To Gi or Not to Gi - How a Simple Change in Strategy Saved My Fingers in BJJ

bjj advice bjj training Jul 02, 2023

 Do you remember the morning stiffness after a tough Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Gi practice? I certainly do. One morning, I woke up after a particularly grueling session, and I couldn't even stretch out my fingers. They felt like they were stuck in a permanent Gi grip, locked and loaded for a battle they had already fought the night before. It got me thinking: Is this really healthy for my fingers?

Challenging Tradition: My Struggles with Gi Grips

Like most BJJ practitioners at white belt level, I learned to use my Gi as an integral part of my BJJ strategy. Gripping the Gi gave me control, leverage, even comfort. But, with every session, I realized that these grips were taking a toll on my hands. I found myself nursing my fingers after practice, dealing with the stiffness, the strain, and the discomfort.

Finding Inspiration: The Lessons from Marcelo Garcia and Jean Jacques Machado

As I dealt with the morning stiffness and pain, I found inspiration in the stories of BJJ champions Marcelo Garcia and Jean Jacques Machado. Garcia, despite being a multi-time World Champion, is famous for favoring no-gi grips over Gi grips. Then there's Machado, a champion who, because of a congenital condition, had to build his BJJ career without the use of Gi grips.

Seeing these masters succeed without relying on Gi grips made me reconsider my approach. If they could do it, why couldn't I?

My Journey Towards Healthier Hands: Embracing No-Gi Grips

I decided to experiment. I began reducing my reliance on Gi grips and started exploring the world of no-gi grips. It was challenging, I admit, but also intriguing. It felt like I was discovering a new language within BJJ, one that spoke of versatility and adaptability. 

The Morning After: No More Stiffness

The difference was clear. I began to notice less strain on my fingers after training. The morning stiffness started to ease, and my hands felt healthier. Not only that, but I also felt my BJJ game becoming more versatile, ready for both Gi and No-Gi situations.

You Don't Need To Abandon Gi Grips Altogether

Obviously there is sometimes an advantage in gripping a sleeve of a collar, and just because you are mainly focusing on NoGi grips doesn't mean that you can't grab the occasional sleeve of make a Gi grip. Only, now you know you will only use them for a second or two. That makes a lot of difference and will ensure that you can keep on rolling pain free and with healthy fingers even at an older age. 

Your Hands, Your Choice

This isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, but it was a game-changer for me. If you've ever woken up to stiff fingers after a Gi practice, perhaps you might want to explore this path. Remember, it's your BJJ journey. Your hands. Your choice. Here's to healthier hands and a game that keeps evolving.

What are your thoughts on NoGi grips when using the Gi in BJJ?


"What If You Could Turn Your Back Without Fear Of Being Submitted...?"

We are born with the ability to defend anything in front of us. BUT, when it comes to attacks from the back we are extremely vulnerable!

YES, the back is hard to defend for obvious reasons. But there are ways to ensure you are safe, actually... more than safe, DANGEROUS to be exact!   

This is a secret attacking system that 99% of your opponents have never seen before.

Attacking From Turtle Is The Ace In Your Sleeve - Your Competitive Edge!

Learn more
Buy Now for $69

Revolutionize Your BJJ Game with the Upgraded, Unstoppable 

Lockdown 2.0

By mastering the lockdown, you'll quickly become very different and very technical in your modern approach to BJJ and MMA, ready to take on any challenge that comes your way.

Buy Now