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Jiu-Jitsu Gi or No Gi

Jiu-Jitsu Gi or No Gi

The world and sport of jiu-jitsu is growing, rapidly. It is an ever evolving sport which with it’s continuous rise in popularity will only gain further momentum and exposure in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

There are several Brazilian jiu-jitsu championships across the globe, sanctioned by the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation). BJJ tournaments are split between gender, weight divisions and belts. Not only this but competitions will be Gi or No-Gi.

The three main differences between Gi and No-Gi grappling:

  • Clothing
  • Strategy and Techniques
  • Tournament Rules


The most obvious difference between Gi and No-Gi jiu-jitsu is (you’ve guessed it…) the appearance of the Gi (often referred to as a Kimono). The Gi is an outfit consisting of heavy cotton pants with reinforced knees, a heavy cotton jacket with a thick reinforced collar, one lapel of the jacket tucked into the other and the entire outfit bought together by the practitioners belt. Their belt dictating their level of mastery. Many wear a rash guard under the Gi’s jacket but this is totally down to preference.

The Gi in all it's glory.
The Gi in all it’s glory.

In No-Gi jiu-jitsu athletes wear board shorts (loose fitting comfortable yet durable shorts) and a rash guard or compression shirt. Female No-Gi athletes would opt for exactly the same but with the addition of a sports bra. With the evolution of the sport into the world of Mixed Martial Arts, many will be familiar with No-Gi grapplers wearing only shorts (board or compression) and nothing to protect the torso.


Strategy and techniques

The strategy differs hugely based on a competition being Gi or No-Gi. In Gi grappling, the Gi is used both offensively and defensively. Sleeves, Collars, Legs and belts are all used to gain and control the opponent and position. Not only are you able to grab on to both Gi whilst grappling, but also use them for submissions. Collar chokes are prominent in Gi grappling and also the manipulation of the arm through sleeve control.

With No-Gi grappling, in most competition holding onto clothes is not allowed. Therefore the grappler must control his opponent by use of only his body. Manipulating the neck, wrists, elbows, knee, hips and so on, this is of course allowed in Gi grappling but the only option for No-Gi. The Gi’s heavy cotton does a great job at absorbing sweat caused by the physicality of a jiu-jitsu match. In No-Gi, the lubrication of sweat plays a large part in the pace of a match and the ease in which opponents may be able to maneuver out of dangerous positions.

Tournament Rules

Depending on the competition and sanction, the rules between Gi and No-Gi competition matches differ. A general rule would be an infamous submission known as a heel hook would be allowed in advanced No-Gi competition. The heel hook puts incredible pressure on the knee and is relatively difficult to defend against in No-Gi but with the use of Gi pants the heel hook is incredibly difficult to defend.

Based on the tournaments house rules, different point allocations can be awarded. For example in No-Gi a takedown to side control frequently merits three points whilst in Gi grappling only two. The Knee-on-belly position will award two points in Gi grappling but none in No-Gi.


Want to train and compete in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Kit yourself out in Venum’s high quality Gi and Boardshorts/Rash guards and get rolling!

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