training. What they roughly mean is:

a)   Pace yourself. Don’t try to go all out for 30 seconds then be unable to carry on rolling without passing out or throwing up. Learn that gassing sucks and that a purple complexion suit nobody

b)   Don’t be so tense. It’ll slow you down and make you tire quicker. Not every muscle in your body has to be working at full contraction the whole time!

c)   Don’t freak out in bad positions or when you’re caught in a sub, it’s just training. By staying calm and reacting instead of panicking you’ll learn more

d)    Expend your energy as efficiently as possible.

e)    Don’t try to do moves a hundred times faster than needed (or that your skill level allows). Mechanics and leverage are important too

f)    Don’t try to bully moves. Use what is there, not just what you want. Also, learning when to let go of a move is as important as when to go for one

g)   Head squeezers suck. You’re there to learn, not to try and headlock someone to death.


Four Movements for Stronger Grappling

Once you start training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, or any time type of grappling, you start looking for ways to improve. You want to get better, faster. This can lead to alkaline rich diets, endless hours of YouTube technique videos, and, even, sporting the newest version of compression tights. In the midst of these many options for grappling improvement, you start wondering about sport specific workouts.

           The search for functional training can lead any number of places. As a means to steer you away from the musclehead mirror gazing narcissist mindlessly curling dumbbells while handing out “bro science” advice like a pumped up proselytizer, these four exercises provide an approachable starting point for increased grappling strength and conditioning.


Nutrition For Combat Sports

So what does a good diet look like?

Simply put, a good diet is going to provide all of the energy (calories) necessary to optimally both perform and recover, while also including all of the vitamins, minerals and water necessary to keep the body healthy and functioning well.

Of all food we can put in our bodies, there are three types that provide energy – fats, proteins and carbohydrates. These are called “macronutrients.” Fats provide the most energy per gram (9kcal/g), while proteins and carbs contain 4kcal/gram (To make it simpler, just think “9 energies” per gram or “4 energies per gram”). While each macronutrient provides energy to the body, they do so in unique ways. Fats, for example, are generally broken down and turned into energy during lower intensity movement, while carbohydrates are converted to glycogen, stored in the muscles, and utilized during higher intensity training. Protein is crucial for muscle growth and recovery.


A Game Worthy of Playing

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why can bear almost any how,” meaning that a clear recognition of one’s purpose is the most important factor in navigating the challenges of life. I believe the same can be said for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is a game more challenging than almost any other – one that has the ability to uncover previously hidden fears and anxieties