Friday, July 1, 2011

Jiu-Jitsu Hair for Women.

Let me first say that I have naturally wavy thick highly unmanageable hair.  It is nether straight nor curly, and it takes a great deal of effort to make it look half decent.  So I have always been a pony tail kind of girl.

And now, the evolution of my hair though BJJ.

When I started BJJ my hair looked like this:
Pardon the horrificness of my hair, and general failure of this picture.   I had a hard time finding a picture of my hair down from way back then.

The long hair lasted a month tops.  It got trapped under knees and elbows.  It got pulled out while people were choking me.  It even got caught under my own back, trapping my head up ward and neck exposed.  I have no idea how Allie manages her epic amounts of long blonde beautiful hair while she grapples.
Note how her long hair is actually nice to look at versus my former rats nest.

Out of frustration, I chopped off about 18 inches of hair and wore it like this for a while.
Shorter pony tail... much more easily managed.

This length was more manageable, but still tended to get trapped under knees and elbows.  It still gave me the weird comfort of long hair, so I wanted to keep it.  I had a fat face paranoia.  Until I started BJJ I carried some of my pregnancy weight, and I felt like my face was huge and if my hair was long, I could wear it down when I was having an extra fat face day.  ..Yes, fat face day.. It's a thing, I swear.

Then when I cut down to light weight, in a last ditch effort to drop any extra weight I could shed I cut about 6 more inches off... to this:  (Ps. six inches of hair doesn't even register on the scale.)

At this length it was still long enough to put into a pony tail, and my pony tail was so short it didn't get trapped or pulled out nearly as much.  Huzzah!

I was finally over my fat face paranoia, but scared of cutting my hair shorter.   On top of that, it didn't seem necessary.  It didn't get in my way anymore, and since I had two feet less hair than I did a year before the manageability seemed through the roof.

Then came the list, and on the list, I added, "Cut my hair really short."

So I did.

To this:

This length was too short for a pony tail, but short enough to not actually get in my way while I grappled when I wore it down.  Plus, I REALLY loved it this length.

That last picture is my ideal hair length.  For life, and for grappling.  

And finally having gotten over using my hair for comfort, I did this:

Yesterday, I got my hair cut again, as I mentioned, and it went horribly.  The first attempt at cutting it went all wrong, and I had to have a second cut.  Resulting in much shorter hair than I planned. 
I like the bangs.

The back is where I was less pleased... 
I will say it is totally growing on me though.  =D

Yesterday afternoon I grappled with my new short hair, and it was UHH-MAZING!  It didn't get in my face, didn't get trapped under things... and best of all it is sooo cool!  As in, temperature.  I am half tempted to cut it even shorter now for even more ease and coolness while grappling! 
So in my own opinion, the shorter the hair, the easier it is to manage while grappling.  Obviously though, long haired grapplers exist, and their long locks seem not to hinder them.  But having hand both really long, and really short hair, I will say as far as grappling goes... the shorter the better, at least for me.

So ladies with the long flowing locks.... How do you manage to keep it out of your way when you grapple?  I was never able to discover the secret. 

Other girls who have hair and grapple and have combined those two things in to their blogs from time to time are, Georgette and Megan.

Editing in my most current hair cut:

It is actually a bit of a Mohawk with bangs, cut to wear down instead of up.

 I LOVE it for grappling!  It keeps my head cool, doesn't get in my way at all, and I can still dress it up.

I totally and completely love it.  Keather Bennet of the Mellennia Spa cut it for me.  She is extraordinarily talented and her spa is beautiful.  If you live in the central Florida area I would highly recommend checking her out. 

The Millennia Spa
3046 Cypress Gardens Road
Winter Haven, Florida
(863) 268-8282
The Mellennia Spa

Tell her Stephanie sent you.  =) 


  1. Love the red bangs.

    I used to have long hair, but I was never good at taking care of it. It's really thick when it's long, so it was in ponytails all the time. My stylist one day asked if we could chop it all off; I just shrugged and said okay. (I feel badly for her -- she gave me amazing cuts with the long hair, and I wouldn't do much with them.)

    A year later, I was contemplating growing it out, and then started BJJ. Seemed easier to keep it short. So I have zero experience with my own long hair and grappling.

    I just flirted with growing it out some for the last few months, but I started looking like I had a dead porcupine on my head after class and it started getting caught under knees and getting in my face (my stylist likes "swooping" bangs), so I've gone back super-short and am trying again to find the perfect length.

    My driver's license picture was taken back when I had long hair. Sometimes when we're out eating after class, one of the guys will get a glimpse of the picture and then will demand to see it. Then it gets passed around the table and everyone says, "No way!" They can't imagine me with long hair. I don't even think that I can anymore.

  2. Girl. I just want to say I liked your hair in ALL its iterations :) That first photo is GORGEOUS! Plush, thick, tousled... don't knock it. Though I can see how the shorter do is better for grappling :) :)

  3. I cut off all my hair in a Marine buzz cut because I got frustrated with it for the same reasons you describe. It worked great short, but I really disliked the way I looked. Now I'm trying to grow it out some. I use a Nike swim cap with Cliff Keen headgear overtop (the swim cap alone won't stay put).

  4. Georgette - You are too kind my friend! I have nightmare hair though, really. When I was a kid my mom would always tell me to go brush my hair... even if I had just brushed it. lol I was probably 15 or 16 when I finally got fed up with it, and went super duper short. It wasn't until I was about 20 or so that I had hair again and figured out how to make it look like it was under control.

    Leslie - I know what you mean. It was just over two years ago that I had super long hair and I can't even imagine that now. lol

  5. Wow, what a transformation! I love the bold red color. I secretly envy people who are brave enough to do extreme things to their hair. I was (not) blessed with super straight hair. Slippery, unmanageable, not a slightest bit of curl... so for me it's ponytail or some bun or hair clip twisty thing.

  6. Awesome chronology of jiu jitsu hair, thanks for sharing! Can I hijack your comments for a moment? Any ladies with great strategies for BJJ hair - please whack your photos on the MegJitsu Facebook wall ( for inclusion in the Jiu Jitsu Hair album ( - working compiling a diverse and comprehensive photo record of BJJ hair! Your photos gratefully received!

  7. I've been rolling with long hair in BJJ ever since i started. It took me a while to figure out the best way to wear it, so i'm not constantly fixing it on the mat. i've found that pulling it back in a ponytail,then braiding the ponytail is the best way. It's impossible for me to have any type of bangs, also when i get my hair cut, i make sure that all the layers she cuts i can pull back into the ponytail. I never use hair ties with metal when i'm rolling because they will cut through your hair.

  8. Anon - You are a brave soul! I don't think I could ever go marine short... I came close once, but I kept my bangs. I am sure it is great to grapple with though!

    Triin - Thanks! You should try the bold color sometime... but hide it on the bottom layer. =) It is so fun!

    Meg - Thanks! And hijack away! =)

    Abby - That sounds like how Allie deals with her long hair. Braided pony tail. I know it works well for her... maybe if I ever have long hair again, I will try it. ... Though, I will have to learn to braid! lol

  9. I wish I had the (for lack of a better word, lol) balls to just up and cut my curly/long hair off, sure would make my life easier. I'm totally envious of women who can just up and cut their hair super short, I think I'd cry.

    But for me, it's all about using the right hair ties. I use these rubber ones a training partner introduced me too...
    These really keep my hair from slipping out while rolling. In Atlanta you can get them anywhere from Walgreens to Target (They even have sparkly ones some times, if that's your thing :-) ) Then, I tie my hair up using two (sometimes three if it's really humid, curly girls know what I'm talking about) of these bands in a high bun near the top of my head. It works pretty well for me.

    It's sort of awesome to read about other lady's BJJ hair woes...glad it's not just me. :-)

  10. It isn't only you Anna. I have fine hair and started out in JJ with it longer, and decided to go shorter to make it easier to manage. (re: once I got done wrestling with a partner and he raised his arm, and it looked like he'd tried to choke a Wookie... yeah, I cleaned it off for him, and then got my hair whacked off.) Then I had to have some surgery, and got my hair really short, like boy short almost, and on returning to class, I like it a lot better that length. I am going to let it grow out some, but shorter hair is much easier to manage in JJ classes. The women I train with all began with their hair long, and after leaving clumps of it on the mat, they went short too.