All grapplers have wondered at one point or another: “Why wear the gi in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?” This is actually a good question. After all, there seems to be no apparent benefits to training in something that is heavy, hot, and that leaves you exposed to many different attacks. In the following sections, we’ll help debunk this idea and show you why training with a gi in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can actually be very beneficial to your grappling career.
Benefit #1: It Builds Grip Strength
Ask any grappler who’s been doing BJJ for any amount of time and they’ll tell you that your grip strength greatly improves by participating in this sport. The reason why is because when training with the gi, you’re constantly grabbing your opponent’s collars, sleeves, and gi pants. At this point, once you remove the gi, you’ll come to realize that you have greater grip strength that you’ve ever had before
Benefit #2: It’s Tactical
While no-gi BJJ is includes more scrambling and athleticism (generally), training with the gi requires much more patience. It’s like a game of chess- you’re waiting for your opponent to make a mistake so that you can close in for the checkmate, or in this case, the submission. But don’t confuse “tactical” with “slow paced” because gi sparring can actually be very fast paced as well depending on who you’re grappling with and what your level of experience is.
Benefit #3: It’s Traditional
The roots of BJJ can be traced back for more than 100 years; back when training in a gi was the way of the sport. Even today, training with the gi is considered relatively normal, while no-gi training is becoming equally as popular. If you want to experience BJJ like the founders did more than a century ago, you definitely want to start by training in the gi.
Benefit #4: It Simulates Real-World Self-Defense Situations
This is probably one of the more notable advantages associated with training with the gi. A subtle benefit to training with the gi is that the collars on the actual gi mimic that of a collar on a regular shirt, jacket, or coat. As a result, if you ever find yourself in a self-defense situation against someone wearing say, a leather jacket, you can use the exact same technique for performing a “collar choke” (bringing each hands to the opposite sides of your opponents neck, grabbing the collar, and twisting inwards) in order to defend yourself.