The Importance of Gi’s in BJJ Training

Kids Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class in Athens, Georgia

The topic of Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Athens and No-Gi Submission Grappling in Athens is an important one to unpack for the uninitiated parent looking for BJJ in Athens for kids and teens. As the top BJJ school in Athens and one of the tops in the state of Georgia we hope you find this discussion informative and helpful when choosing BJJ training for your youth or teen.

Here at SBG Athens we run an international program called, Growing Gorillas Martial Arts and Youth Enrichment. Children range from 3 years old up to 14/15 years old. Growing Gorillas are broken into four different age groups that more specifically meet the learning needs of each child as they develop from toddlers to young adults. Far too many traditional martial arts programs, BJJ programs, and No Gi Submission grappling programs group all the children into one big class and expect that a 4-year-old can learn in the same way as a 12-year-old. If that were the case, children of all ages would attend the same classroom together to learn ELA, math, and science.

It’s also important to understand why SBG Athens is a proponent of Gi based BJJ as opposed to No-Gi Grappling. Training adults and children for over 20 years has led us to understand there are far more benefits gained from BJJ in a gi than no gi submission grappling. One of these benefits, although no less important than the others, is hygiene. Another important reason for gi training, in a similar vein as hygiene, is less body to body contact. This becomes more important for mixed classes as children age and become teenagers.

Other reasons include the ability to chart a student’s progress with belts while teaching the true art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as created by the Gracie family and passed on to the rest of us. To have goals, whether on the mats or in life, one must know from where they came, where they are presently, and where they are trying to go. Belts, which don’t exist in No-Gi submission grappling, are not only an intrinsic motivator for kids, but help a child to set goals and achieve them. In addition to belts, the uniform, known as a Kimono, helps a child to identify they are a training a martial art and not just wrestling around with their friends. It creates a better student/teacher relationship that is harder to do so with the more informal submission wrestling.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also taught for self-defense, not just to go out a win gold medals at the local grappling tournament (although we have many of these medals on our walls). Since our children live in clothes, the Kimono helps us to create lessons that deal with such things as stranger danger and abduction. How will a child learn to defend someone from grabbing their jacket or pants if said child is only wearing a rash guard and board shorts? Lastly, if no-gi submission grappling is something a child wants to do (PS. SBG Athens does teach submission grappling to children that qualify), they will have far greater success training in a gi and then taking it off to train no-gi. All of Jiu Jitsu exists in the gi: throws, grip breaking, submissions, escapes, and more. One cannot train all these things No-Gi and therefore their own BJJ will be lacking. Why stifle your child’s growth from the very beginning when SBG Athens provides the best BJJ program for children?

We hope to meet your child soon and teach them a martial art they can train their entire lives. This is SBG, you will be okay.

self defense against strikes on the ground using bjj

Self Defense Using BJJ on Ground
There is an adage spoken in SBGs all over the globe, “If you can’t beat me with rules, what makes you think you can beat me without them.”
 
One of the things SBG is most proud of is teaching Brazilian Jiu JItsu that can be used regardless of the environment. Whether gi BJJ, no-gi, MMA, or “the streat”, the fundamentals practiced on our mats hold true throughout. Sure, we can take that BJJ and go win tournaments, but that doesn’t mean we teach Sport BJJ.
 
Fundamentals are fundamental, and if you are being taught something different, you are likely being lied to about its efficacy. If you really want some honesty, after about 2-3 years of solid fundamental BJJ (like what is taught at SBG Athens) the rest of your time is about perfecting timing and having fun simulating murder with your friends.
 
Some places like to scare you about the “Boogeyman”. One thing our friend Paul Sharp talks about is how we are more dangerous than the criminals who aren’t training against resisting opponents (read: training partners) every day. We are giving our students all the necessary tools to defend themselves against violent actors.
 
Many police departments and our country’s own military (including Special Operators) has adopted Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as their go to self defense. There is no better way to get good at BJJ than to train it against another athlete trying to beat you.
 
One understands the rule set (or lack thereof) when forced to Manage Unknown Contacts (MUC). The BJJ athlete doesn’t just flop to the ground and pull guard against a violent actor on the streets. This is preached about regularly inside the academy. But that doesn’t stop us from having some fun and exploring the different games that are available. That’s what makes BJJ something we can do until the day we die. Rickson Gracie himself competed all the time and understood the best way to improve was to train against an alive (read: resisting) opponent.
 
Here we are learning how to defend against a striking opponent if we happen to find ourselves on our backs. Sometimes you fall down or get taken down and need to know how to survive. This is ten minutes from a 90 minute class utilizing MMA gloves to safely strike one another. Our students continue to gain valuable training time and become more dangerous every hour they spend on the mats.
 
The likelihood of them ever needing to use this against someone trying to do them grave bodily harm is slim. Nevertheless, as coaches we know that they are gaining the necessary skills in case the situation is to ever present itself.
 
This is SBG Athens, you will be okay.