I basically always cut my hair right at the moment when they start getting into my eyes when training. Now I want to try and grow my hair to a half long - long hairstyle. There are some solutions I know I can use to prevent my hair from getting into my eyes but none have really satisfied me yet.

The solutions I have found so far are:

  • Strong wax (like Murray's). I find this wax annoying because you can't rinse it out easily and your pillow gets all waxed when you go to bed.

  • Knot. My hair is too short for this at the moment. I also think the knot will easily come loose

  • Headband. I haven't got any experience with this. I can imagine it's not very handy with grappling,

  • Braiding. The solution for matches of course, but too much work for training.

Are there better solutions?

  • Bandana worked for me. Jan 16, 2014 at 17:19
  • @Dave Liepmann, Bandanas and buffs didn't work for me. I have long hair and in a clinch they come off easily.
    – Vass
    Jan 16, 2014 at 19:22
  • 2
    @Vass Well to me the best wax has been Nu Nile (which is also a product of Murrays). It's strength is somewhere between Murrays and Murrays soft. It isn't really strong enough to keep the hair out of your eyes though though.
    – Bart Burg
    Jan 16, 2014 at 19:36
  • 1
    @BartBurg The bandana was for non-combat sports in my case. For grappling I just cut my hair or deal with it. I haven't seen a good solution other cornrows, which defeats the purpose of long hair in the first place. Jan 16, 2014 at 19:49
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    Well, I am a girl, i have hair that comes up to my top of my shoulders, barely touching it, I always have issues with hair ties, so they dont work. And since im a girl, I would rather not cut my hair to short, I havent tried plating or knotting it, so that may work but, with a hard graple, I doubt it will give you the coverage you need.
    – user5706
    Mar 27, 2015 at 12:02

17 Answers 17


There are no good solutions. Long hair gets in the way of training unless knotted or braided, and even then it is liable to wiggle free and get in the way during hard training.

All external tools--nets, headbands, bandanas, caps--are liable to come off. Well-executed braids and buns are slightly more reliable, but frequently come out anyway.

You must choose between uninterfered training and long hair that flows freely. Sorry. That is how training goes.

  • 3
    Maybe I should try and develop a new product then ;)
    – Bart Burg
    Jan 17, 2014 at 9:53
  • @BartBurg, please announce it if you do, I ended up cutting my hair short after all the struggle I had :)
    – Elchin
    Mar 30, 2015 at 16:59

I do BJJ/grappling and stand up jujitsu, and I've discovered the following works best for long hair:

  1. Pull your hair into a tight, low ponytail on the side of your head, not straight back, else when you grapple it will get trapped under your head on the ground.
  2. Quickly braid the hair and secure with a second band!

It's nowhere near the work of the full double-french braid that everyone uses for competetion, and it holds just as well. Happy grappling!

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    You mean braid the ponytail? At the moment my hair is too short for a braiding the ponytail. But I would like to try your method when it's long enough!.
    – Bart Burg
    Jan 21, 2014 at 18:55
  • Interesting answer, I never thought of the tail going on the side, will try it out and get back to confirm!
    – Vass
    Jan 28, 2014 at 9:07
  • I tried this yesterday, it is great that the point where the hair is tied does not get rubbed on directly, but it does not really help the front area from being rubbed and hair coming loose from there
    – Vass
    Jan 30, 2014 at 13:15

I would say that if having long hair is so important to you then you should practice with it being in your face. The point of drills is not only to teach you what to do when things go right, but how to react when things go wrong, e.g. you get slapped in the eye by a lock of sweaty hair and now you can't see. Or do you want to wait until your hair comes undone in a competition before you gain the experience?

  • Getting hair in my eyes doesn't give me a huge disadvantage, as I am still able to see and fight well. It's more the unnecessary irritation of the eyes. Also, braided hair barely comes lose so this is not a problem in competition.
    – Bart Burg
    Jan 17, 2014 at 8:09
  • Is this an answer? There is nothing constructive about this argument to invalidate the purpose of even trying to deal with the problem of 'long hair' in mma. It pretty much saying deal with the problem and doing so is better for you in the long run.
    – Vass
    Jan 17, 2014 at 11:20
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    1. It's not an argument. 2. It is most certainly constructive. 3. Well yes, successful people take measures that help them in the long run. I always give the best solution to a problem, rather than a quick fix that may lead to other problems. Jan 17, 2014 at 12:00

I tried this solution out and it works.

  1. Tie you hair in a pony tail
  2. put a bandana or buff over your head with the hair inside so that it is not hanging out.
  3. Put a mma/wrestling ear guard over your head covering the front part of the buff/bandana, and the rear part holding it firmly on your head

This holds the hair under the cloth so that it doesn't rub directly on an arm or hand to come loose and tug.


For many years, I trained with long hair, and I have to say, it was quite a hassle to deal with.

I oftentimes tied my hair back in a ponytail. However, I have fine hair, so strands had a tendency to get loose and get in my eyes. I found that hairspray helped quite a bit (though I occasionally had problems with it hardening and still coming loose).

If you are working on grappling, it can be an issue. My hair got ripped out from underneath me numerous times (which toughened me up, but it was still unpleasant). I did, on occasion, shove the ponytail inside of my gi (I don't know how great of an idea that is to you, but it helped somewhat).

Braids can work, but they may still whip you in the face if you are performing standing techniques.

I like the idea about the bandana, but I never tried it. Regardless, I would imagine that it would hold your hair together better than a hairnet.

I think a swim cap would also be an excellent choice; however, like one poster mentioned, heat and sweat may be a bit of an issue. See what works for you.

Anyway, I hope that helped.

Good luck!


You can work on isolation drills where hair-pulling isn't allowed. This will allow you to train without the hassle of putting your hair up. For example, you could work on your standup skills, stopping and resetting the drill when someone hits the mat. It might even be fun and beneficial for you to work only boxing or only kickboxing from time to time. You'll still want to braid it for competition, however.

I have long hair, but I train in mostly standup arts. A pony tail holder works for me. Most of my grappling experience is in counter-grappling, though I have spent some time rolling around on the mat. One of the things I had to work on early on was various defenses against hair-pulling, since I knew this would be tempting for anyone I grappled with.

While your hair is in that in-between stage where it isn't long enough to pull back into a pony-tail holder, a baseball cap turned backwards or bandana will at least keep it out of your face.

  • 3
    In what martial art are hair grabs legal in sport? I don't think that's part of the question. Jan 16, 2014 at 17:44
  • After looking up MMA rules, I've found that hair pulling is illegal. Probably the reason most MMA fighters braid their hair is to prevent it getting in their face as opposed to fear of having it grabbed. I still think there's beneficial info in the answer I gave though, so I'll look at editing it. Jan 16, 2014 at 17:57

I have very long hair and I'm a wrestler so I usually wear my hair in a French braid in a pony tail. The braid works better at keeping hair out of your face.


Whoever said you have to choose between long hair and uninterfered training is dead wrong. Have you never seen women's martial arts or combat sports? Have you never seen Clay Guida, Brian Ortega, Benson Henderson, Miachel Chiesa, Uriah Faber, or the plethora of fighters with long hair fight? For mma training whether you are striking or grappling or both there are a a bunch of easy things you can do with your medium to long length hair. You can knot it, do a hair tie bun, braided ponytail or french braids, you can do a ponytail and keep the loose ends in the hair tie and then tape up or wrap your hair.


Hair nets might be an option for you. But I think those are going to be too loose and would come off too easily during grappling. Same with headbands.

How about a swimming cap like one of these?


They make them out of stretchable silicone, spandex, and so forth. It might look a little out of place in an MMA setting, but it shouldn't be too upsetting to anyone. You figure you're wearing skin tight rash guards also, so it kind of goes with the style. They can be put on and taken off real easily, also.

The only problem I see is that it might hold in heat and sweat too much. There are some that appear to be more like a mesh, like a cross between a hair net and a swim cap. Those might work. If you can't find those, you could always get the swim cap and cut out whatever material you don't need to make it work better for you.

Headbands are problematic. The knot will come undone, if you use one with a knot. If you use the elastic band style headbands, on the other hand, they end up not staying in place and have to be readjusted all the time.

But you could use a cloth style headband (one without elastic) or a bandana, and then put the swim cap over it. The cloth would help absorb sweat, while the swim cap keeps it in place. You would just cut out a hole in the middle of the swim cap if you wanted it to breathe more.


All people (myself, other men and women) I train with use the same thing: knots. Either the "samurai" knot or a hair plait that is then secured with elastic bands. Have a look at this Hair Tutorial : How to do a Bun for a starter. This is the best way I found not to have tori step on uke's hair after a break fall.

I experimented with a tenugui (tied a la kendo) but after the first tobu (flip) ukemi the tengui went left, my hair went right, and everyone (me included) burst out laughing.


Have you tried cutting it? There is a reason most people who are serious about the martial arts shave their heads (Krillin, Shaolin monks, bald dudes with beards and tattoos)

Serious answer: I have not seen anyone do anything successful about long hair. It sucks for your training partner too when they gi grip and they realize they've got a chunk of your hair. When they're friendly they'll regrip for your benefit, if they're not, well, prepare to have some weird bald spots

  • Luckily both MMA and my grappling training sessions are without gi. Your answer does sound interesting though, I have never heard about someone getting such a bold spot in training.
    – Bart Burg
    Jan 21, 2014 at 18:58
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    Usually when I go for a brabo or baseball bat choke on someone with longer hair I have a lot of their neckhair in my hands. I'm gentle, but I still come out of the match with some hair in my hands sometimes. Not because of viciousness, but because when you grab the gi, there's just hair there, even when you regrip. (please train with a Gi, it'll help you understand different things than just no-gi, they key to unlocking awesome jiujitsu is doing both, especially if you dislike either. ) Jan 22, 2014 at 5:02

Use an ear guard. That will hold your hair back


As for training, every solution you want to try should also take into consideration protective equipment. Specifically:

  • For grappling, Cliff Keen makes an accessory to its headgear. I have tried it personally and it works fine, but it's quite hot.

  • For striking, use a headband for bag/mitt work and shadow boxing, use your boxing headgear when sparring. If your hair is very long go for a braid.

I ended up cutting my hair after about 6 months because summer is hot here and didn't want to stop training, long hair takes too much time to wash and dry after every session, untangling and removing knots was quite annoying.

If you are really determined you can make it, it's up to you to determine whether it's worth the trouble or not.


Although I'm not entirely sure how to help you, I have seen a few girls wrestling in competition, and I used to wonder how else they could do their hair as to not get hurt. I have figured out a few different ways actually, I hope this helps.

• you could do a tiered ponytail (basically where you take the front section of your hair and create a ponytail, then create another ponytail below that, being sure to tuck the ends of the one before into it, continuing with the same pattern all the way down and finishing it off with a ponytail or a braid.

• you could do two lace braids (similar to French braids, but much easier and swifter)

I have shorter hair and have styled it like these, they definitely keep the hair out of your face. I hope these can help you


Has anyone used a crown braid in conjunction with a "buff" headband?

Sooo, https://cdn.spright.com/media/2015/06/22135258/Headbands_ProductShots_buffUV.jpg with http://blog.themodelstage.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/hair-tutorial-braid-crown-10.jpg

The buff headbands aren't as thick as a regular headband, and therefore might be less likely to roll off. I think that the crown style braid would help to hold it in place as well. I just started BJJ, and am unable to attend classes for a couple weeks, but definitely planning on trying this out when I get back.

Buns and ponytails have been the biggest pain in the butt because they create a big lump behind my head which reduces my movement through positions.

Hoping that if I wet my hair before class, and do the crown braid quite tightly, then throw some hairspray on, that I will avoid both a braid falling out during training, and irritation near my hairline. Pluuuuus, I wear my buff over my ears- maybe it would help the whole fighters ears which can happen. Also keep me from sweating on other BJJ peeps! I've got a big head though- it might be better for some girls to try the junior sizes for a tight fit methinks.

... and it doesn't hurt that buffs look pretty cool in my opinion. ;)

  • Supposition are not really useful. Let us know how it went and this will be a good answer. Mar 11, 2017 at 22:19
  • This is closer to a new question than an answer. If you have a new question that is not addressed in this question and its answers, you should ask it. See the tour.
    – mattm
    Mar 12, 2017 at 23:35

Long hair basically impair you ability to fight and exposes weaknesses to your opponents. I believe that having a hair length which is hard to grip (short) is the best. However, tying it up or braiding it up would work. I have seen people doing it.

  • 2
    This is not an answer to the question
    – Bart Burg
    Feb 1, 2014 at 9:51
  • Sorry, i must have misread the question. Tying it up or braiding it up would work. I have seen people doing it.
    – nigelhanzo
    Feb 5, 2014 at 2:33

I'm pretty sure long hair stops you from fighting. I think I remember two years ago, when I was on my school wrestling team, that they told me to shave my head when my hair got too long. I don't wrestle anymore BUT, it DOES get in the way. Someone will be able to pull on your hair, despite how illegal that might be (I don't know if it is or not). It will also impair your vision. Trust me, it's a bad idea. It happened to me as well.

YOU DON'T want to wrestle someone with long hair, in any grappling martial art. It's just a fact.

  • 2
    That doesn't really answer the question for him. Feb 20, 2015 at 2:08

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