Emil Fischer Explains Why He Competed in a Gi at ADCC Trials

One of the many quirks of the ADCC ruleset is its incredibly lax approach to the competitor’s uniform. While essentially every single competitor chooses to compete in typical no-gi gear (shorts or spats, rash guard or t-shirt), the ADCC does allow competitors to wear a gi.

In the early days of the ADCC championships, which were the early days of competitive submission grappling, some competitors chose to wear the gi; that practice is now very uncommon. At the ADCC East Coast Trials, heavyweight competitor Emil Fischer turned heads as he was the only grappler to compete in a gi. Fischer lost his first-round match, but after the tournament, explained why he chose to compete in a gi (complete with a poorly-tied white belt).

Good news competed at the @adcc_official trials today, wore a gi, entered the 99+ kg division it seemed like a good idea.

Bad news: lost by a sweet knee bar. I swept my opponent with a funky forearm crush sweep got on top felt good but when he recovered half guard he hit a remarkably cool knee bar from bottom.

As much as it may seem like a big troll or setting myself up with excuses I had reasoning for my choices:

1. The gi adds significantly more friction which means my game becomes more potent in the setting

2. The prohibition against grabbing the gi serves as a psychological advantage because my opponents are compelled to grab and when they’re not allowed to it causes confusion

3. The optics are hilarious

My reasoning for entering the heavier division was that I felt I had a better chance of being faster and more aggressive, and the field was significantly less stacked than the under 99

This of course backfired in a way, had I not been wearing gi pants I may have been able to rotate out of the knee bar and had I entered a weight class with people my size I may have had a less physically imposing first opponent but I made my bed and laid in it. Back to the drawing board and on to the next one. Which is next weekend.

As Fischer explains, wearing the gi in competition was a strategic choice. Because his opponent can’t grab the gi, Fischer believes it could work to his advantage by increasing friction and confusing his opponents, who would have to fight the urge to grab the gi. Finally, Fischer gives a nod to the hilarity of the situation.

View Fischer’s match and his breakdown below. According to him, the gi did help in certain ways, but ultimately may have cost him the match because he was unable to escape the match-ending kneebar.

Despite the white belt he wore in competition, Emil Fischer is a legitimate high-level competitor. He is a three-time no-gi Pans champion, once at Masters 1 blue belt, once at Masters 1 purple belt, and once at Masters 2 brown belt. He has also seen success on the Fight To Win stage, collecting a variety of belts at purple and brown belt.

Will any other competitors try out Fischer’s theory and wear the gi in competition?

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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