GI and NoGi, Gi and NoGI

Well not quite love and marriage but GI and NoGi it goes together like a horse in carriage.  Plus I get to give Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Ed O’neil (Al Bundy) a shout out, you might not expect the guy sitting with his hand down his pants to be a gangsta on the mat.  That is one of the cool things about Jiu Jitsu is you must except that the unassuming is an animal looking to take an arm.

Now, back to what the blog is all about, last night I did the NoGi class taught by tuf 9 Season Vet Santino Defranco.  I have a few takeaways I got from the class, I need to get back in and roll NoGi, and dive into some more wrestling and leg locks.

A little history on my training,  I started off training completely NoGi for the first 13 months or so and was actually awarded my blue belt without ever putting on a GI, not sure how that works.  Shortly after receiving my blue my school at the time switched to both GI and NoGi grappling.  I felt lost in the GI and to be honest couldn’t stand to wear it, I felt suffocated and slow and definitely not like a blue belt.  After about a year of making myself put on the GI everyday I got used to rolling in the GI and fell in love with it.  That is when I switched gyms to Siege MMA and started training almost solely in a GI.  I did very limited NoGi training through the rest of my blue and purple belt years.

After receiving my brown belt I took the opportunity to travel to Thailand to teach at Tiger Muay Thai.  Upon arrival I was probably one of few people that even owned a GI.  I then had the challenging task of switching up my game to accommodate and relearn so much the NoGi.  I did bring the GI class to Tiger and slowly had more and more training partners in the GI but I would say I rolled %80 NoGi during my six month stay.  Upon arriving back in AZ and back in the GI my game felt fluid and mean, my transitions were effortless and my scrambles were effective.

I slipped right back into training GI everyday and very little NoGi.  It is crazy how my philosophy of training has shifted through the years.  I have gone from no need for the GI, to no need for NoGi to somewhere in between.  My NoGi game was definitely not in great shape last night, it is time to dedicate some time towards it.  My philosophy now is not one of the GI mindset, nor a NoGi mindset, but a healthy mix of the two.  I feel that both compliment each other so well and add different pieces to your game.  I am excited to get both games working simultaneously once again.

My other takeaways from last night is the importance of wrestling and leg locks.  Wrestling first, I have learned more wrestling the last six months than I have the last 20 years.  Santino has got my knowledge of wrestling up several levels, I think I might be able to make a high school freshman team now.   The more I learn, the more I am able to incorporate into my Jiu Jitsu game and make one in the same.

The last takeaway was my weakness in leg locks.  I lost my last tournament, Masters Worlds, by leg lock and an earlier brown belt tournament as well.  I think the IBJJF’s rules on reaping the knee creates a false sense of security in the art of Jiu Jitsu.  For me I do not worry about heel hooks or other knee reap positions because I know that they are not allowed in competition.  The thing is this creates holes in my knowledge that you should have to consider yourself a black belt in the art.  I am going to dedicate much of my time left as a brown belt working on leg lock and leg lock defense.  And make sure I catch Dean Lister vs. Rousimar Palhares at the upcoming Jiu Jitsu expo that might shape up to be the most intense battle of footsies in recent memory.

 

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