My opinion --
No gi has always been my preference. I didnít like the feeling of restraint when rolling in a gi. Part of that is that I started off doing no-gi and as that was what Iíd first done, I felt that was the better way.
Now I understand that both is preferred (even if that ratio is 75/25 in favor of no-gi). Preferred for no other reason that you become more well-rounded and able to play both games. Itís really hard to argue against that logic. Thus I donít and have begun to do more gi training as of late.
So Iíve noticed a few things.
* The game is a little slower, but not necessarily less attribute based. Iíve seen guys roll like BULLS while wearing a gi and people play a slow, methodical and technical game while rolling NO gi.
* Much of the gi game revolves around having collar and sleeve control. All good, unless that collar and sleeve aren't available. Then youíre in a pickle because youíve become so accustomed to using the cloth to control your opponent instead of his BODY. In that way, the cloth becomes a crutch. Not a good thing, IMO.
* Where Iíve found that the gi game helps with the no-gi is in terms of base. Your base becomes a bit better because itís easier to sweep someone when theyíre wearing a gi. For that reason, oneís guard passing will improve. That said, adjustments will still have to be made in terms of guard passing for no-gi, especially if one has been accustomed to using the cloth to assist the pass.
* You become more aware of posture as well in the guard. If your posture isnít good inside of someoneís guard, youíll know it immediately (youíll be swept or at least broken down). Posture is one of the better defenses against the collar chokes from within someone's guard.
Thus you learn quickly to establish and maintain excellent posture (I always focused on using good posture anyway, but stillÖ.)
* Wouldnít it make more sense to play your gi game the way youíd play your NO gi game? I think that has merit. Eddie Bravo does. But itís SO damned tempting to play that spider guard with the sleevesÖÖÖÖ..
Iíd like to provide a quote from Eddie Bravo here:
On the topic of Gi versus no-Gi; what are the big differences in both training for each and application on the mat?
The biggest difference between gi and no gi is the speed of the game. The gi game is slowed down by collar and sleeve control, while the no gi game is based on head and arm control. In the gi game, submissions are often set up with the collar, faking a choke attempt to take an arm or a triangle. Controlling your opponent can be a lot easier with the gi. In the no gi game, submissions can be a lot more difficult to set up especially with the sweat factor and controlling your opponent without the gi can be more difficult because the handles that the gi provides are not there. Less handles can equal less control which can lead to more scrambling which increases the speed of the game.
BUT, you'll only have more control running on pavement as opposed to running on ice until you learn to ice skate. (italics and bold are mine)
And I think that last sentence really sums up my thinking on the subject of no-gi control.
Everyone thinks that you canít easily control a guy when rolling no-gi. I find this to be completely wrong. Itís all a matter of learning to take advantage of the natural angles of the human body and understanding how to control those ďchoke pointsĒ.
Seems like the grips with the gi are nice and make things much easier for controlling movement. The problem is that those grips arenít always available. Particularly in my locale.
I also believe that the no-gi game can help the gi game. This is true in terms of learning to control the body. When you learn to control the body of an opponent during no gi, training, itís TEN times easier to control the body when heís wrapped in canvas ,designed not to rip.
Iím going to keep coming back here however and posting what I find. My renewed interest in gi training should yield some interesting insights from a mostly no-gi aficionado. This newly acquired shoulder injury might slow things down a bit but what better time to begin playing a slower game?