When you come face to face with an opponent that is ready to grab, pull and rip anything they can get their hands on in a fight, then you’d probably nervous about your long hair getting in the way.
I’ve got a handful of solutions for you in this article, some are quick and some are more long term efforts. But either way, you’ll feel hell of a lot more confident about getting back to the mat or ring after you hear these suggestions about how to do MMA with long hair.
For doing MMA with long hair, it is recommended to tie up your hair to avoid injuries. For training, try it in a knot, tie a hair bun, or even try a French braid. For fight events, it’s best to put your hair into either a Dutch braid or cornrows.
I’m going to cover some of the situations you could be presented with if you have long hair, answer some common questions about this issue and then go into further detail about your options. Let’s get cracking.
The problems with long hair in MMA
A lot of people have long hair, men and women included. It’s a problem as old as martial arts began, likely when Samurai were wrapping up their hair under Kabuto’s.
Is long hair a disadvantage in a fight?
Having long hair could be a big disadvantage in a fight. If the hair gets into your eyes whilst you are being attacked, it could be a huge risk to taking a hit. It’s also likely to get pulled or used against you, more than short hair ever could.
Can you box with long hair?
In training it’s a personal choice whether to keep your hair long. But you could easily be at a disadvantage. For a professional fight, boxers are required to have it neatly tied up or cornrowed. Having long hair in a fight could also appear that you are taking bigger shots.
The same problems are true for MMA and in the UFC you will often see better fighters (both men and women) with cornrows or similar tight hair options.
Can you do Jiu-Jitsu with long hair?
Having long hair could cause you and your sparring partner a lot of frustration. It’s likely to harm your vision and end up being pulled strongly in transitions. Your partner isn’t going to want to have to avoid pulling your hair all the time whilst they focus on rolling.
To avoid these problems, it’s a very good idea to:
- Put your hair into cornrows before sparring sessions, or
- Use non-metal hair ties (like this bulk pack on Amazon) to at least put your hair into a ponytail or tight bun
Why do female fighters have cornrows?
Many female MMA and UFC fighters will have cornrows put into their hair. The hair style is the most effective at keeping a lot of hair neatly tucked and minimize any chances for the hair to untie itself from grappling, wrestling or striking.
What are boxer braids and what are they really called?
Boxer braids are two Dutch braids on both sides of the head. The boxer braid is an effective method of keeping the hair away from the face and to the back of the head. It keeps hair from being a problem in a striking match.
Can boxers have beards?
Professional boxers can have beards. But in some countries, there may be the requirement for the jawline to remain visible. In Britain, for example, a beard ban was lifted after Sikhs campaigned against the rule, who are traditionally required to have uncut body hair.
Solutions for having long hair in MMA
So you’ve got long hair, what are your options and what can you do about it?
How do you do Boxer/Dutch braids?
Boxer braids are basically a double Dutch braid. WikiHow has a great step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve the boxer braids. I recommend checking it out!
How do you keep Boxer/Dutch braids tight?
Keeping your boxer braids tight relies on creating a good original braid. You can get the best results for a boxer braid by using a dry wax spray and combing through the hair before starting the braids.
This dry wax spray on Amazon is a good option to use, be sure to spray generously enough for combing through your hair. Keep applying more wax spray bit by bit, until you don’t feel many stray hairs.
How do you do French braids for MMA?
A really easy and quick option to tie your hair back for MMA is to use the French braid. It can be done on both sides of the head quickly and use hair ties to finish it at the back. If it comes out of place it isn’t too much effort to fix and doesn’t require the time that a Boxer braid or cornrows will.
Here’s a great tutorial on YouTube for doing quick French braids that are suitable for both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Krav Maga:
How do you do cornrows for MMA?
Most fighters will have a professional hair stylist, or at least someone else with experience, do their cornrows for them before a fight. Most of the time, cornrows aren’t necessary for training or sparring.
If you’re ready to try doing cornrows for yourself, try this tutorial:
When doing this tutorial it’s a good idea to use a hair oil that suits your hair type, it helps with reducing stray or flyaway hairs and create neater cornrows.
So for a quick fix if you have long hair, use French braids to tie your hair back. You can use oils or dry wax to get even better results in Boxer or double Dutch braids. If you’re heading for an actual fight and need maximum hair protection, the cornrows is always the best option.