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What's the difference between gi and no-gi Brazilian Jiujitsu?

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In Brazilian jiu-jitsu with a gi you wear the funny Asian pajamas. In no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu you wear shorts and usually a t-shirt or rash-guard top. You can grab onto the funny pajamas but you can't grab onto any clothes in no-gi.

The gi absorbs sweat, adds friction, and provides a wide variety of grips to choke, throw, and control from. Often the rules in no-gi are more permissive, particularly with regards to leg locks. Brazilian jiu-jitsu with the gi has more carry-over from judo. Without the gi there is more carry-over from modern and Catch wrestling. Wearing the gi is more traditional. Playing without the gi has more applicability to mixed martial arts.

Both are applicable to self-defense. Both are valid jiu-jitsu.

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also in competition, its not done by belt rank –  Keith Nicholas Dec 16 '13 at 22:12
    
Also in most competitions you are allowed to grab onto your own clothes in no-gi. Just for completeness sake, as this can be helpful in certain spots. –  AyaProgram Dec 17 '13 at 13:28
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