Many visiting grapplers who come to Rio de Janeiro enjoy training in the gi, but a growing number ask where they can find no gi training.
With the popularity of MMA across the world and a number of BJJ competitors also entering submission wrestling and no-gi BJJ competitions, training without the kimono is a popular request and one we always try to accommodate.
What may surprise many people is that it is not as common to find no gi training as you would expect. Many gyms do not have dedicated no gi classes, with the majority of the classes offered BJJ gyms in Rio de Janeiro focussing 100% on gi training. Instead, no gi training is often arranged outside of normal training times specifically for competitors.
There are a few academies that offer no gi training, but these are mostly luta livre and MMA gyms. Luta livre is a dynamic style of submission wrestling that has produced many notable grapplers and MMA fighters, and for grapplers looking to train exclusively no gi this is probably the best option.
None of the major jiu-jitsu gyms offer no gi training on their timetables. You will need to speak to the ‘professor responsavel‘ (head coach) to discuss the possibility of training no gi, as the sessions are usually invite only. If you gain access to them, you will often be training with experienced competitors and higher grades, making them ‘sink or swim’. These sessions are not for beginners and if you are not already an experienced grappler you will most likely not be invited to train.
MMA teams will have no-gi grappling practice, but you may find that these sessions involve striking on the floor to simulate a fight. A rule of thumb is that in these MMA / no gi sessions, a grappler wearing gloves signals that he is ready to train strikes, whereas a grappler without will focus exclusively on submissions.
Though no gi is not as popular in Rio de Janeiro as you may have thought, there are still many places you can find good no gi training. Ask around at whichever gym you train to find out how the team organise their no gi sessions.
No Gi Tournaments in Rio
Something you may find is that most team will only focus on no gi training a few weeks out from no gi tournaments. The FJJRio holds the ‘Estadual Sem Kimono’ (State no gi tournament) in August, while the no gi Brazilian nationals as held by the IBJJF take place around October/November. There are also occassional luta livre tournaments open to grapplers of all styles.
No Gi Training At The Connection Rio House
An advantage of staying at the Connection Rio house is that you will be among others who also enjoy no gi training. We have mats and plenty of space, and it’s not uncommon for people to arrange their own no gi drilling or training sessions among themselves.
From rolling with BJJ black belts, experienced wrestlers or pro MMA fighters, you’ll find all the no gi training you need right here in Rio de Janeiro.