Most of you in our BJJ/Grappling classes would have noticed that we only have 2 No-Gi classes a week.
This system is based on Checkmat’s system back in Brazil where they train 90% of the time in Gi. Yet, Checkmat is the current Brazilian National No-Gi Champions and placed 2nd at the World No Gi Championships. They were also World No Gi champs for 2008 and 2009. How could a team that hardly trains in No-Gi be so dominant in the world No-Gi scene.
Checkmat isn’t the only one.
The best pound for pound No-Gi fighter alive, Marcelo Garcia, says that he trains daily with Gi and only once a week with No-Gi. Garcia says “Its crucial to train with the Gi to have the finest technique. An athlete who wants to be good in No Gi must train also with Gi.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hFHoykw4hI)
On top of that, a host of MMA champions also train in the Gi. BJ Penn, George Saint Pierre, Frank Mir, Anderson Silva, Gabriel Gonzaga, George Satorapolus, Diego Sanchez, Fabricio Werdum, the Diaz brothers…
Our coach, Prof Leke, also believes that training in Gi is very important for the No Gi game.
For myself, one reason I noticed is that training purely in No-Gi develops bad habits like using brute strength and power to escape positions. When it comes to MMA or No-Gi competitions, these bad habits could equate to gassing out early from relying on power rather than technique. I know because I gassed out myself from using poor technique many times!
I’m still pondering this. However, my heroes like GSP, Marcelo Garcia and of course Leke can’t be wrong! So put on those Gi’s and hit the mats.