There’s a lot to consider before trying BJJ. You have your physical capabilities, knowledge of the sport, and even your mental preparedness for training and competing. The last thing you’d probably think of even worrying about when doing BJJ is your hair.
There’s been a long debate about whether it’s okay or not to do BJJ with long hair. It isn’t illegal in the sport. In fact, there are a lot of long-haired BJJ practitioners out there.
Women have to deal with this problem mostly. However, some guys prefer sporting a long hairstyle too. If you’re one of those worrying about how you’ll fare in BJJ with a long hairstyle don’t skip this post.
Table of Contents
BJJ With Long Hair – What’s Allowed And What’s Illegal?
There are no rules in women’s or men’s BJJ that make long hair illegal. Aside from weight limits, there isn’t much that you need to worry about for BJJ. You’re free to sport any hairstyle you want but be prepared to face the downsides that come with it.
Now, let’s talk about competition rules.
Whether it is BJJ or MMA, intentional hair pulling is not allowed. There will be instances where long hair will be pulled back, but this is permitted if not intended.
This means you don’t have to worry about your hair being used against you during competition. If you want to look deeper into the rules, you can find more details on the IBJJf website.
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Training BJJ With Long Hair – Why It’s Not Recommended
You’ll rarely see any practitioner sporting long locks during training or in competition. That’s because competing or training with long hair comes with more downsides than good sides. Here’s why it’s not recommended by many:
1. It gets hot
The gi itself is a heavy and thick uniform. It can get hotter as you move, and your body also begins to heat up. It might not be evident, but doing BJJ with long hair can also contribute to that heat. This can cause you to get tired more quickly and sweat more.
2. It can get tangled
BJJ is a high-intensity sport. One moment you are on top, and the next, you are on your back. Because of its rapid movements and constant rolling action, your hair will likely get tangled during competition or training.
Aside from being painful, this might mean that you’ll have to cut your hair eventually because some tangles are no longer manageable.
3. It can block your view
It’s essential to have a clear view of your opponent and the current situation while practicing BJJ. Your long hair can get in the way of your line of sight. While you can push your hair back, you’ll be left vulnerable while you’re doing so.
In sports like MMA and BJJ, you can get in serious trouble if you leave your hands doing something else, even for a second.
4. It could be messy and unhygienic
Your hair is going to be a part of your body that will soak up sweat on the mats. Whether you like it or not, it will be unhygienic if you don’t take good care of it.
Aside from being the cause of potential diseases, your training partners and opponents will definitely not enjoy squaring up with you if your hair becomes smelly.
That being said, it also takes up more of your time to fix your hair before and after training or fighting.
5. It’ll drag you down
Lastly, your hair can drag you down in training or in fights.
Picture this; you’re just about to sweep your opponent who’s on top of you inside control. Then you feel a sharp pain upon squirming out because what do you know, your opponent’s legs are pinning down your hair!
This is a common scenario with long-hair BJJ. It’s very painful too. Again, this is often unintentional on your training partner or opponent’s end.
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How To Roll With Long Hair
If you’re doing BJJ with long hair, here are some tips you can use to roll safely:
1. Prioritize top position and guard passing
Guard passing will decrease your chances of unwanted long hair entanglement. If you play guard position and try to sweep, there are more possibilities that your hair might get stuck somewhere.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t play guard. However, it would be best to be on top and stay on top to protect your hair.
2. Escape side control as fast as possible
The more time you wait to shrimp and elbow escape to recover guard, the more exposed to cross-face control you are. This could be painful if you have long hair because your hair might get trapped while your training partner controls your head.
Check The side control 101 guide
3. If guard passing isn’t an option play open guards
Playing guards like the spider, De La Riva, or lasso will keep your opponents away from your long hair. These guards are not as beginner-friendly as a closed guard. But, they will help you protect a bit more your longer hair while doing BJJ.
Jiu-Jitsu is a pretty dynamic activity. And If you’re doing BJJ with long hair, chances are it might give you some trouble at first, but at some point, you’ll understand how to roll around those uncomfortable situations.
If you don’t believe me, don’t miss Jedi does Jiu-Jitsu on YouTube. He’s a purple belt with long hair, and he’s been training for quite some time.
Check some of his videos sparring and try to identify some of Jedi’s rolling strategies with longer hair.
What Should You Do About Your Long Hair During BJJ?
Please don’t cut it, that’s for sure.
You don’t have to sport a short hairstyle just to train or fight in BJJ. Instead, it would help if you tied or braided your hair before a fight. There are various ways to do this.
Tie your hair as high as possible
A simple ponytail using thick hair ties should do the trick when it comes to BJJ training. However, remember that you should tie your hair back as high as possible. It can get uncomfortable to lay on your back and have your hair tied lower.
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Go for braids during competitions
Just check out the UFC. Every fighter with long hair takes the time and effort to get their hair braided for competition—everyone except Clay Guida, of course.
Braids are one of the best styles for long hair in a BJJ competition. Aside from being tight, braids are very secure and are basically impossible to remove during a fight.
check out this video if you want some inspiration on how you should style your long hair.
Tips To Take Care Of Your Long Hair While Training BJJ
If you’re going to be doing BJJ with long hair, you need to be ready to take care of it. It’s not just for you. It’s for your opponent and your training partner as well.
1. Wash before and after training or competition
Wash your hair immediately before and after BJJ. Don’t let the sweat last long on your hair. Remember that it isn’t just your sweat. That’s from others too. You’ve also likely picked up some dirt and other bacteria while rolling.
2. Dry your hair before BJJ
Invest in a good hairdryer. You must go into BJJ with dry hair. This can prevent bacteria build-up. Additionally, it makes your hair better conditioned for physical activity as well.
3. Best hair care products to use
If you already have a favorite shampoo and conditioner, there’s no need to switch brands. As long as your choice of hair care products results in strong and smooth hair, that will be okay for BJJ.
Doing BJJ With Long Hair – Final Thoughts
You shouldn’t have to cut your hair to train in BJJ. There are lots of hobbyists and professionals that sport a long hairstyle. Just make sure to understand the downsides of having long hair in BJJ to prepare for it.
Additionally, make sure to take care of your hair more intensively. Your training partners and opponents are going to thank you for it.