By Coach Kevin Aldridge
I’ve been practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for eleven years and one area I still struggle improving is my No-Gi game. For those new practitioners, No-Gi is Jiu-Jitsu without the Gi top. Practitioners at Gracie Barra train No-Gi in a ranked GB Rash Guard, and Black GB Shorts, while others prefer a ranked GB Rash Guard and Gi Pants. To participate in a No-Gi class a student must hold a minimum rank of white belt three stripes. The reason behind this requirement is so a student can have a good base foundation in Jiu-Jitsu Fundamentals (GB1), before moving to an Intermediate Jiu Jitsu / No-Gi (GB2) class.
In No-Gi, you don’t have the Gi jacket, collar, sleeves, shorts, or pants to grab hold of. A practitioner with a solid foundation in Jiu-Jitsu Fundamentals (GB1) will notice similar grip placement but using more monkey palm grips and grabs in attacks versus having material to grab hold of. Things get very slippery in No-Gi as you’re sweating a lot more and this makes your opponent tougher to control and submit. No-Gi made me respect grapplers that compete in MMA a lot more for this reason. No-Gi can also be very practical in a self-defense situation as your attacker may be wearing a t-shirt and shorts, thus giving you the upper hand in controlling your attacker.
Some three stripe white belts and higher may feel intimidated by No-Gi. My advice for them is to step out of your comfort zone and try a few classes. You will feel like you just started Jiu-Jitsu again. Personally, No-Gi is my least favorite part of Jiu-Jitsu. Professor Philipe Della Monica once told me to be a well-rounded practitioner I would need to embrace No-Gi consistently at some point in my training. Ever since that coaching session three years ago I’ve made a commitment in training No-Gi on a weekly basis. Here at Gracie Barra Scottsdale, Professor Diogo does an excellent job teaching No-Gi, especially if you are new to the No-Gi class.
“There is no losing in Jiu-Jitsu. You either win or you learn.”
– Carlos Gracie, Jr.