William Shakespeare said it best, “To Gi or not to Gi (No-Gi), that is the question”
Type the following into Google: “gi vs no gi debate”, and you will immediately get back about 48M results. There are quite a few opinions on the matter. We are here to add one more (ha); although we don’t see it as a gi vs no gi.
Although SBG Athens is primarily a Gi based Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in Athens, GA; we spend plenty of time learning how to fight in a No-Gi environment. We are not only one of the premier Mixed Martial Arts academies in Georgia but also the top gym for self-defense in Athens, GA.
One of the most important themes within SBG is, fundamentals over styles. This is what Coach Matt Thornton (founder of SBG International and 5th Degree BB) has to say on the topic:
“Fundamentals are not defined as what’s most basic, but rather, what’s most important. With them you can learn to adapt and fight in any environment. Without them you’re vulnerable in every environment.
The collection of core fundamentals within a given range, stand up, clinch, and ground – is known as a ‘delivery system.’ And while circumstances dictate tactics, and plans change upon contact, the root skills you need to develop in the delivery systems remain the same.
Aliveness is the method, the epistemology. The core fundamentals of the delivery system are the material. And style is what evolves within you when you combine both. It will be as different as every individual, and it will be yours alone.
Fundamentals – Delivery Systems – and individual Style, that’s what Bruce Lee was after. That’s what JKD could have been. That’s what Mixed Martial Arts became. And that’s what SBG is.”
What does that have to do with training Gi or No-Gi? As stated earlier, there is room for both, because at SBG we don’t teach for one or the other. We teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and, if done properly, the individual can adapt it to the environment: Gi, No-Gi, MMA, or Self-Defense.
Where does 10th Planet (10P) fit into this equation? Let it first be said, Coach Adam and Coach Rory have spent time on the mats learning from Eddie Bravo. They both consider him a friend, and think he is a great guy. This article is not meant to disparage Eddie or his 10P BJJ organization. Nevertheless, Eddie is breaking one of the core principles on which SBG Athens was founded. He is teaching his personal style to all his students, and, it is specifically a No-Gi system.
As you see, we didn’t want to get into the Gi vs No-Gi debate. At SBG Athens we enjoy doing both. The principles we teach are easily adapted to any environment. The rules may change, and the stakes may increase (sport vs life and death), but the fundamentals are always what’s most important.