Gi vs No Gi – The eternal debate


The popularity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) continues to soar year upon year. With that comes many questions from new students related to Gi vs No Gi BJJ.

For those that aren’t aware of what a Gi is, it is the attire worn by: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Gi BJJ), Judo, Karate and Taekwondo practitioners.

If you’re struggling to decide whether Gi or No Gi BJJ would be a good fit for you, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article we cover some of the main points to take into consideration when making the decision regarding which form of BJJ to pursue.

If you find that you have any questions that haven’t been answered by the time you reach the end, feel free to get in contact with us. We’d be more than happy to help answer your queries.

Wishing you the best on your BJJ journey!


  • 1 Which one is better

    The general consensus

    Beginners are often recommened to do Gi BJJ exclusively until they have reached a certain level of proficiency in the discipline. The reason behind this is twofold.

    You are more likely to learn more in Gi BJJ due to athleticism being less of a tool that you can use to escape tricky situations. The pace of Gi BJJ is also generally better suited for learning technique.

  • 2 Which one is more practical for the street

    Well, it depends.

    This question is more complicated to answer than it first seems. Obviously, we don’t live in a world where people walk around in Gis, however nor do we live in a world where everyone is in spats. Both are practical for their own reasons, take for example Gi BJJ, we don’t walk around in Gis but clothing such as coats, jackets and shirts can serve as a close enough alternative. There is a joke in BJJ that once you begin training you start to see lapels everywhere!

  • 3 What should I look for in my bjj gym

    It should feel right.

    Fundamentally, you’re looking for a place that makes you feel good. A place you want to come back to lesson after lesson for years to come. Learning a martial art can be challenging, BJJ is no exception to this rule. Therefore, being part of a gym where the community is friendly and the instructors are both knowledgeable and patient in equal measures really goes a long way.

    A wide variety of benefits

    Many students start with a single purpose in mind i.e to get into shape. They soon learn that BJJ brings a multitude of positives into their lives. This is largely attributed to being part of a healthy, quality gym.

  • 4 Are their competitions for both gi and no gi

    Testing yourself

    In short, yes there is. Although, the amount of Gi competitions far outnumbers those that are No Gi. If competition is your thing, you’ll be glad to know that both Gi and No Gi events are available to students of all levels in BJJ, ranging from white to black belt.

    Depending on the type of event, these are either run side by side or in completely different competitions. There will be many BJJ practitioners that only compete exclusively in either Gi or No Gi, therefore if you’re looking to test yourself against the full spectrum of competition in your category, competing in both is necessary.

  • 5 Which one is more suitable for MMA

    The closer to the real deal, the better.

    From a practical point of view, No Gi is better suited for MMA. This is simply due to the fact that Gis aren’t allowed to be worn in MMA competitions. As you can imagine, it is better to train as close to the parameters of the fight as possible to get yourself ready for competition. This being said, many of the best professional MMA fighters still train both Gi and No Gi in fight camps.

    Suggested approach

    Many people are starting in MMA and want to feel confident on the ground. We suggest entering into BJJ through the traditional route i.e. Gi BJJ and sprinkling some No Gi sessions on top.

  • 6 Is No Gi harder

    Yes and No

    Although they fall under the same family tree of BJJ, they are quite clearly different to the trained eye. When analysing Gi vs No Gi, neither is necessarily harder or easier than the other. There are aspects of No Gi that make it easier than Gi i.e. being able to slip out of submissions attempts easier yet this is a double-edged sword as this means your submissions attempts are also going to be easier to escape. Gi does give a practitioner more to work with in terms of ‘grab-ables’ such as lapels, sleeves, etc. yet this again can go both ways.

    Related but not the same

    In short, it’s best to take the perspective of No Gi and Gi as cousins. Similar in many ways, yet different at the same time. On the whole, neither one is harder or easier than the other.

  • 7 What should I start with

    Do as the greats have done

    The traditional way to begin learning BJJ is with a Gi. We suggest that our students start with this form of the discipline. However, if for any reason you are limited to only training No Gi, either due to the gym you attend only offering No Gi classes (rare, but you never know!) or for any other reason, we always advocate BJJ in either form if the instruction is quality over doing nothing.

    Better selection of partners

    gi vs no gi

    You are also likely to find more students at your level at Gi classes. This is due to the fact that the majority of students don’t begin taking No Gi classes until they feel proficient within the discipline.

  • 8 Which one will I improve my BJJ overall quicker

    The Gi is your friend

    Overall, you’ll find that Gi BJJ improves your competence in the art form the quickest. Although, you are likely to develop certain areas of your game at an accelerated rate in No Gi i.e. leg locks.

    Mindset and work ethic is key

    Relying on the type of BJJ that you are doing to improve faster is not the most helpful perspective. It is your proactive approach to becoming the best BJJ practitioner that you can become that will serve you best on your journey. Remember, there is never a silly question. The sooner you know, the sooner you grow.

  • 9 Is No Gi simply BJJ without a Gi

    It’s a bit more tricky than that

    Ofcourse, from a birds eye view it may seem as simple as a difference in attire but the ripple effect this causes changes the game profoundly. It is often suggested that a beginner starts with Gi lessons and sticks with this exclusively for an extended period of time before attempting No Gi. The reasoning behind this is due to demand that Gi BJJ puts on your need to use technique. While many techniques are possible in No Gi as they are in Gi, No Gi is far more forgiving and if trained exclusively may stunt your development in BJJ as a whole.

    Gi vs No Gi why is the latter more forgiving?

    Perspiration. You’ll sweat in both forms of BJJ, there is no avoiding that. Due to the attire you wear for Gi compared to No Gi, you’ll find it much harder to finish submissions due to ‘slippage’ being a much more viable option in No Gi compared to Gi BJJ.

  • 10 Make TFC your home for BJJ

    bjj near me

    If you’re in the Brisbane area, we’d love to have you come join us on the mats. Rated as one of the best martial arts academies in the area, we pride ourselves in providing the best possible martial arts experience for you.

    Want to know more about what it’s like to train BJJ at TFC? Click here.