You have not experienced the best life has to offer until someone has strangled you with your own clothing. It's something worth putting on any CV, when you can kill someone with their own collar.
Nowhere will this be done so many times to you as in training traditional Gi-Jiujitsu. It's a martial art that allows the smaller and weaker person to truly defeat the much larger stronger opponent. "My son asked me. 'Hey dad, is there such thing as super powers. I'm like...Jiujitsu" - Jocko Willink In my opinion, Jiujitsu is one of the best and most enjoyable martial arts to learn. To some it is considered to be king of the grappling arts. Compared with the many styles of Japanese Jiujitsu and others martial arts, Brazilian Jiujitsu focuses its training almost solely on the ground.
The main body of the discipline can be separated into two categories; traditional Gi-Jiujitsu and no-Gi which developed during the transitional stages of Mixed Martial Arts in order to make what stood out as one of the most effective grappling arts more suitable to train for the evolving rules of the cage. For three years I trained no-Gi based around MMA in University. After leaving, it would be another six months before I trained martial arts again. The aspect of training I feared I would lose the most skill in was grappling.
Although I had a background training Karate and Kung Fu in a Gi, I was still blissfully unaware of how different it was to grapple whilst wearing a Gi. The difference I found in training was startling, soon it was made clear to me that I had not lost any skill because I never had any.
As training progressed I discovered I was playing a game in which I had no skill at all. Because grappling in a Gi was something I simply had not done before. Even when I saw an arm bar coming a mile away, I found myself with no idea of how to defend myself from the submission whilst protecting myself from an impending Gi-choke at the same time. I was so happy to be back at training. "You've got a nice neck for choking" - 'Judo' Gene Lebell Even for MMA training, I think the Gi is underrated. A good exercise to consider is sparring under MMA rules whilst wearing the Gi, much like Combat Sambo. The grip permitted from the Gi creates advantages and disadvantages. Even a simple slip or use of leverage to escape a dominating position can become vastly more complicated when your opponent can grasp onto any part of your clothing and give you something new to fight against.
Suddenly when someone has you mounted, whilst planning your escape for an incoming arm bar you also have to contend with defending your collar before your opponent gets a good grip. It changes any game plan you had before, and I found that out at the worse time. Only when I was in a losing position did I realise how many of my original techniques were made redundant by the inclusion of the Gi.
It was an amazing paradox to have some skills and still find yourself relatively helpless in an art you thought you were very familiar with. It made me want to learn more. Any style that uses a Gi; karate, judo, aikido etc, employ it as a means of controlling an opponent. This also simulates the shirts, the collars and belts that opponents in the street will be wearing. Much like Judo, throws in Jiujitsu are made easier once you have a solid grip on your opponents clothing or belt, and allows you to keep some manner of control over them so long as your have grip on their Gi.
You stand more of a chance stopping your opponent from escaping the clinch if you can keep hold of his Gi with even one hand, and give yourself the chance to re-establish control over him. However, anything that you can do to your opponent they can do to you just as easily.
The most significant aspect of the Gi to the ground game is the collar chokes, which can applied from a variety of positions whilst grappling. Not only after taking your opponents back like with the rear naked choke. Notice during Judo matches, when an opponent's back is taken the Judoka may grip his Gi to protect himself from a choke. "BJJ is like a 3D puzzle" - BJJ Instructor No-Gi BJJ relieves a practitioner of some potential problems, such as the collar choke and that their opponent cannot relay on grabbing hold of their rash-guard in order to establish a dominant position.
There is a stronger emphasis on leverage and positioning required in order to gain control of an opponent who cannot simply be gripped hold of by their clothing. In order to establish control, practitioners are better served controlling their opponents entire limbs.
An example of this is fighting to prevent your guard from being passed, without the Gi it is made easier to turn and manoeuvre on the ground to maintain distance. There are techniques that become readily available with the Gi, particularly the many angles for collar chokes and the extremely unpleasant hangman's knot.
Without the Gi, there is more room for techniques such as guillotines and the anaconda choke. Also there is no need to retie your belt between every roll. The best way to advance your Jiujitsu game and become a more complete ground fighter is to train both.
"If all else fails, grab the foot and wrench that $%£@*&$#!"