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  • Master Angel Gonzalez

Here Is What You Need To Know About Gi or No-Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The American karate Institute has implemented a Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class and there will be several questions from students and parents in regards to the difference between Gi and No-Gi.

Here is what you need to know about the major differences of Gi- and No-Gi.


In No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, you cannot grab any part of your opponent’s uniform.

In traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with the gi, you are able to grab your partner’s belt, lapel, pants, and gi jacket. Basically, anything your opponent is wearing is fair game to grab and tug them around with. Grabbing your partner’s uniform allows you different variations of chokes and controls.


Because no-gi practitioners aren’t allowed to grab their opponent’s uniform, chokes and control positions rely heavily on clinching and overhooking. Where you would grab your opponent’s gi lapel to break their posture, you can instead look to clinch your opponent’s neck and use an overhook on one of their arms. Where you would grab your opponent’s sleeves or gi pants to control them, you can look to grip their ankles or wrists for control. Finally, where you would use your opponent’s lapel to establish a choke, you can look to utilize your arms to realize chokes.


By the very nature of No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, the concept of the gi is non-existent. As such, opponents will have nothing to grab onto- no sleeves, no pants, no label, no color, no belt. This will mean guards like the spider guard, lasso guard, or worm guard will not exist in No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu. Practitioners of No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu will need to learn to rely on other guards, like closed guard, open guard, butterfly guard, half guard and deep half guard. If you are already proficient with these guards in gi Jiu-Jitsu, transitioning to No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu will mean, simply, no grabbing your opponent’s uniform.


The gi slows down the pace of a match. When your opponent is holding a dominant position on you when training in the gi, they can wind down the clock and secure a victory via points. Alternatively, when you are in an unfavorable position in the gi, and your opponent attempts to advance position, you might grab their uniform in order to slow down their attack or advancement. In No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, you do not have the luxury of slowing down your opponent by grabbing their gi, nor does your opponent have the luxury of clinching your uniform to pin you in place. Hence, stalling is going to be difficult, and holding an advancing opponent by their uniform to slow them down will be illegal. Expect quick escapes as you both begin to sweat, and expect increased reaction times, both offensively and defensively.

Contact American Karate Institute for a Free Trial Class

At the American Karate Institute, we teach a way of life. Our Miami martial arts school and MMA Classes has developed a well thought out curriculum that teaches more than just the art of self-defense. We delve deep into our students’ technique, skill set, intelligence, intuition and overall physical fitness. Contact us today if you’re interested in mixed martial arts and self-defense classes and schedule your free-trial class!

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