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I found an interesting blog where the author, Keith Owen, has three long posts arguing the merits of gi vs. no-gi:
I agree with many of his points and I also think there is beauty and practicality inherent in both methods.
One point that he brought up is the idea that those who practice no-gi jiu-jitsu or grappling have no idea where they stand. I agree. I have been taking BJJ for a few years at different no-gi academies and I would like to have earned rank. I also know that there are many chokes and techniques that the gi allows. Even though I have a few years experience, when I do join a school that wears the gi I will have to start from the beginning.
Owen also wrote that, in his experience, he has seen many no-gi schools instructors that were unprofessional or lacking in techniques. I can’t argue with that, yet, in my limited experience with academies, I have found instructors to be very technical and who have earned their stripes through BJJ, MMA, wrestling, Judo, etc. However, some choose to follow the no-gi route.
I also think that so many students go to no-gi schools because of the lack of availability of traditional BJJ schools. Further, many no-gi schools do extremely well in preparing their students for competitions and MMA.