Now that we are in the month of September, the jiu-jitsu’s summer championships are coming to a close and competitors are starting to shift their focus to individual goals they have set. From here on, the main focus will be on the IBJJF’s NoGi championships as the NoGi Pan, Brazilian Nationals and Worlds are set to take off in the next three months. With this, competitors goals and plans for the rest of the year change.

For the rest of 2012, expect to see many of the top gi competitors continue to compete in the NoGi championships. But at the same time, expect to see some significant absences of big stars from these tournaments.

In the jiu-jitsu world, there are a lot of competitors who only prefer fighting in the gi and will often skip the NoGi season. They do this to prioritize themselves, opting either to teach seminars and run their school or to focus on next year’s major competition season that starts in Lisbon, Portugal, at the Europeans in January.

This year, expect the absences of World Champions such as Rodolfo Vieira, Marcelo Garcia, Alexandre Ribeiro and more. While on the other hand, there are many gi world champions that are confirmed to test their skills in NoGi, such as Caio Terra, Leandro “Lo,” Marcus “Buchecha,” and Lucas Lepri.

For those that do compete in NoGi, each has a different way of training for it. I talked to Rafael and Guilherme Mendes while in California, and they both said that when they train for NoGi competitions, they will not train in the gi for nearly three months. Rafael believes it would  interfere with his preparation if he trained with the gi while preparing for NoGi tournaments.

Well, whether the Mendes brothers’ method is correct or not, the results would suggest that the plan for training has paid off. In two ADCC appearances, Rafael has won two ADCC titles, becoming the youngest ever with two titles, having defeated his archrival “Cobrinha” in both the 2009 and 2011 final.

On the other end is Marcelo Garcia, a four-time ADCC champion. Garcia has a completely different method to his NoGi training. Garcia, now based in New York City, will actually continue to train more with the gi on, rather than train more NoGi. His reasoning is that he feels training with the gi helps him prepare for nogi events even more so than actually training in NoGi.

As odd as it may sound to some, just like Rafael Mendes, the results cannot be ignored. Garcia has won four ADCC titles in five appearances while medaling twice in the absolute categories, in 2005 and 2007.

However their routine may be set up, you know that the best NoGi competitors will be ready to get the NoGi season started on Sept. 29 at City College in New York City. Then, shortly after that will be the Brazilian Nationals in mid-October and World championships in early November.

Who do you think will be the big name in the 2012 NoGi competition season? Comment below and let yourself be heard! Osss!

Photo: Marcelo Garcia (top) sets up a submission (John Lamonica/Gracie Mag)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor

Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.