This question came up the other night when I was talking to one of our students who said that he is about to get rid of his gi totally.
This seems to be the age old question in jiu jitsu.
The funny thing is that there are proponents of either method that are often very convinced that their way is the ONLY way.
The truth is that both methods have their pros and cons.
For the record I train in BOTH methods.
The pros to no-gi training are that the lack of a gi forces you to use grips that don’t depend on clothing.
Underhooks, overhooks, and neck/head control allow you to control your opponent regardless of what he’s wearing.
To me this is a little more realistic in terms of habits and skills to develop.
Now yes it is true that people often wear jackets and that developing gripping skills with the jacket allows for more chokes and points of control than training without the gi does. This is why I feel that jiu jitsu practitioners should at least have some gi experience if they choose to train without the gi.
The cons to training only with the gi are that if the gi is taken out of the equation, the gi fighter will have to adapt his skills on the fly to the lack of grips he has available and if he has no experience at all without the gi he could have serious problems adapting.
In the end, regardless of what method you choose to train in, I can sincerely advise you to train in the other side as well. This can only be beneficial for you in the long run and will make your game more complete.