Now we’ll address the subject of the kimono or gi. This can be a pretty heated topic. Some people feel that BJJ is the gi. Some believe that training in the gi is unrealistic and therefore not necessary. You will hear arguments like “people don’t wear pajamas on the street”, or “you can’t understand true BJJ without training in the gi”. Both arguments are stupid.
Honestly if you take personal preference out of the picture, you should train specifically in and for the situation you intend to improve. If you want to get good at the sport no-gi BJJ, or you want to get good at modern MMA, then don’t wear a gi. If you want to get good at gi BJJ, then put on a damn gi. It’s pretty simple. Practice in what you want to get good in.
Here’s the thing about the way we do BJJ. We teach the pure art of BJJ. To me, that means for self defense. The problem with self defense is that you never know what you or your attacker will be wearing. So you’d better be good with both! That windbreaker/sweatshirt/denim jacket/whatever the hell you wear thicker that a t-shirt, may as well be a gi, because I’m gonna choke you with it. Seriously, look at the next ten people you see. Unless you’re in Maui in the summertime, at least half of them are wearing something that can function like a gi.
The reason we wear gis to train is a matter of practicality. If you trained in a sweatshirt to be more realistic you’d spend way too much money. Most of our techniques can be used in either situation with little or no modification. A few are very reliant on the clothing, but not many. There are some very intricate gi specific sport games out there, but as I’ve said before, the sport game isn’t my focus. From this base you will probably develop a recreational preference of which one you prefer to spend your free time doing. That’s ok. Just don’t forget the essentials….. of BOTH!