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Having spent seven months training Jiu-Jitsu, I started attending the No-Gi classes that my Coach is offering. It is another eye opening experience and without question, in a very literal sense for Jiu-Jitsu, it is a game changer.
From my limited experience attending No-Gi (about six classes so far), a lot of techniques are transferrable from No-Gi to Gi, or vice-versa, with just a slight change in the grip you take or your body position. For example, the grips are entirely different. You cannot grip the rash guard, spats or fight shorts material like you would the Gi pants, belt or jacket. You focus more on under and over hooks, wrist ties, bicep ties, etc. This can transfer easily into Gi training because now you have the ability to utilize your grips on the Gi as well as implement better hooks and ties having learned to execute them without the Gi. Small tweaks or changes are required for certain submissions, too. For example, the single lapel choke from the back is basically the Gi version of the rear naked choke. Passing guard is similar, but from my limited experience, knowing how to pass guard in No-Gi is a definite game changer for passing guard in the Gi because of the lack of material to grip.
Although I have begun to create a solid foundation (begun, not finished) in Jiu-Jitsu, attending the No-Gi class feels very similar to my first classes in the Gi. It’s learning by immersion and I am out of my element, less than when I started Jiu-Jitsu as a whole, but still. It feels higher paced even at this new stage in my journey, than when I roll in the Gi. There is also less friction due to the material of the spats and rash guard, so this adds a different element in the way you approach your training partner during rolls and how you execute techniques. This can make things seem a little easier, or more difficult. For example, even though I’ve only had a few opportunities to try it, I’ve found it a bit easier to knee slice while passing guard to side control in No-Gi simply because of the lack of friction from the spats.
Only a handful of my team mates are attending No-Gi right now, but it is cool to train and roll with them in this element. We are all working to improve. It’s fun to see how each of us are deploying what we are learning and adapting it to our game. It’s very interesting to see our higher belts, including our Coaches deploy their No-Gi game; noticing the techniques they use in the Gi being deployed in No-Gi and vice-versa.
As far as competing in 2018 is concerned, I have work to do so I’m ready to roll in the Gi division again but I’m not sure if I’ll compete in No-Gi. If I did compete in No-Gi as well, it would offer another element to my education in Jiu-Jitsu that I didn’t have before. At the very least, there would be more rounds to roll. That being said, regardless of what I do in 2018, I am looking forward to seeing how adapting and implementing No-Gi into my game will affect my performance competing as well as a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner overall.
2018 should be a wild ride in for my development in BJJ, and I’m looking forward to it.