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      The Difference Between Gi and No-Gi BJJ

      The Difference Between Gi and No-Gi BJJ

      The short answer to this is: one is practiced in the gi (jiu jitsu kimono), and the other is not. Duh. But that's a gross oversimplification. While gi and no-gi jiu jitsu are inherently the same, there are subtle differences in how they are practiced.

      Want to delve into the nitty-gritty differences between these two sides of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Read on...


      As noted earlier, the most obvious difference between gi and no-gi is the attire. In gi jiu jitsu, practitioners wear a gi, while in nogi jiu jitsu, practitioners typically wear snug-fitting athletic apparel. A Brazilian jiu jitsu gi consists of a jacket, usually made of 100% cotton, a pair of pants - made from either cotton or a poly-cotton ripstop - with a drawstring closure, and a belt that is tied around the waist over the jacket. Male practitioners can opt to go bare-chested or wear a rash guard under the jacket. Female practitioners opt to wear either a sports bra only, or a sports bra and rash guard. In no-gi jiu jitsu, both male and female practitioners usually wear a rash guard paired with grappling shorts - or compression shorts, no pockets - spats, or both shorts and spats. 


      Another obvious difference is in the grips. In no-gi, you don't have the material of the gi to grab and use against your opponent, and you are not allowed to grab and use the material of the rash guard and shorts. This leads many in the gi community to make the - inaccurate - remark, "there are not grips in no-gi." In fact, there are grips, they are just modified. Instead of grabbing the lapel, sleeves and pants, practitioners in no-gi use a lot of monkey and c-grips, grabbing the wrist, back of the neck, back of the ankle, and bend of the elbow. Gable grips are also used to their best advantage in no-gi. 


      One of the biggest deterrents for gi practitioners to practice no-gi is the belief that no-gi jiu jitsu requires more athleticism. Yes, the more successful competitive no-gi practitioners typically tend to be more athletic - quicker, more explosive, and better able to scramble - just as with gi jiu jitsu, proper execution of technique can overcome a stronger, more powerful opponent. Additionally, the lack of material-based grips allows for both you and your opponent to slip out of positions a lot easier. Therefore, there tends to be a lot more movement in no-gi jiu jitsu than in gi jiu jitsu, where one can maintain a more secure grip and prevent his/her opponent from moving too much. 


      Of course, without the gi, you can't possibly do any of the awesome lapel chokes that you can with the gi. Additionally, a lot of the modern sport jiu jitsu guards - such as leg lasso, spider guard, worm guard, etc. - are essentially impossible. On the other hand, the lack of gi also makes a lot of techniques and submissions easier to execute. For example, wrestling takedowns are far more successful when your opponent can't grab a hold of your lapel and stiff-arm you away. Some chokes - such as the mata leao and the d'arce choke - are also easier to lock up when there isn't a lot of material around your opponent's neck impeding your movements. The lack of material also makes it easier for you to escape certain submissions, such as arm bars and triangles. 


      Gi tournaments - and divisions - are typically the most popular and have larger numbers of competitors. The IBJJF World Championships - fought in the gi - is widely considered the most prestigious event in the world of competitive Brazilian jiu jitsu. The Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) Championships is considered to be the most prestigious no-gi event in the world. While most tournaments, both gi and no-gi, are points-based, there is an increasing demand for submission-only tournaments. This is particularly the case - and far more successfully executed - in no-gi, where the sub-only ruleset favors more the faster, more athletic and dynamic no-gi game in which competitors have fewer opportunities to stall. 

      Regardless of whether you prefer gi or no-gi, it is widely believed that practicing in the gi can help your no-gi game, and practicing no-gi can help your gi game. 

      Train on... gi or no-gi. Oss.

      Best Kid's Jiu Jitsu Gis

      Best Kid's Jiu Jitsu Gis

      Indisputably, jiu jitsu is one of the best activities to get your child - boy or girl - involved in. It teaches them discipline, respect for elders and each other, resilience... and it's a whole lot of fun! But just as with their everyday clothes, it can be hard to find a gi that fits them well, especially as they continue to grow - and grow out - of it. 

      But never fear... Fighters Market is here to give you a rundown on the best kid's gis in the store! Check it out:


      Kingz Kimonos is by far one of the most popular and well-respected gi brands in the market today. Almost the entire company trains jiu jitsu, and have kid's that train, so not only do they really know their stuff, but they have an interest in ensuring their gis fit well and are durable enough to withstand everything the mat, and their opponents, can throw at them. Our favorites right now are: the Kingz Kid's The One gi, which features a standard 400 GSM jacket, 10oz cotton pants and a free white belt; and the Kingz Kid's Nano gi, which features a lighter 370 GSM jacket and 8oz cotton pants, but does not come with a belt. All the Kingz Kid's gis have an elastic waistband and inner drawstring, so their pants stay snug, even when they come untied. All Kingz kid's gis range from size M0000 (for little guys 3-4 years old) to M4 (kids 4'11" to 5'1'). 


      Known for their wide selection of adult gi and no-gi options, UK-based brand Tatami Fightwear also puts out some great kid's gis. For the slightly older kid, we like the Tatami Kid's Estilo 5.0, which is pretty much identical to their popular adult version, featuring a sturdy 550 GSM jacket, 12oz cotton pants, a regular rope drawstring (like adult gis), and coming in sizes M0 (for kids 3'7" to 3'11") to M4 (kids 4'11" to 5'1'). For those tiny tykes in your family, they have their highly-popular Tatami Kid's Animal Gi, which features eight different Meerkatsu-designed animals embroidered on the jacket and pants, and comes in sizes M0000 (for kids up to 2'11") to M1 (kids 3'11" to 4'3"). 


      One of the longest-running gi companies in the market, Fuji knows their stuff. Plus, not only do they have some of the most reasonably-priced gis, their gis are also build to last and last and last... in fact, I think I still have a Fuji gi from ten years ago somewhere in my closet. So if your kid tends to be a little hard on clothes, Fuji is the way to go. Hands down, their most popular kid's gi is the Fuji Single Weave Kid's Gi, which features a mid-weight cotton jacket, durable cotton pants with an elastic waistband, and a free white belt. The best part about this gi is that it's also roomy enough in the sleeves for your kiddo to take to judo practice, as well. Fuji kid's gis come in sizes C00 (for kids between 38-50 lbs, and 3'9" to 4'0" in height) to C3 (95-100 lbs, and 4'9" to 5'0" in height). 


      And if you live in the U.S. and buy from Fighters Market, you can rest assured that if the gi doesn't fit your little dude or dudette, they will exchange it at no cost to you!

      Train on... Oss. 

      Fresh New Choke Republic Tees!

      Fresh New Choke Republic Tees!

      Summer is officially here! What's better than breaking out the short shorts and flip flops? Stocking up on the latest new designs from your favorite jiu jitsu apparel brand, Choke Republic!

      Even if you don't already know the Choke Republic brand - where have you been... living under a rock?? - you have definitely seen their awesome t-shirt designs in your BJJ academy, major jiu jitsu events, and maybe even on randos walking down the street. Remember the famous "Coffee Then Jiu Jitsu" shirt, complete with shaka-ing Starbucks lady-mermaid? Yeah, that was Choke Republic. 

      So what have they brought you this summer?? A fresh new set of designs, that's what! Check 'em out:

      Territory Series








      Laurel Wreath




      Why Is A BJJ Uniform Called A Gi?

      Why Is A BJJ Uniform Called A Gi?

      If you've had some knowledge of martial arts before training Brazilian jiu jitsu - even if it's just watching The Karate Kid on repeat in your parents' basement - you're probably familiar with the term "kimono". 

      One might assume that kimono referred specifically to a martial arts uniform, but in reality, the Japanese word generally translates to "garment", and literally means "something to wear", as "ki" is "to wear" and "mono" is "thing." It's actually a term more often used for the colorful everyday - and ceremonial - garments traditionally worn in Japan. While it's not inaccurate to call the BJJ uniform a kimono, more often than not it's called a "gi". But why??

      The term "gi" originated in judo, a derivative of the word “keikogi”, which roughly translates to training gear, as "keiko" means "to practice" and "gi" means "suit"... so basically, jiu jitsu practitioners are training and competing in BJJ suits. If you're lucky enough to find a gi that fits like a finely tailored suit, this isn't far from the truth!

      Initially, the kimonos used by Japanese samurai were large and baggy, much like the uniforms worn by Aikido practitioners. Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, is credited with transforming the traditional training garment into more of what we see today in modern judo, a kimono made of sturdy woven cotton, with a tighter fit and shorter sleeves. At this time, these keikogis were all white.

      As Brazilian jiu jitsu developed, into the mid to late 1900s, the BJJ gi also transformed, becoming even more fitted, with longer sleeves (than the traditional judo gis), and more colors (including blue and black). The spread of jiu jitsu competitions also affected the appearance of the jiu jitsu gi, as competitors would seek out sponsorships to help pay for their athlete lifestyle in exchange for a prime advertising spot on their gi. 

      Today, there are tons of different jiu jitsu gi brands, each with their own cut and aesthetic style. Most of these gis are made in either Pakistan or China, designed by companies in the U.S., Brazil and Europe, and shipped to nearly every country in the world. 

      Best Women's BJJ Gis

      Best Women's BJJ Gis

      All gis were not created equal... and if you're a female practitioner, you - more than anyone else - are acutely aware of the differences. Before jiu jitsu brands started creating gis specially designed for the woman's body, we were stuck having to wear ill-fitting men's or kid's gis. 

      No more! Nearly all major BJJ gi brands have jumped on the bandwagon, including women's cuts in their gi lineups. Check out our favorites here: 

      Kingz Kimonos

      Undoubtedly, Kingz Kimonos is dominating today's gi market. As such, it'd be strange if they didn't product a great women's gi. While the brand produces men's/unisex gis as small as A0, and offer slim, competition cuts that fit the tall, slender women in our community, they recognized that not all female grapplers fit that body type. In consultation with several upper-belt women, they produced a specially designed women's cut that features a lower front rise on the pants, more room in the backside, and a more tapered cut in the jacket, especially around the shoulders. But don't take our word for it! Check out the IBJJF competition photo galleries, where you'll see many women - of all body types - sporting such gis as the Nano 2.0 and the Balistico 2.0.


      Brazilian brand Atama was one of the very first gis to produce a women's cut. This was likely due to the influence of BJJ legend Leticia Ribeiro, who has been a long-time sponsored athlete and coach of the brand, and has run one of the most successful women's teams out of San Diego, California. The most popular of their models is the Mundial Model 9, which was the staple competition gi for multiple-time world champion - and Leticia's student - Bia Mesquita for years. The Atama women's cut features a bit more room in the shoulders and chest than the Kingz cut, perfect for the more busty or wider shouldered women. 


      After Kingz, Tatami probably produces the second-most popular women's cut gi in the market today. The UK-based company is well-known for its incredible range of BJJ gis and gear, with new models and designed offered nearly every year. They have long been on the women's cut bandwagon, and have even offered models designed only for women, like the Ladies Phoenix BJJ Gi and the Lotus Ladies BJJ Gi. By far their most popular women's gi model is the Estilo 6.0, which is the preferred gi for the brand's many sponsored female athletes. Tatami's women's cut is ideal for the more slender female practitioner, as it runs fairly slim in the legs and body.

      Of course, these are our top three, but the exciting part of being a female practitioner in today's world is that, following the lead of these three brands, many other gi brands are producing women's cuts, too. The best way to find the cut that best fits you is to actually try them on... which is impossible for most brands, unless you regularly attend the major IBJJF events where they might have booths. However, if you don't have that luxury, we're confident that at least one of these three brands will offer you a gi that fits you a lot better than the standard unisex gi. 

      Train on... in style. Oss. 

      *Photo by FloGrappling