Different Cultures Gi vs No-gi?

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by Stevebjj, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. Stevebjj

    Stevebjj Grappling Dummy

    So, my wife made an observation yesterday that I thought was interesting. She asked me why the no-gi guys seemed to be so much more arrogant (she was less kind and a bit more derisive than that) than the gi competitors. My reaction was non-committal. I mean, we have no-gi classes and guys who compete no-gi as well. But after thinking about it, I do think she made an interesting point. There does seem to be a different culture and it was more apparent at this tournament because with a few notable exceptions, we were told we couldn't compete in both divisions. So, most people had to choose one or the other. The result was interesting.

    First off, I'm not looking for absolutes, just trends and your opinions.

    It seemed like most of the guys who wanted to roll no-gi were ex-wrestlers, while many of the gi competitors were not. The most common submission from the no-gi guys was the RNC, with I'd say a few armbars. I may have missed some, but I don't think that there were any other subs on the no-gi side. Now that I think about it, though, most of the armbars I saw were from guard and pulled off by one of the female competitors. She was really good.

    The most common submission by far in gi was the triangle, then the armbar. There were also a lot of keylocks, lapel chokes (of course) and one of my school's guys won his division (blue belt 230lbs +) with a straight ankle lock.

    There was also a clear difference in attitude. Not that anyone was rude or disrespectful. Just different... like when you go to a house party and all of the hostesses personal friends are in one group and all of her work friends are in another. Different and a little awkward... with a few people mixing in the middle.

    So, getting to the point if you haven't guessed already, I'm wondering if you guys perceive a difference in culture. Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu working toward a cultural rift? Do you believe that training gi and no-gi together is best, or that one or the other is preferential? What are your general thoughts on one versus the other.
  2. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    We train both. But for beginners all the real foundation work starts wearing a gi. Out of any given week we only do 2 days a week no gi. So the focus is definitely on gi. I've always like the no-gi style just because it tends to be so much faster. Everyone is slippery and amped up so it's just crazy fast. :eek:

    I've never noticed a big difference between gi and no gi competitors.... but here in Asia we don't really get anyone from a freestyle wrestling background. So maybe our club isn't all that representative of BJJ as a whole. We do get a lot of cross overs from Judo though... at last check our club had at least two Judo blackbelts... so rolling with them as a whitebelt single black stripe is pretty funny... because they're fast as lightning and all it takes is for them get a lapel grab and you're going flying. :D

    At the comps we have here in Hong Kong and in the Philipines or Tiawan we're allowed to compete in both Gi and No-Gi competitions if they have both available. Both Taiwan and the Philipines are always game for a roll so there is plenty of attitude... but by and large most of it is on the friendly side of competitive.

    Which isn't neccessarily the same as regional Muay Thai bouts... so the BJJ can be a bit of a nice break by comparison. I find the build up and mental game for the BJJ not to be nearly as stressful for boxing or Muay Thai. Not that I can't lose... but there's a certain comfort in knowing that I'm not going to get kicked in the face or punched in the ribs. :p
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2007
  3. JayKayD

    JayKayD Meet my friend PAIN!

    I'd say no-gi is more oritentated towards MMA, so you get more wannabe badasses in that. That might have something to do with it.
  4. Stevebjj

    Stevebjj Grappling Dummy

    I think you've both hit on some things I hadn't thought of. Again, I forget that most of the world doesn't have as much of a wrestling culture as the USA, and I'm sure that MMA has something to do with it.

    And to be clear, at MOST tournaments, people can compete in both. The one in July, if it's like the last one, is $40 for one division and $50 for both, so you're encouraged to roll in both divisions if you want the most mat time for your money. In this one yesterday, everyone I know was told we couldn't roll in both divisions, only to find out when we got there that Marcelo Alonso's school was allowed to do so. I guess where you train makes a difference sometimes. Not a big deal, but it irritated a few of our guys who wanted to compete both gi and no-gi.
  5. TheMadhoose

    TheMadhoose Carpe Jugulum

    I think the MMA UFC scene has alot to do with the no gi arrogance. no gi grappling isnt the same as a tarditional martial art and is seen as a fight club where traditional settings are taught more emphasis on respect and humility.
  6. 1bad65

    1bad65 Valued Member

    I think alot of no-gi guys think it's harder because there is less to grab onto for sweeps and subs. They tend to forget with a gi you have to watch out for collar chokes.
  7. Stevebjj

    Stevebjj Grappling Dummy

    Different, definitely. My impression is that many of the ex-wrestlers don't go in the gi divisions as often because they think that it's too hard. Too many handles. I've heard more top notch wrestlers complain about how in the gi divisions, guys who are weaker or less athletic end up winning. Well, yeah... that's called technique. :)
  8. Agutrot-

    Agutrot- Jack of all Trades

    The high % of RNC in no gi has to do with the added ability to scramble back to your feet. Also a couple of the other no gi guys in my gym idolize Marcelo Garcia and armdrag from guard to get to the back.
  9. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    I don't notice a difference at my club, but I have noticed somewhat at tournaments. You overhear conversations and such. It seems that it has a lot to do with the same old arguments that have plagued martial arts since the dawn of combat and will continue forever....what's REAL. No-gi guys point to MMA and the usefulness of what they do in that environment. Gi guys point to the fact that for real life fighting, most people are wearing clothes, and unless it's summer time at the beach they will at least be wearing T-shirts to grab onto.

    It's stupid, it's petty, and it's embarrassing to have these arguments continue. For some reason it's very hard for people to comprehend the fact that different things have their place.
  10. TheMightyMcClaw

    TheMightyMcClaw Dashing Space Pirate

    I would mostly attribute it to the ex-wrestler factor. You have a lot of former high school and collegiate wrestlers going into BJJ, and they definitely favor no-gi (at our club, where we do both, some of them only do the no-gi class, or don't wear one to the gi class). I think they import a lot of the obnoxious macho attitudes of scholastic athletics into Jiujitsu. Which is unfortunate.
  11. EternalRage

    EternalRage Valued Member

    At the university BJJ club I train at, everyone shows up to either class, sometimes wearing a gi on no gi day or vice versa, so I've never encountered a difference in culture. I would think if it is the same people coming to both, that they wouldn't change their personality based on what they're wearing. (although it would probably be very amusing)

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