Do Belts Matter In No-Gi? [Explained]

If you’ve delved into the world of jiu jitsu, you’ve likely encountered the age-old tradition of belts. Belts signify rank and skill level, serving as both a source of motivation and a symbol of one’s progress in the sport. But what about the world of no-gi BJJ? Do belts hold the same significance in the absence of the traditional gi attire?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the intriguing topic of “Belts in No-Gi” to help you understand their role, relevance, and the ongoing debate surrounding them.

Do You Wear a Belt with No-Gi?

One of the first questions that often arises when discussing belts in no-gi is whether you actually wear a belt in this variant of BJJ.

The answer is both straightforward and intriguing: no, you don’t wear a belt in no-gi. Unlike traditional gi-based BJJ, where belts are an integral part of the uniform, practitioners of no-gi BJJ typically train without belts.

In no-gi BJJ, the emphasis shifts away from traditional attire and towards practical techniques that can be applied in a variety of real-life scenarios.

Do Belts Matter in No-Gi?

Now that we’ve established that belts aren’t worn in no-gi BJJ, the natural follow-up question is whether belts hold any significance in this sub-discipline. To answer this, we need to delve deeper into the purpose of belts in BJJ.

Belts in traditional BJJ serve multiple functions. They indicate a practitioner’s rank and experience, allowing for a structured learning environment and creating goals for advancement.

Belts also symbolize personal growth and perseverance, as progressing from one belt to another requires dedication and hard work.

In no-gi BJJ, these functions are still relevant but manifest differently. While you won’t see practitioners wearing colored belts, the concept of rank and skill progression still exists. Instructors and academies often have their own ways of recognizing and rewarding progress in no-gi BJJ.

For example, some academies may use rashguards or patches with different colors to signify rank, while others may use a system of stripes or simply rely on verbal recognition.

no gi rashguards
Ranked no gi rashguards

So, while the visual aspect of belts is absent in no-gi, the underlying principles of skill development, hard work, and progression remain intact.

The significance of belts in no-gi ultimately depends on the perspective of the practitioner. Some argue that the absence of belts fosters a more relaxed and egalitarian training environment, while others believe that rank recognition is essential for motivation and goal-setting.

In the end, the importance of belts in no-gi BJJ is subjective and can vary from person to person.

Does No-Gi BJJ Have Belts Reddit Discussion

The debate over belts in no-gi BJJ is not limited to the gym mat; it extends into online communities, including Reddit. A quick search on the platform and martial arts forums reveals numerous discussions and opinions on this topic.

Key Points
– 10th Planet JJ is the only no-gi school that gives belts.
– NOGI is often a term used by those without formal grading in BJJ.
– Legitimate BJJ is typically practiced in the gi with belts.
– No-gi may offer equivalent rankings like colored stripes on shorts or rashguards.
– Competing in IBJJF no-gi competitions might not be possible without gi ranking.
– Suggests focusing on skill development rather than getting belted/graded.
– Emphasizes the importance of skills over rankings in MMA.
– Suggests finding a school offering both gi and no-gi classes.
– Questions the importance of belts in no-gi if not competing in gi classes.
– Believes belts are not valid in no-gi without proper BJJ training.
– Notes that no-gi is considered submission grappling.
– Disagrees with the claim that belts are not given in no-gi, provides a counterexample.
– Disputes the idea that no-gi is merely for those without gi grading.
– Suggests that gi training is relevant for MMA and street fights.
– Agrees with focusing on skill development instead of belts.
– Suggests that if a gym requires gi training, belt promotions may not happen in no-gi.
– Shares personal experience of training exclusively in no-gi without a focus on belts.
– Some gyms may promote based on no-gi skill, but they are rare.
– Emphasizes the importance of gi, no-gi, and self-defense aspects of BJJ.
– Highlights the different categories within BJJ.
Main Point
Believes that promotions should not be restricted to Gi classes, no Gi promotions should also be allowed.
Mentions that coaches sometimes award belts in no-gi classes if earned, and competitions like NAGA and ADCC don’t care about Gi belts.
Expresses indifference towards the topic, implying that the belt discussion may not be significant.
Asks if someone can be promoted based on their no-gi performance, even if they have a lower Gi belt, and questions the instructor’s discretion.
Shares personal experience that suggests they don’t promote in such cases and suggest attending Gi classes.
Suggests that skills in Gi and no-gi can be different, implying that success in one may not translate directly to success in the other.
Emphasizes that belts should represent the person who awarded them, regardless of whether they train in the Gi or not.
Points out that it goes both ways, mentioning that Gi practitioners may also have to compete at their Gi belt level in no-gi competitions.
Expresses support for promoting individuals based on their preference for Gi or no-gi training, suggesting it’s reasonable to do so.
Raises the issue of potential perpetual white belt status for those who never attend Gi classes.
Suggests that traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coaches may emphasize Gi training due to historical reasons and competition rules.
Questions the use of belts as dividers in no-gi competitions and suggests alternative ranking systems.
Shares a personal opinion that no-gi grapplers should not receive Gi belt promotions and should train in both to round out their knowledge.
Agrees with the idea of training both Gi and no-gi in the beginning and specializing later in one’s career.
Discusses the potential importance of belts for gaining respect and credibility in martial arts circles outside of training.
Points out the discrepancy between the title and the body of the post, highlighting that it’s all a construct.
Asks why someone would need a belt if they never put on a Gi.

This Reddit discussion illustrates the diverse perspectives within the BJJ community regarding the role of belts in no-gi. It’s clear that opinions on this topic vary widely, with some valuing belts for motivation and recognition, while others consider them superfluous in the no-gi context.

Are No-Gi BJJ Tournaments Categorized by Belt Rank?

Another aspect to consider when pondering the importance of belts in no-gi BJJ is the tournament scene.

Do no-gi BJJ tournaments categorize participants by their belt ranks?

In most cases, no-gi BJJ tournaments categorize participants by belt rank but some may not.

Unlike traditional gi tournaments – such as the IBJJF tournaments – where competitors are grouped by belt color, some no-gi competitions use a more open weight-class system. This means that you could potentially face opponents of varying skill levels, from white belts to black belts, in the same bracket.

The rationale behind this approach is to create a more level playing field and encourage fair competition.

In no-gi BJJ, success is primarily determined by technique, agility, and strategy rather than the color of your belt. This format allows practitioners to test their skills against a wider range of opponents and adapt to different styles.

Most no-gi tournaments do offer specific divisions for different belt ranks, especially at the higher levels of competition. These divisions cater to those who prefer to compete against opponents with similar experience levels.

In such cases, belts can play a role in determining which division a competitor enters.

Still, it’s important to emphasize that even in these scenarios, the emphasis remains on skill and technique rather than belt color.

Wrapping It Up

In the world of Brazilian jiu jitsu, belts have long been a symbol of rank, experience, and personal growth. However, in the context of no-gi BJJ, the significance of belts takes on a different form. While you won’t find practitioners wearing colored belts, the principles of skill progression, hard work, and recognition of achievement remain integral to the practice.

The debate over the importance of belts in no-gi BJJ continues, with practitioners holding varying opinions on their role and relevance.

Some view belts as essential for motivation and goal-setting, while others believe that they are unnecessary in a discipline that emphasizes practical techniques over tradition.


Ultimately, whether belts matter in no-gi BJJ is a matter of personal perspective.

What’s important is that, regardless of the presence or absence of belts, the spirit of growth and learning thrives in the world of BJJ. Whether you choose to wear a belt or not, the journey of self-improvement and mastery of the art remains at the heart of this captivating martial art.

As you navigate your own path in no-gi BJJ, remember that the most crucial factor is your dedication to learning, refining your techniques, and embracing the challenges that come your way.

Belts may signify progress, but it’s the skills you develop and the experiences you gain on the mat that truly define your journey in jiu jitsu, whether it’s in the gi or no-gi.

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