Skip to Content

Is Gi or No Gi Better for Self-Defense (What’s More Realistic?)

Gi or No Gi for Self-Defense – Which One Should You Train for Self Defense

Is gi or no gi better for self-defense? Which form of bjj training should you train for self defense? Is gi training good for self defense?

First, Brazilian jiu jitsu is, of course, a highly effective martial art that is great for self defense.

Depending on your personal preferences, either method would make sense. But ultimately the choice is yours.

Training bjj in the gi can definitely be used in real-life, self defense scenariors.

However, some people feel more confident in the effectiveness of bjj in a self defense situation without reliance on common gi gripping techniques used frequently when training in the gi (that may or may not be present in a street altercation).

Training no gi Brazilian jiu jitsu allows for a more fluid movement and doesn’t rely on the gripping of a coat or jacket (as found in gi training). Thus, no gi training may provide improved overall confidence during a self-defense encounter.

Self-Defense BJJ Vs Sports BJJ

Let’s take a look at self-defense bjj vs sport bjj.

Self Defense bjj:

  • is structured around techniques that can be used safely and effectively to control and neutralize an opponent in a real-life, self defense scenario
  • This type of jiu jitsu training utilizes techniques against an opponent while keeping in mind that they may be trying to strike you or utilize a weapon

Sport bjj:

  • focuses on bjj used in a compeition setting with a larger focus on
    • scoring points,
    • being effective from the bottom position
    • utilizing techniques that may be risky in a self defense scenario.

Defensive strategies used in sport BJJ may not always be as effective against a determined attacker. Besides, there is also a risk of injury due to heavier techniques and the increased weight class.

On the other hand, self-defense BJJ uses quick and effective strikes that can disable or take down an opponent quickly. So, it can effectively defeat an assailant.

If you train sport bjj only, you should be acutely aware of what techniques would be effective in a real life scenario outside the training room.

Examples of some bjj techniuqes that are not effective for self defense would be:

  • pulling guard
  • deep half guard
  • defensive turtle position
  • defensive front headlock position

Mostly, any position that forces you to be on the bottom is not ideal for any self defense of MMA scenario where strikes are involved

Gi Vs No Gi BJJ

There is no clear answer as to which of the two styles is better. It all depends on the skill levels of the combatants and which techniques each style of grappling uses.

Gi training is

  • usually more deliberate
  • slower paced, easier to control your oppoent
  • more challenging to escape from bottom positions

No Gi Training is:

  • faster paced
  • easier to escpae bottom positions
  • can be easier to achive takedowns
  • relies more on underhooks/overhooks and front headlock position for control

For both type of training you should still learn the essential skills of jiu jitsu such as

  • takedowns
  • guard retention
  • sweeps
  • pins
  • submissions

Benefits of GI BJJ Training

One thing is for sure. There are advantages to Gi training.

  • Escapes: The Gi is gives your opponent better control in pinning positions. So you will need to get better at escapes to deal with them properly in gi training
  • The versatility of Gi training gives you the option of selecting collar, sleeve, or pant grip control. (Your No Gi game will improve exponentially if you modify your Gi training to focus primarily on over and under hooks.)
  • Technique: The gi, slows everything down and gives you a better feel for the technique. The gi is likely more technique based and helps you practice deliberate control before going for a submission

Benefits of No Gi BJJ Training

As we know, No Gi training doesn’t require you to wear the traditional kimono uniform.

However, there are many benefits also to training in no gi Jiu-Jitsu. Here are just a few:

  • You will be able to apply your techniques more effectively (regardless of clothing of your opponent)
  • You will learn how to control your opponent using underhooks/overhooks/head control
  • You will learn more wrestling focused takedowns that don’t rely on gi grips

What’s More Realistic Gi or No Gi?

What’s more realistic gi or no gi Brazilian jiu jitsu?

There is much debate about which of the two is more realistic. It’s true that both systems have advantages and disadvantages. But think about which the majority of people prefer.

In Gi BJJ, we immediately envision people in Gis. Perhaps, rolling around the floor looking to score points in specific positions.

But the fact is, outside of a BJJ training or competition, no one is going to be wearing a Gi.

For example, in a real-life street fight scenario, you’re just walking down the street at night when you notice someone approaching you from behind.

What are they dressed in? It’s most likely just a shirt, a tank top, a jacket, a coat, or something else. Not a Gi.

Therefore, you’re almost certainly be happy that you have some no gi training.

However, it’s important to know that in a street fight or self defense altercation, you can always grip the fabric of your attacker’s clothes which can imitate a gi.

Also, people usually wear coats, jackets, or something heavy especially in the winter or cold weather which can replicate the gi.

This just shows how important it is to train in either of the two BJJ styles.

Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Effective in a Street Fight?

Yes, as long as you only have one opponent and are more skilled than your opponent. BJJ has proven to be extremely effective in a wide range of situations.

Remember, BJJ is an effective ground-fighting system. One study showed that BJJ practitioners were able to submit their opponents at a rate three times greater than those who did not train in martial art.

They have a great deal of experience grappling on the ground. As a result, it gives them an advantage when it comes to controlling their opponent.

However, if you’re up against someone who is physically stronger and faster than you, it might not be enough to win a street fight.

You’ll need to work on both your striking and grappling skills if you want to be confident in a self defense situation.

Can BJJ Be Used Against an Armed Opponent?

The answer is yes. But it is highly recommended to avoid any altercation with an armed opponent at any cost. That’s because no martial art is equipped to effectively deal with someone who has a knife, gun, or other weapons.

In situations involving weapons, some BJJ techniques are also beneficial. However, this does not imply that you should begin arm training yourself. Guns and knives are obviously dangerous, so proper knowledge and guidance are required.

Should I Start Gi or No Gi BJJ?

When it comes to gi or no gi BJJ, there is no right or wrong answer. Each style has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Yes, it is more realistic for you to find a BJJ style that matches your personal fighting style and unique tendencies.

In the clinch, a Gi provides much more stability. Thus, it’s easier to control your opponent and launch powerful strikes.

No gi, on the other hand, allows you to move around more freely and avoid your opponent’s attacks. It also gives you the ability to easily take down your opponent using takedowns and joint locks. So it’s best to start training in both Gi and No Gi.

Should I Train Both Gi and No Gi BJJ?

As stated earlier, there is no definitive answer to this question. That’s because both are heavily dependent on your objectives and preferences. For short, it’s a matter of personal preference.

If your primary goal is to compete in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), then, you should train in both gi and no gi BJJ. If you are more interested in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) as a martial art, you may want to limit your training to the gi. It’s still best to train for both.

Does BJJ Only Work in a Gi?

The answer is no. While it may seem like gi jiu-jitsu would be more effective in a gi environment, this is not always the case.

Many people believe that gi jiu-jitsu submissions are more difficult to defend against when wearing a gi. This is due to their inability to use their limbs as effectively.

Furthermore, the Gi restricts movement. Thus, leaving less room for attacking and defending.

On the other hand, no gi jiu-jitsu typically utilizes different techniques than those used in competition while wearing a gi. As a result, it’s easier for them to escape submission attempts and counterattacks.

Is There a Belt System in No Gi?

The short answer is yes. No gi BJJ schools directed by a black belt do have their own belt system. Each of these schools has its own set of criteria for students to advance through the ranks.

Additionally, the criteria for obtaining a black belt in no gi are very similar to those found in traditional schools, and may include:

  • Progression of abilities
  • Training takes time.
  • Competing actively

But, belts are not worn during no gi training.

Is No Gi Safer Than Gi?

Some people may argue that a traditional gi provides greater safety due to its thicker fabric. Others may also claim that synthetic gis are more forgiving in the event of a fall or collision.

But the truth is, both gi and no gi are equally safe. Moreover, it really depends on the type of training you’re doing and the type of competition you’re interested in.

Ultimately, the best way to ensure safety when training in a gi and no gi is to use common sense and be aware of your surroundings.

Is No Gi BJJ Better for MMA?

No doubt majority would find no gi BJJ is better for MMA. Consider the following reasons:

  • They’re less likely to cause injury. Gi garments can be very tight and restrictive. Thus,  it restricts your ability to move your arms and legs freely. So, if you’re not used to wearing them, this can result in injuries.
  • Gi gear is often too heavy for fast-paced MMA competition. So, wearing a gi makes it harder to move quickly
  • Gi gear can make you look weak. The opponent could takedown you easily.

Is Gi BJJ Harder Than No Gi?

The direct answer is no. Neither of them was harder than the other nor easier than the other. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between gi and no gi training.

It all comes down to what you consider to be more realistic and practical for your objectives. Gi training may be the better option for you if you want a more traditional martial arts experience.

So, whatever style you choose, make sure to train with proper technique and safety in mind.

    As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs. You can read our complete legal information for more details.