We all know that Judo is effective in grabbing your opponent by the collar or sleeve and throwing them, but the question is, does Judo work without Gi’s being worn?
Judo can work without a Gi because you can substitute the garment grabs by the traditional wrestling under and overhooks. This works well in controlling your opponent when setting up a throw. Aside from that, Judo still has submissions you can do after transitioning the fight to the ground.
Still not convinced if Judo works without Gi? I’ve done a quick outline of reasons you might find helpful.
Is Judo useless without a Gi?
Judo is still effective even without a Gi. You can find collar grab alternatives to make Judo throws work without the thick Judo jacket. Judo has the best submissions you can use to defend yourself during a real-life, No-Gi scenario.
Judo doesn’t mainly depend on collar grabbing. Judo is a mixture of techniques such as Ashi Waza (foot technique), Te Waza (hand technique), and Koshi Waza (hip technique,) so the removal of Gi is not much of a problem.
Collar and arm grabs are done to control your opponent’s body while looking for the perfect timing to explode. Instead of those grabs, you can do overhook and underhooks.
Overhooks and underhooks are Wrestling clinching techniques that are highly effective in setting up throws, takedowns, and tackles. No-Gi BJJ adapts this clinch technique as well.
After performing a successful throw with the new clinching substitute, you can proceed to execute all the Judo submissions you know.
Does No-Gi Judo exist?
Typically, there is no No-Gi Judo in the martial art world. Unlike Jiu-Jitsu, which has No-Gi BJJ, Judo chose to maintain and improve its traditional fighting style while wearing the Gi.
But as Judo grows bigger, some modern, high-level Judokas have begun playing with the idea of No-Gi Judo. They’ve started teaching techniques online to adapt Judo moves without the Gi.
Having extra knowledge of No-Gi Judo is better when it comes to defending yourself in real life. No-Gi BJJ has more practical techniques that don’t rely on Gi-grabbing.
No-Gi BJJ gave birth to Combat BJJ, which is No-Gi with strikes.
Who knows if there would be a future Combat Judo; if so, that would be a better and more dangerous form of self-defense.
Do Judo throws work in real life?
Judo is a close-quarter combat martial art. To be able to apply your moves, you need to be up close to your opponent and perform arm and different garment grabs.
You can’t expect your opponent to wear a Judo Gi in the streets. Without the Gi, collar and other garment grabs are usually impossible.
The lack of a Gi doesn’t make Judo less effective in the streets. You can go to a clinch instead of a grab; then, it’s still possible for you to have a hold on your opponent to prepare for a throw.
You can work your way to a throw and a possible submission in the clinch.
Some Judo throws, though, are hard to execute when your enemy’s not wearing a Gi.
Don’t lose hope; there are many throws you can try that don’t mainly base their fundamentals on wearing a Gi.
Judo throws that work without a Gi
Almost all Judo throws work in a No-Gi scenario; below are some of the best to try without a Gi.
1. Sumi Otoshi (Corner drop)
The Corner drop is an excellent No-Gi Judo throw because you can substitute the collar grab. Instead of holding the collar, grab the neck-whole of your opponent’s shirt instead.
This will give you good control of your opponent’s upper body. Mix the shirt grab by holding an arm of your opponent to help you with your setup.
To perform this throw, push your enemy while grabbing their shirt. After gaining enough momentum, lift your opponent’s shirt slightly and then push them mid-air.
2. Harai Goshi (Hip throw)
A Judo hip throw is quickly done with or without a Judo Gi. As long you have an excellent grip on one of your opponent’s arms, then you should be fine.
Along with a good arm hold, you must also know when and how to pivot your foot and throw your opponent with your hips.
Judo is a famous No-Gi throw. It’s done by famous UFC fighters such as Ronda Rousey, the former UFC women’s Bantamweight champ.
Different action movies also use this move in their fight scenes without wearing any Gi.
3. Morote Gari (Two-hand reap)
Morote Gari is the famous double-leg takedown. You don’t need to grab a collar or any part of the Gi. All you need to do is get close to your opponent.
Control your opponent’s arms by locking up an underhook and overhook combo.
When you find the right timing, change levels and pull both of your enemy’s legs through the back of their knees.
Be sure to go down with your opponent. What you’ll do is to remain standing while they fall and pin them after.
4. Kibisu Gaeshi (Heel trip reversal)
Kibisu Gaeshi or a heel trip reversal is an excellent choice if your enemy is not wearing a Judo Gi. Your main goal on this throw is to pull your enemy’s foot and break their balance.
To do this, you must close the distance and control both of your enemy’s arms. Slightly push them to measure their strength and do an abrupt pull to give the move an element of surprise.
After the pull, immediately change levels and pull your opponent’s foot away from them. This will cause them to lose their balance and fall down on their butt.
From there, you can continue pining them and setting up submissions that are best for the situation.
This throw is also great for small Judokas to try.
Can you grab clothing with Judo?
Judo throws are based on collar and overall Gi grabbing. Judokas do this to maintain close distance. They also grab clothing to set up various throws.
While in the cloth grabbing stage, Judokas tend to conserve their energy and stay still. This is also a way of measuring their opponent’s strength and finding the right timing to explode.
Judo grabs are usually collar grabs. Doing a No-Gi scenario while wearing a rash guard and a short is impossible because, obviously, rash guards don’t have collars.
But you can always grab your opponent’s shirt in a real-life fight to get a good hold of ‘em.
If you’re lucky enough to fight a guy wearing a jacket or a long sleeve, it’s an easy night to execute your Judo moves and come out on top.
Joe Bloom is the lead author and editor of MMA Hive. Joe has been a passionate mixed martial artist in training since 2019, having studied Boxing and Muay Thai at BaliMMA and Soma Fight Club, as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with RitualsJJ.