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  • Does Judo Work Without a Gi?

Today, I want to talk to you about something self defense related that's probably never on your mind: clothing.

Have you ever thought about what you wear might affect your ability to defend yourself in a fight? No one ever does. However, the clothes you wear impacts your range of motion, our visibility, and even your grip.

Judo without a Gi

Judo is an excellent martial art for self-defense

 Judo is a close-quarter combat sport or martial art. To be able to apply your Judo moves, you need to be up close because Judo is mostly made up of grappling techniques.

However, your opponent is NOT going to be wearing the traditional Judo Gi in the streets.

Most traditional Judo clubs teach gripping and holding the Gi as handles for both throws and pins. 

Here's the truth: a lack of a Gi doesn't make Judo any less effective in the streets. Sure, a gi provides some advantages in terms of grip and leverage, but all you have to do is modify your grips to be more similar to Greco Roman wrestling grips in order to make your throws work. Almost all throws that rely on grabbing the gi can be adapted to work without it. Instead of grabbing someone's collar or sleeve, you would an overhook or underhook grip, or even a body lock, to control your opponent.

In addition, the grips you take on a Judo Gi can also be done on your opponent's street clothes, so the removal of a gi is not much of a problem. Think about it: an expensive suit or a leather jacket might not look like a gi, but they function in much the same way. They can be grabbed and used to control your movements. Even a T-shirt can be used to throw your attacker. Of course It may rip in the middle of your throw, but maybe your opponent is already thrown by that point.

Let's take one of the first throws taught to beginners as an example. Osoto Gari is a major outside reap. Normally, this takedown technique involves grabbing your opponent's gi and using it to trip them. But without a gi, you can still execute the throw by placing your palm under your opponent's chin and pushing their head backwards to off balance them.

Some throws, like the hip toss, can be executed in No Gi with very little modification. These are throws where you control your opponent's body instead of their clothing

Of course, there are limitations and there are some techniques simply won't work as well without that extra grip, like a collar choke or lapel choke. But with enough practice and creativity, you can adapt your skills to any situation.

Keep in mind that almost all street fights end up in a clinch. An unskilled opponent will always try to grab; a hold of you by pulling your head down or trying to shoot in for a tackle.  This give you the perfect oppurtunity to use your No Gi Judo techniques.

I really believe that if you train in No Gi judo, you will have a a greater understanding of the principles of Judo. 

Judo without a Gi

Ultimately, the most important thing in self-defense is to be aware of your surroundings and prepared for anything. That means knowing your own capabilities and limitations, as well as being able to improvise when necessary. Training without a gi can make you a more well-rounded martial artist, improve your physical conditioning, and prepare you for real-world self-defense situations. And who knows? Maybe that leather jacket will turn out to be your greatest weapon after all.