Do You Need Headgear For Jiu Jitsu?

When it comes to the world of jiu jitsu, practitioners are often faced with numerous questions regarding their gear and safety. One common query that pops up is, “Can you wear headgear in Jiu Jitsu?”.

This article will delve into the world of BJJ headgear, addressing whether it’s necessary, its implications in tournaments, and how to properly wear it. Let’s roll!

Can You Wear Headgear in Jiu-Jitsu?

Short answer: Yes, you can wear headgear in jiu jitsu.

Jiu jitsu, like any contact sport, has its fair share of risks. While headgear is not mandatory, it can provide an extra layer of protection. This especially holds true if you’re someone who’s prone to ear injuries or simply looking to minimize the wear and tear on your ears during training sessions.

The Ear Injury Conundrum

BJJ enthusiasts often encounter a common issue – cauliflower ear. This condition occurs due to repeated trauma to the ear, causing blood to pool and form a lumpy, cauliflower-like appearance. While some wear their cauliflower ear as a badge of honor, others prefer to avoid it.

This is where BJJ headgear comes into play. It acts as a barrier between your ears and the often-gritty training environment. By protecting your ears, it can help prevent the development of cauliflower ear and the discomfort associated with it.

Is It Weird to Wear Headgear in BJJ?

The question of whether it’s weird to wear headgear in BJJ is subjective. Some practitioners might view it as unusual, while others see it as a practical safety measure.

Safety First

When it comes to headgear, safety should always be your top priority. If you feel that wearing headgear enhances your safety and minimizes the risk of injuries, then it’s a sensible choice. Remember, BJJ is a physically demanding sport, and your well-being should come first.

The Perception Factor

It’s important to acknowledge that there might be some stigma attached to wearing headgear in jiu jitsu. Some people might associate it with a lack of experience or fear. However, it’s essential to rise above these judgments and prioritize your safety and comfort.

At the end of the day, what others think shouldn’t deter you from making decisions that protect your health and well-being.

bjj headgear

Can I Wear Headgear in BJJ Tournaments?

The rules and regulations regarding the use of headgear in BJJ tournaments can vary. The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is one of the most recognized governing bodies in the sport, and their guidelines often set the standard for competitions.

Does IBJJF Allow Headgear?

The IBJJF rule book did not explicitly allow headgear during tournaments. However, they may permit it for medical reasons, provided you have proper headgear.

It’s crucial to check the specific rules and regulations of the tournament you plan to participate in. Rules can change over time, so staying informed is essential.

bjj headgear ibjjf rules
BJJ headgear IBJJF rules;

Should You Wear Headgear for Jiu Jitsu?

The decision to wear headgear for Jiu Jitsu ultimately boils down to your personal preferences and circumstances.

Pros of Wearing Headgear

  1. Ear Protection: As mentioned earlier, headgear can protect your ears from injuries and the development of a cauliflower ear.
  2. Confidence: Knowing that you have an extra layer of protection can boost your confidence during sparring or competitions.

Cons of Wearing Headgear

  1. Stigma: As discussed earlier, some may perceive wearing headgear as unusual, which could affect your confidence on the mat.
  2. Discomfort: While many find headgear comfortable, some individuals may find it restrictive or irritating.
  3. Rules and Regulations: In some tournaments, wearing headgear may not be allowed, so it’s essential to check beforehand.

The bottom line is that if wearing headgear makes you feel safer and more comfortable during your jiu jitsu journey, then it’s a valid choice.

Headgear for BJJ Reddit Discussion

To gain a broader perspective on this topic, let’s take a look at a discussion on Reddit. Reddit is a platform where BJJ practitioners often share their experiences and opinions.

Main Points
Some people wear headgear, focus on training and don’t worry about others’ opinions.
General advice to be yourself and not worry about what others think.
Mentions wearing “Grappz” headgear without concern.
Some clubs have rules against wearing headgear, possibly due to injuries.
Wears headgear regularly when training at various gyms and hasn’t faced any issues.
Advises using soft-sided headgear, not hard plastic.
Wears old wrestling headgear when needed.
Wears headgear to keep hair in place, mentions others at their gym do the same.
Some gyms have a ban on headgear, possibly due to safety concerns.
Wears headgear, noticed more people started wearing it after they did.
Wears headgear when ears are sore to prevent cauliflower ear.
Some people at their gym wear headgear, but it’s not a big deal.
Wore headgear during healing from cauliflower ear, occasional initial teasing.
Advocates for protecting oneself to avoid cauliflower ear, which looks gross.

This Reddit discussion highlights the diversity of opinions and experiences regarding headgear in jiu jitsu. It’s evident that what works for one person might not work for another, emphasizing the importance of individual choice.

How Do You Put on BJJ Headgear?

Properly putting on your BJJ headgear is essential for comfort and effectiveness. Follow these steps to ensure you’re doing it right:

Step 1: Clean Your Ears

Before putting on your headgear, make sure your ears are clean and dry. This will prevent any irritation or discomfort caused by trapped moisture.

Step 2: Adjust Straps

Most BJJ headgear comes with adjustable straps. Place the headgear over your head and adjust the straps to fit snugly but comfortably. The headgear should cover your ears completely.

Step 3: Secure Chin Strap

If your headgear has a chin strap, secure it under your chin. This helps keep the headgear in place during rolls and sparring.

Step 4: Test for Comfort

Move your head around to ensure the headgear doesn’t shift or feel too tight. It should provide protection without causing discomfort.

Step 5: Roll and Adjust

During your training session, periodically check your headgear. If it starts to feel uncomfortable or shifts out of place, adjust it as needed.

A Useful List of BJJ Headgear Brands

Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of BJJ headgear, let’s provide you with a list of reputable brands known for producing high-quality headgear:

  • 1. Cliff Keen: A well-respected brand in the wrestling world, Cliff Keen offers durable and comfortable headgear suitable for BJJ.
  • 2. Matman: Matman specializes in wrestling and jiu jitsu gear, including headgear designed to withstand intense training sessions.
  • 3. Asics: While primarily known for their athletic shoes, Asics also manufactures headgear that is favored by many BJJ practitioners.

Remember, when choosing headgear, consider factors like comfort, durability, and fit. What works best for you may vary, so don’t hesitate to try different brands and models to find your perfect match.


In the world of Jiu Jitsu, your safety and comfort are paramount. While headgear is not a mandatory piece of equipment, it can provide valuable protection, especially for your ears.

Whether you choose to wear headgear or not is a personal decision, and it’s essential to prioritize what makes you feel safe and confident on the mat.

Remember that the perception of headgear in BJJ varies from person to person, and what matters most is your well-being.

If you decide to wear headgear, ensure it fits properly and doesn’t hinder your movement. And always check tournament rules if you plan to compete.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to wear headgear in Jiu Jitsu is yours, and it should be made with your safety and comfort in mind. So, roll with confidence, whether you’re donning headgear or not, and enjoy your journey in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

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