Top 15 Benefits Of No-GI Jiu-Jitsu (Is It Worth It?)

Gi and No Gi are the two forms of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Gi Jiu-Jitsu is done with traditional Gi (Kimono/ Uniform), which allows you to grab onto the opponents’ clothes and perform moves with them. No Gi Jiu-Jitsu is done without traditional clothing. Instead, you wear a rash guard and shorts, so you do not have an option to grab your opponents’ clothes and making it a bit more complicated.

Many grapplers practice only one style, and by doing so, they limit themselves to the benefits of only one style. To become a complete grappler, you should practice both types even though you may choose to compete only in one.

Physical Conditioning 

Because the athletes are sweaty and without their Gi, the fight becomes more moving and slippery. This requires excellent movement from the athlete and puts more strain on his cardiovascular system. This makes it an aerobic activity that requires much from the athlete while also increasing physical capacity.

Thus, making the athlete more powerful and more resistant to long fighting periods and reducing physical stress. Because this style is so hard on your cardiovascular system, you will learn how to use your strength and endurance, so you don’t run out of it after the first round.

People who give it their all in the first round usually have a higher chance of getting submitted. That is because they have used all their endurance. And when you see them gasping for air in the later rounds, you should want to put more pressure. By then, they have used up their tank and will likely have a worse defense. 

That’s why we try to wear out our opponents and make them use more strength in the first couple of rounds. That way, we can use less force later and have a higher chance of winning. Even if you are physically superior to your opponent, you should play it smart and let them use their strength and endurance. That is because they will not be able to defend themselves later and thus ensure victory.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a great sport where you can learn self-defense. You can apply it in real-life situations, which can help you save your life or someone else’s. But as you already know, BJJ has two styles; No Gi and Gi. No Gi Jiu-Jitsu is better when it comes to self-defense that you can use in real life.

That is because you will learn how to fight without using traditional Jiu-Jitsu clothing, which you won’t see on the attacker in real life. No Gi Jiu-Jitsu is more realistic when it comes to self-defense. That is because you will only practice with a rash guard and shorts.

It will teach you to overpower your opponent even if he is not wearing any clothes you could grip onto and perform special moves. Because No GI involves fast pace movements, you will also learn how to disable your opponent very quickly, thus minimizing their chances of getting hurt.

There are a lot of cases where random people got attacked on the street. The only thing that saved them was that they were BJJ practitioners and could use those moves they learned in the gym.

Better For MMA

As you already know, MMA fighters only use shorts when going to competitions. It could be hard for the athlete to use their BJJ knowledge in that situation if they were only practicing Gi Jiu-Jitsu. Training in Gi will make you develop better defense than training No GI. But you will not be able to use a lot of grips that training in Gi allows you. 

The absence of a Gi improves your offense and control. It can be difficult to control an explosive and sweaty opponent without anything to hold onto. Without a Gi, you must learn the art of body positioning and weight distribution. It teaches you how to position your hips, so your opponent’s arm does not slip out of the arm bar and how to control the bottom person’s hips so you can pass his guard.

As the fight or competition approaches, start shifting your training one way or the other. The best training method is a mix of Gi and no Gi. It will depend on whether it is a Gi or No Gi competition, but never wholly cut for an extended period.

Needless to say, if you do want to become a well-rounded fighter who has a great defense as well as a great offense, you should practice both styles.

Improves The Grip

The constant grabbing and pulling of the Gi’s will improve your grip strength and endurance. It will add to the power and strength of your no Gi grips. Even though the grips in No Gi are different, and you’re grabbing the wrist instead of the sleeve, it improves your grip strength. 

No Gi athletes often rely on their wrestling skills and strength to pin their opponent to the ground. That way, they limit their movement so they can go for a submission. Because you and your opponent are not wearing certain clothes that you can grip onto and submit them with, you will need more strength to get out of your opponent’s hold and get them off you.

As we said before, it will be much harder to control your opponent because you do not wear anything except the rash guard and shorts. It will be more difficult because they will be slippery because of sweat. That’s why you need to focus on gaining strength, so they don’t escape the position you are holding them in. 

When starting your strength gain program, you must remember that you do not want to have big muscles but also functioning ones. You will not only gain strength in your BJJ classes but, instead, will also focus on building your strength with weights. In our next article, you can read more about why strength training is necessary for BJJ.

You will do that with the appropriate training program that your coach provided. That means you will not just go to the gym and lift weights. Instead, you will make or ask your coach to make a specialized weightlifting program. It should involve explosive movements so you can build new muscles while simultaneously keeping or even improving your ability to move your body.

Fewer Gear Requirements

When we look at the differences between training No Gi Jiu-Jitsu and Gi Jiu-Jitsu, the most notable difference will be the clothing. When practicing Gi Jiu-Jitsu, you must have a Gi jacket with collar and lapel, Gi pants, and your rank-colored belt.

You must have a rash guard and boardshorts when practicing No Gi Jiu-Jitsu. A mouth guard is another piece of equipment you want to buy regardless of practicing Gi or No Gi Jiu-Jitsu. That is because you will want to protect your teeth.

By having less gear, you will spend less money on it. That is if you are looking to buy budget-friendly equipment. An average Gi can cost from 100-150$, and it can be over that if you want to buy high-quality clothes. But, rush guard and boardshorts can cost less than 100$, saving you some money.

You can use that money on your diet or even something else that is not related to your practice. It can be even on that mouth guard that can cost less than going to the dentist after your teeth have been broken.

Speed and Critical Thinking 

We already mentioned that practicing No Gi Jiu-Jitsu requires you to be fast, whether fast thinking or moving your body. That is because you can set up a position before your opponent. When training in a Gi, you have a bit more time to think about what your next move will be.

That is because you can hold your opponent much more effortlessly. After all, you can grip their clothes. But you do not have much time to think when practicing No Gi. As time passes and you become a better No Gi BJJ athlete, you will notice your critical thinking has improved.

Your athleticism will also improve. It is because you will not have much time to react to your opponent’s mistakes. Instead, you will have to constantly find small openings in your opponent’s defense. Openings that you will use to your advantage.

The speed you developed will help you with that, as your opponent will not have much time to react and may be in a wrong position where you can quickly get to that submission.

Now, this applies not only to your training but also in real life. Because you will be challenged a lot of times when practicing, your brain will get used to thinking faster. So, it will develop better solutions to help you in other aspects of life.

No Gi BJJ Will Make You Better With A Gi

Understanding your effect on another’s anatomy significantly benefits No Gi. When a particular Gi grip fails in Gi training, you may believe you’ve reached the limit of your Jiu-Jitsu knowledge. But keep in mind that the Gi is not the entirety of Jiu-Jitsu. If your Gi grips aren’t working, fall back on the natural grips your opponent’s body offers.

As a result, your No Gi training does not have to replace your Gi knowledge. Rather it supplements it and fills any gaps. Similarly, if a large part of your No Gi standup is wrestling-based, or is not reliant on Gi grips, try to incorporate that into your Gi training. It helps you become faster and a better wrestler. That way, you don’t have to pull guard or try to pass your opponent’s guard in every fight.

As time passes, you will find ways to be more creative and learn more about the human body and its weaknesses. You will also know how to use them against your opponent with nothing other than his body. That is useful for your professional BJJ growth and in some life-threatening situations.

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

When starting No Gi BJJ, especially if you did Gi BJJ before that, you may feel discouraged and think you cannot do much without the grips that the Gi offers. That is why a lot of students prefer training with a Gi. If you are only used to Gi, you will take time to adapt to the faster pace and have fewer grips.

That can be as challenging as any other change you make in your life regarding anything. That doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing. But as we already know, No Gi will only help your Gi game and vice versa.  

You will enlarge your arsenal with No Gi techniques and ways of gripping the opponent. Doing No Gi will teach you how to conquer your opponent even if the grips fail you. And that could be something that will get you that win, especially if your opponent doesn’t practice No Gi and does not know how to handle that situation.

And while that can be hard to master, you will be thankful at the end of the day. That is because you will learn something new, and having more knowledge is never wrong. 

Better Control

Trying to hold somebody down in BJJ is a lot of work. Many students get discouraged because they are used to having reasonable grip control when training with Gi. They can spazz and shrimp to get away from you or get a better position on you.

Let’s remove the Gi’s; it is much harder than if you wore Gi. Because you will now have to face your slippery opponent and the mat that is also slippery from you and your opponents’ sweat. That is a lot of work.

When doing No Gi BJJ, you must be “glued to your opponent.” If not, they will escape your submission attempt quickly. Especially if they are sweaty and you do not have enough strength, as we mentioned already. That is a vital component of No Gi BJJ and will help you with your practices.

Because if you do not let go of your opponent’s body, limbs, or even wrists and ankles and get a tight hold of them, you can easily find openings in their defense. By doing so, you can slip your arm or leg and get that submission.

Less Friction

When worn, a Gi creates a lot of friction, especially when wet with sweat. This slows down matches and forces you to wait for the right opportunity before trying to address each obstacle to your goal in turn.

When wearing a Gi, friction makes it more difficult to compensate for lack of technique by using speed and strength. This means that the sparring round is less messy, and the physical rate does not outpace tactics.

Practicing No Gi is very useful because it increases your grip strength when holding your enemy by their wrist or ankles. So, this forces you to be a stronger individual that does not depend on the opponent’s clothing. It also forces you to be more athletic and have better endurance because No Gi fights are much more chaotic than the ones in Gi. 

That also opens up new doors for you. Because if you take away that grip and get yourself out of your comfort zone, you will soon find new ways to get better with what you have. In this case, it is the opponent who doesn’t have any clothes that you can grip.


Doing No Gi Jiu-Jitsu is much harder on your body than doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in a kimono. One of the main reasons for its fast-paced style, unlike BJJ in a Gi. You cannot pull guard; you cannot stay in one position for too long because you will get submitted. You always have to move and use your strength to control your opponent. 

You do need to create the right training program so you don’t end up all buff but without the ability to move quickly. That’s why No Gi athletes do a lot of explosive strength training. Explosive training is hard for your body because you use a lot of strength but also try to move that weight as fast as you can, and you can find yourself without a breath many times.

That’s why a lot of No Gi BJJ competitors put an emphasis on cardio training and strength training as well. It is because, in many situations, you will have to push away your opponent before they realize what you were going to do or even submit them. Again you want to do that as fast and efficiently as possible.

Get Creative

Now, this is something that is related both to Gi BJJ and No Gi. While practicing BJJ, you will learn about the human body and what you can do with it. But as you become more proficient, you will start trying out some moves that you thought of, which may be successful. Look at the flying armbar, for example. It is not something that you see very often, but somebody came up with that when practicing one day.

Now let’s look at the most successful No Gi athlete, Gordon Ryan. In the past couple of years, he changed the sport and made it more fun to do and watch. That is because he and his coach, John Danaher, have created new ways to make submissions. Their creative moves can surprise their opponents and everyone watching. 

They wanted to change the sport and do something you do not see every day and that you cannot learn from everyone. In their case, it became a success because nobody had seen those moves before and did not know how to defend themselves against them. So who knows, maybe you will be the one that will succeed in the sport because you got creative one day and decided to try those moves out, and they worked.

Builds Discipline 

BJJ is a great tool that can help you build discipline. Mentally and physically. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a demanding sport. Making it to class every week requires discipline in the face of average “losses” in sparring. And not only that. You must keep your diet in check and push yourself beyond your limits. Even if you don’t feel like doing it.

Many BJJ athletes, as well as any other athletes, go to training even when they don’t feel like it. That is because they know you cannot improve yourself only when you want to or don’t feel lazy. 

Discipline is a huge part of BJJ, and if you start doing something and don’t think about how you feel while doing them, you will grow as a person and an athlete. Maybe your coach will ask you to do more things in your practice than usual, and it is essential to do those things. Because they are pushing you for your benefit at the end of the day.

Deal Better with Pressure

Being calm under pressure is an essential thing in almost every combat sport as well as in BJJ. Being calm will, a lot of times, get you that victory. And it is an important thing to train. Not only for the sport you are practicing but also for real-life situations. When starting BJJ, whether it is Gi or No Gi, your coach will emphasize being relaxed.

Being relaxed is also favorable when doing sparring matches with your training partners. It is because if you start spazzing in the middle of the fight, there is a good chance that you will hurt them. For example, you could accidentally hit and break their teeth because you panicked.

Relaxing under pressure will help you find a solution to that submission and conserve the energy you will use for your next move. So, try to be calm and collected whenever you are at the gym. It is not the end of the world if you get submitted because you are there to practice and better yourself as an athlete.

Strength Makes a Difference

Gi practitioners, unlike No GI, use their opponent’s kimono for many submissions and chokes. Some examples are; The cross choke, bow and arrow choke, baseball bat choke, and many more. They all include pulling the enemy’s Gi so you can finish a submission. 

No, Gi has no clothes you can grip to submit your opponent. Instead, you will go for their limbs more often. You can do an arm bar, knee bar, or rear naked choke if you get their back and hold their arms and legs so they cannot get out of it quickly. The point is you need a lot more strength to do that in No Gi because of the lack of grips.

So let’s say you were to partner up with someone who has been training for a couple of months and who did not do any BJJ training but is far more physically superior than the first person. In this case, there would be a high chance that the person already practicing BJJ will get submitted. That is because the more powerful person can hold and move his opponent much easier and force submissions because of his strength. 


Doing No Gi BJJ can be a lot of fun and hard sometimes. You will get out of your comfort zone, but you will learn many valuable things you can apply in the gym or in real-life situations. It costs less than practicing BJJ with a kimono, which is another plus. It also makes you a stronger individual because of its combat style.

Now, if you could pick and choose between doing BJJ with a Gi and without it, the best option would be to do both. Because each style offers its unique traits. Doing BJJ with a uniform will improve your defense game, whereas doing BJJ without it (No Gi) will improve your offense.

If you want to be a complete athlete who knows how to defend yourself well and attack quickly and efficiently, you will choose both. Or, even if you are just practicing for fun, you should consider both styles. Because at the end of the day, you will know more about BJJ.

Gregori Povolotski

I have been practicing martial arts since 2007. For as long as I can remember, I have always had a huge passion for combat sports, especially Muay Thai and boxing. Helping people on their martial arts journey is what drives me to keep training and learn new things. Read More About Me

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