Each and every day the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) has been paying more attention to “no-gi”, American expressions that means Jiu Jistu without “kimono” (Gi). At American Top Team Fort Lauderdale, there are specific days for this type of training: on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for adults and Fridays and Saturdays for children. No-gi jiu-jitsu is so popular here that we had to split in it two categories: beginners and advanced.
The most important difference in this type of training is the way the opponent is grabbed. The nape must be controlled, work the fencing, not to mention that trying to give that tie in order to rest a little is harder without any piece of uniform to hold to. This happens twice as fast and it is slippery.
But how Gracie’s and their pupils started to wear trunks and gave up the kimono for some hours in the closet? This trend had become popular on Rolls Gracie’s era (1951–1982), open minded coach who is considered a family legend. He was always tuned to test new, different modalities such as “sambô” and Olympic fight. Rolls used to take everything he learned to the “dojô” in Copacabana, where it was taught to parents and trainees.
Of course it was not the first time that Jiu-Jitsu fighters wore trunks on the tatami.
The no-gi jiu-jitsu training was also needed for the old “Vale-tudo” or No Holds Barred fighting (NHB), which is a modality created in the 1920’s with Master Carlos and Helio Gracie, his brother George and Carlson as great representatives of the family. Nowadays it is really used at American Top Team FTL to help MMA trainees as the Kimono is not worn in this modality.
Many fights of the past were performed with kimono, and George Gracie might have been the first of the brothers to fight NHB without the oriental outfit. There were times when the Jiu-Jitsu family would face many trainees of the “catch as catch can” modality. This fight is known as a Lancashire wrestling, a style that started in England and it is the first to do catch wrestling, which is a modality of the UFC ex-champion Josh Barnett and it is one of the great exponents.
Carlos Gracie Jr, who was a black belt by Rolls, kept the brother’s routine in the 1980’s, encouraging the training without kimono at the gyms, and spreading the sport years later with competitions as the Pan without Kimono and the World Jiu-Jitsu without Kimono, both created in 2007, that not only the shorts, requires a Lycra t-shirt as a uniform.
The first Jiu-Jitsu without kimono tournament started around 1995. In this year, Tahnoon bin Zayed, son of an Emirates king, who used to study unknown in a California University and got interested in Jiu-Jitsu when he watched Royce Gracie win the UFC. After training for three years with Coach Nelsinho Monteiro, he decided to create a UFC without punches with different modality fighters from around the world, inspired by other tournaments he watched in the USA. Professor Antonio Ricardo Liborio, co-founder of American Top Team, was an ADDC champion in 2015 who won Zé Mario Sperry at ADCC. Master Junior Fernandes went to the fight in Sao Paulo with his coach.
The grabbing fights world cup was born, as a try to mix all the fight styles under one unified rule. The first event happened in 1998 in the capital of the Emirates and it is called Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC). With significant prizes in the range of the thousands of dollars, the dispute attracted different athletes from Jiu-Jitsu, judô, sambô, wrestling and MMA to always fight aiming the opponent’s submission, which the name “submission” came from this type of fight. Historically, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the modality which had more champions in this tournament -the 1st absolute winner was the black belt José Mario Sperry.
To the Master Relson Gracie, the modality still keeps many differences from Jiu-Jitsu itself: “Jiu-Jitsu with no kimono is chess, with kimono is checkers”, compares Helio’s son. Lastly, the great Master Carlos Gracie, our pioneer, wanted to make sure to emphasize the importance of the classic Jiu-Jitsu outfit, so we never hang the kimono. “Only kimono or regular outfits can let the Jiu-Jitsu fighter use efficiently all the thousand and one resources of the Nippon art” taught the red belt.
And you, do you like to roll without kimono? Come and try our no-gi jiu-jitsu classes with no Kimono on – you will find our schedule via this link.