September 9, 2009

Bravo Interview (Gi vs. No Gi training)

Love him or hate him, the grappling genius of Eddie Bravo cannot be overlooked. A Jean Jacques Machado black belt, Abu Dhabi competitor, and notorious no gi grappling coach Eddie has earned my admiration and respect as someone who is passionate about what he does and wears that passion on his sleeve. I have taken a ton away from my training sessions with Eddie, especially my 1/2 guard game. Below are some thoughts taken from a MMA forum where Eddie shared some of his insight into no gi training. Here is a direct link. Some good food for thought.

When all the greco roman Olympians striving for the gold in the Olympics train both then I will bring back the gi for my students sake.

Marcelo is very good with the gi, but he doesn't separate from the pack in the gi like he does no-gi. In no-gi he is the supreme god. Think about the gi gods in the game over the last 10 years. Think of their names. Think of the ones that were KIngs in the gi but for some reason it never translated to ADCC. Forget about the few that did make the transition beautifully like Roger, Jacare, and of course the no-gi Jesus, Marcelo. Forget about them for just one second. Think about all the other amazing multiple time Mundial champions out there that never did much no-gi.

Why is that? Why is there so many?

Why does Marcelo do so much better no-gi than gi? Again, I know he has won the mundials a few times but I can think of a few guys that had unbelievable dominating reigns that eclipse what Marcelo has done with the gi.
But when it comes to no-gi, Marcelo is light years ahead of them. Why?

The answer is that, like all greco roman wrestlers, Marcelo understands that the clinch must be mastered. The clinch in every position must be mastered. Just like the plum clinch in Muay Thai, he who has the most polished plum clinch lands more knees.

Marcelo works on his clinch on a daily basis, clinching medicine balls, and clinching the over/under control while riding on dudes backs. He clinches and rides and works on his clinching endurance without even going for the choke. He'll ride and clinch for a few minutes working on his squeezing endurance before securing the choke. He understands that every different no gi position requires a different clinch to be mastered there. I know Marcelo, I am not talking out of my ass.

Marcelo is the no-gi god because he has a stronger, tighter, harder clinch than any other bjj player on the planet. Clinching and squeezing while moving into scoring position and clincing and squeezing while choking someone out. In no-gi grappling, it's all about how powerful your squeeze is.

To be super offensive no-gi you must develope your clinches AND master all clinches. Every second you train with the gi you are not training your clinch. You are training your yank and pull. Totally different. Totally different muscles, totally different base. If you want to get offensive in no-gi like Marcelo, then when are you working on your clinch? Unless you train no-gi grips with the gi on like some do, you are not working your clinch if you are grabbing the gi.

But you don't need to develope your clinch for de
fense. You need to develope pushing explosion for defense, which you can get from gi training but you also get that from no-gi training as well. That's why gi guys with no clinch are still very hard to finish in no-gi competition. Explosiveness, posture and core strength are more important for defense than developing a clinch.

Every time you train in the gi and set up a submission while yanking on collars and sleeves you are not working on your clinch, it's that simple.

When I get into these gi/no-gi debates, it always ends up with the gi people never giving me specific explanations of how the gi makes your nogi game "tighter". All they end up saying is, "Roger, Marcelo and Jacare train in the gi so I'm gonna train in the gi", no break downs like the ones I'm giving. I am giving you detailed explanations and anaolgies, but all I get in return is,"But you trained in the gi!" and stuff like that.

Machida, Anderson, and GSP all have black belts in Karate or TKD, does that mean that all mma fighters should start training Karate? Most submission fiends all came from the gi, that's all there was in the 90's. If you were fa
scinated by chokes and breaking limbs, you had to put a gi on. Even now, most schools that specialize in submissions make you wear a gi.

And the "What about defense?" arguement. Well, yes , it's harder to explode out of submissions with a gi, so you are working your defensive explosiveness but how do you defend leg locks with a gi? The answer is hold on to your opponent's collar. How does that make your no-gi game "tighter?"

How do you defend kimura's in the gi? The answer is grab on to your pants. How does that make your no-gi game "tighter?"

How do you defend against arm bars? The answer is hold on to your own collar. How does that make your no-gi game "tighter?"

How do you defend against rear naked chokes? The answer is cross your wrists under your chin and hold on to both your collars. How does that make your no-gi game "tighter?"

Even when you're on top caught in a triangle, a very popular escape is to grab your opponent's collar and push it down across his neck while stacking him. How does that make your no-gi defense better again?

Judo and Greco have the same goal, throw your opponent. Judo with yanking and pulling the gi, Greco with clinching and squeezing overhooks and underhooks.

Bjj and sub grappling have the same goal, pass guard and submit. BJJ with yanking and pulling the gi, sub grappling with clinching and squeezing overhooks and underhooks. That's it, I can't put it into simpler terms.

I am not saying only train no-gi, and that the gi sucks. The gi is fun for many people. If you like both train both, it's all sooo good.

All I'm saying is that the gi does not make you no-gi "tighter", it makes you better in the gi, that's it. The fact that a dude who has trained in a gi for years and one day decides to take it off and it turns out he's got game no-gi does not prove that the gi makes your no-gi game tighter. A tennis champion can hop over to raquetball and be pretty damn good from day 1, but that doesn't mean that all aspiring raquetball players should play tennis first to tighten up their game?

Most kickboxers in the 70's came from TKD, Karate, and Kung fu, does that mean that if you want to be a kickboxing champion you have to take TKD first? That's what they thought back then, but now we know that theory is no longer relavent.

Gi training does not make your no-gi tighter, it actually makes it looser. Watch ADCC 2003 and count how many times top bjj legends lost back control. It's like 40 times. It's quite incredible how many times these bjj superstars couldn't stay on anyone's back.

Then check how many times Marcelo has lost back control in his entire ADCC career, I think it's like twice. Diego Sanchez is the only dude I can remember escaping from Marcelo's back clinch, but it could've happend one or 2 more times. And that was before Diego decided to train in the gi, he was a pure no-gi guy. Imagine that. One of the only guys to ever escape Marcelo's back control DIDN'T come from a gi back ground. Hmmm.

If all this clinch talk is confusing you and you're not even sure what to make of it or if you should believe me, ask your instructor what he thinks about developing no-gi clinches. You never know, he might have a clinch developing system just like Marcelo's :)

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