Bravo argues the science of gi vs. no-gi

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Eddie Bravo will compete in a no-gi jiu-jitsu match versus Eddie Royler this weekend at Metamoris 3, which is a rematched of their famed 2003 ADCC bout.

Bravo recently sat down for an interview with, where he spoke on varying subjects, including training in the traditional gi versus training without it.

I don't have a dog in the fight. I'm just asking for your position, but I'll give you what Cabral said, namely, that training in the gi makes you more creative and sensitive to technique. How would you respond to that?

That's not scientific. The sciences, it's the sciences. How can yanking and pulling be better for your clinch and squeezing than clinching and squeezing itself? It's impossible. It's impossible and that's the science. So, if you're spending most of your time yanking and pulling, you are not spending that time clinching and squeezing.

Just look at the UFC. There's so many black belts in the UFC. How many are known to have incredible guards? How many black belts in the UFC have three submissions off their back? I would say none.

I'm not sure, but it must be zero.

Zero, but in the gi in a jiu-jitsu competition, they have multiple, multiple submissions off their back. The difference is, in the gi, you're yanking and pulling on the sleeve from the guard and there's no punching or elbowing. Now, you take away the collar and the sleeve, that means you take away the fighter's stance, his fighting stance. And then you add punches and f–king elbows? How is the gi helping that? The gi is not helping that.

What the gi helps is gi training and gi competitions. It appears the gi makes your no gi better because you can train in the gi 10 years straight, never do no gi and then you can take the gi off one day and you'll be pretty good without the gi even though you've never trained no gi before. You'll be pretty good, but would it have been better had he trained no gi the whole time?

Let me ask you something. Would you rather go against a guy who has trained no gi for 10 years straight and you're going to do a no gi match with him or a guy who spent 10 years with a gi and his first no gi training was going to be with you? What would you rather have?

I'm not capable of effectively answering that, but intuitively, certainly the guy with the 10 years no gi experience is probably a formidable challenge.

Absolutely, just common sense. If, with the gi, yanking and pulling somehow magically was better for your clinching and squeezing than clinching and squeezing itself, then why aren't any wrestlers training in judo? They're not.

The gi makes you more open to techniques that don't work no gi. That's what it does. It opens your mind to working on techniques where you choke your opponents out with the back of his jacket. How is that going to help you no gi? It opens your mind with the gi and you figured out a way to choke your opponent out with his belt, but how is that going to help you no gi.

Even Marcelo Garcia himself, his newest strategy, his latest strategy – the best jiu-jitsu guy on the planet – says do not do anything in the gi that you can't do no gi because it won't translate and it's not good for your game. He's already saying half of what I'm saying. I've been saying that the whole time. Now he's saying it. He's saying it. So, what does that mean, scientifically? Is he more on what I'm saying or more what that guy you're quoting is saying? Marcelo is saying, when you're training in the gi, don't do anything you can't do no gi. Stay away from grabbing gi collars and sleeves because you can't do it no gi. He's basically saying what I'm saying now. Why? Because that's the problem. It's not going to help you no gi. He's already confirming entire article…