I recently asked someone if they were competing no gi, and they said they weren’t because they sucked at it. This doesn’t even make sense to me. I know my no gi needs work, which is exactly the reason I’m competing in submission wrestling tournaments. Instead of thinking “I’m not good at being gi-less, so I shall always fight in a gi!”, I thought “I rely on gis too much, what can I do to remedy that?” For me the answer was to take it off, and see what happened. So far I have resorted to involuntary hair-pulling and clothes-grabbing, but hopefully with more practice I will figure out better (legal) ways to control people.
If the last no gi competition I did had been gi, I am almost positive I would have prevailed. I’ve gotten pretty decent at using a gi to my advantage, so now I’m trying to learn how to fight without one. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually walk around town with my gi on, and I don’t often see other people wearing them, either. I don’t want to only be able to use my jiu-jitsu to win matches. Besides, getting better at no gi should help to make my gi game stronger.
It’s easy to fall into the comfort of just doing the things you’re good at, and not expanding into new territory. I’m not saying there isn’t value in having a solid understanding of your strengths, but working on your weaknesses can make you more well-rounded, and could mean the difference during those inevitable times when your A game isn’t working. It’s not possible for everyone to be good at everything, but it makes more sense to me to at least try.