There are three main ways that gi and no-gi grappling differ:
Strategy and Techniques
The first, obvious difference between gi and no-gi grappling is in the fashion statements. In gi grappling, practitioners wear a - gi. A “gi” can also be called a “kimono” and consists of a pair of heavy cotton drawstring pants, usually with reinforced knees, and a heavy cotton jacket with a thick collar and a hem that is notched on either side. One jacket lapel crosses over the other and the whole lot is kept closed with the famous belt. In No Gi Men tend to wear a rash guard, a t-shirt, and perhaps compression shorts under the pants. Women might wear a sports bra, a rash guard, and then compression shorts as well.
Another difference between gi and no-gi grappling has to do with strategy. In gi grappling, use of the gi - sleeves, collar, pant legs is permitted. Practitioners can execute collar chokes, or use the sleeve or the hem of the gi to tie up an opponent’s arm or hand.
In no-gi grappling, grabbing the clothes is generally not allowed. Instead, practitioners can try to control an opponent by gripping the body’s natural handles: the neck, the wrist, the elbow, the knee, the hips, etc. This is also allowed in gi grappling, but is the only option in no-gi. The lack of heavy cotton cloth to soak up sweat in no-gi grappling also tends to affect the pace of a match and the ease with which an opponent can slip out of a bad position.
There is now a no-gi ranking system in place in which students can rank up within the discipline.