Monday, April 17, 2006

To Gi Or Not To Gi

In this article, Armando Basulto covers an important aspect of the MMA craze in To Gi Or Not To Gi:
Firstly and most obviously, except for those folks lucky enough to live in warm weather year round, T-shirts are not the uniform of the day all year long. In New York City, we wear coats and jackets at least nine months out of the year. If our goal is to train in conditions closest to the most probable scenario, then sparring in just a T- shirt (or no shirt at all) would be most unrealistic. Sparring with the Gi on allows one to not only train chokes that are easily recreated with a jacket or coat, but also opens up a myriad of other sleeve and lapel controls. If possible, training can be done while wearing the coats or jackets themselves. Even though it can get hot and uncomfortable (and zippers and buttons can be hazardous), it is something everyone in search of realistic scenario training should attempt.

Secondly, sparring with the Gi can actually be more difficult than without. Though you will definitely have more techniques and chokes available to you for attacking, you will also have to defend from these same techniques which are now available to your opponent. Now that you have sleeves and lapels to grip, it's possible to work the open or "spider guard" and attempt sweeps and reversals, but your opponent now has sleeves and lapels to grab on you, making every reversal or transition three times harder! As an experiment, spar with a partner with Gi's on for five minutes, then strip off the kimonos and continue for another five minutes. You may be surprised at your increased speed and fluidity.

This ties directly into the principle of "keeping it real." Depending on the climate in your area, you may NEVER have to grapple with someone who has on a tank top, t-shirt, or no shirt at all. Read it.

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