ADCC Trials Champs: “No Gi is Easier than Gi BJJ. The Talent Pool is Way Smaller in No Gi”

ADCC Trials Champs: “No Gi is Easier than Gi BJJ. The Talent Pool is Way Smaller in No Gi”

The debate between Gi and No-Gi training intensifies with perspectives from seasoned competitors like ADCC Trials winners Owen Jones and Taylor Pearman. In a recent episode of the “Hack Check Podcast,” both champions shared their insights, underscoring why they perceive No-Gi BJJ to be much easier than its Gi counterpart.

The Talent Pool Difference

Jones and Pearman pointed out a significant disparity in the talent pools of Gi and No-Gi BJJ. They observed that the Gi division is notably more competitive due to a higher concentration of proficient athletes. In contrast, the No-Gi scene, although featuring top-level competitors, has fewer participants, making it relatively less challenging at a broad competitive level.

  • Owen Jones: “The talent pool is just way smaller [in No-Gi]. Like, I feel like in a Gi division, there’s significantly more good guys compared to No-Gi.”
  • Taylor Pearman: “I’m not saying like the best No-Gi guy is probably the same level as the best Gi guy; there’s like 10 good Gi guys and like three good No-Gi guys per division, you know.”

The Transition from Gi to No-Gi

An interesting point discussed by the champions is the transition dynamics between the two styles. It is common to see athletes who have trained in the Gi excel when they switch to No-Gi competitions. This shift often showcases their adaptable skills and strong foundational techniques honed in Gi BJJ. However, the reverse—No-Gi specialists transitioning to Gi and achieving the same level of success—is rarely observed.

  • Owen Jones: “You can see Gi guys, like Tommy de Paúl, who take the Gi off and become the best No-Gi guys. You never see a No-Gi guy put the Gi on and become the best Gi guy.”

The Role of Brazilian Athletes

The dominance of Brazilian athletes in Gi BJJ was highlighted as a contributing factor to the depth of competition in that format. The cultural and historical roots of BJJ in Brazil have cultivated a generation of practitioners who excel in the Gi, which is often considered the traditional form of the sport.

Physical Dynamics and Strategy

Both Pearman and Jones discussed the physical and strategic differences between Gi and No-Gi BJJ. The presence of the Gi allows for a variety of grips and techniques that can significantly influence the outcome of a match. This grip factor adds a layer of complexity and strategy absent in No-Gi, where the clothing does not play a role in gaining leverage. They noted that the strength and effectiveness of grips in Gi BJJ could dramatically alter the dynamics of a match, making it more challenging to counter a well-executed move.

  • Owen Jones: “If he can make a grip and I can’t break the grip, it nullifies anything. Yeah exactly, now he just shuts down that whole part of my game.”

Forgiveness in No-Gi

The forgiving nature of No-Gi BJJ, where escapes from compromising positions like back takes are more feasible, was also touched upon. In contrast, Gi BJJ is less forgiving, with the Gi providing additional control points for securing submissions and maintaining control.

  • Taylor Pearman: “No-Gi is way more forgiving, you know. Like for example, you see so many matches where people get their back taken and just escape. The Gi is not like that, right. The Gi is like, bro, you get your back taken, you get choked.”

The insights from Owen Jones and Taylor Pearman provide a clear window into the nuances that define and differentiate Gi and No-Gi BJJ. While both styles demand high levels of skill and dedication, their discussion sheds light on why many perceive No-Gi as a less formidable challenge compared to the highly tactical and competitive world of Gi BJJ. This conversation not only enriches the understanding of martial arts enthusiasts but also underscores the evolving strategies and preferences in the training approaches of modern BJJ athletes.