Avoiding the Rat’s Nest

Tips on how to wear your hair during jiu-jitsu so it stays in place and doesn’t get in the way of your roll

Location: Sherwood Park, AB

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Photo by: BJJ World

By now, I’m sure one of your partners on the mats has had long hair. No matter how much you try, you always end up kneeling on, pulling, or getting their hair wrapped up in your fingers. Avoiding the rat’s nest they have on their head seems to be impossible, and at the end of every roll, there’s always bits or even chunks of hair around you. This can be frustrating and often painful for those with long hair. Here are a few tips and tricks to help make the hair pulling experience a little more tolerable.

Photo by: O Magazine

The first style, and possibly one of the most popular, is the classic double French braid. Start by parting your hair straight down the middle. Make sure its fully brushed out so that it’s soft and there’s no knots. If you have curly hair, it might be helpful to add some hair oil to keep frizz down during the roll.  

Now, you can take 2 strands of hair and hold them in one hand. Take a third strand, and hold it in the opposite hand. You then can start with a traditional braid (cross the right strand over the center strand, passing it over to the other hand, then do the same with the left strand). As you’re working your way down, slowly begin to add more hair to the strand that is about to be crossed over. The less hair you choose to use with every “cross-over”, the more intricate the braid will look. By the time you’ve reached the nape of your neck, you should have all of your hair incorporated into the braid. 

Photo by: ladiesonlybjj

The second style is a little (or a lot) easier than the first one. If you’re looking for a quick fix to tame your mane in between rounds, this one is definitely the best option. First, you’re going to want to brush your hair out, and put it into a high pony tail. Once you have the pony tail in, you may begin to work on a traditional braid. Make sure you pull all of the hair as tight as possible with every cross-over to help keep your hair in. Once you’ve fully braided your pony tail, use another band to keep it from falling out. Spraying hairspray directly on top of both pony tail holders will help keep your look lasting through class. 

Do pony tails drive you nuts? No problem! Simply take the braided pony tail from above, and twist it into a bun. You may want to add a third or even fourth pony tail holder to the mix, depending on how thick your hair is, to help hold it in place. Add hairspray to keep it in place. 

There are so many different ways to put your hair up for Jiu Jitsu. Do they have to be pretty? Absolutely not. Just as long as it stays out of your face (and maybe your mouth), I’d say you’re doing a good job! If we’re going to be realistic, it’s impossible to avoid the rat’s nest unless you’re brushing your hair out between each and every round, and even that’s no guarantee. Sometimes, something as simple as a pony tail can go a long way. They’re easy to throw in, and they tend to do a good job most of the time. Try playing around with your hair to see what works best for you! It’ll be time well spent, and it’ll help you keep all of your hair on your head during class. 


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