Welcome, my grappling enthusiasts! Today, we're going to talk about a piece of equipment that might seem a bit odd to outsiders but is essential to us BJJ practitioners: ear guards.
Now, if you're new to BJJ, you might be thinking, "Why on earth would someone wear ear guards during a grappling match?"
The answer is simple: to protect our precious ears from cauliflowering like a head (as the name implies) cauliflower!
Cauliflower ear might sound like a delicious side dish for cannibals, but trust me, it's not something you want. It's a deformity that occurs when the external portion of the ear is hit, rubbed, or squeezed repeatedly. The ear fills with fluid and becomes swollen, eventually hardening and taking on a lumpy, bumpy appearance. And let me tell you, it's not pretty.
But aside from the aesthetic aspect, cauliflower ear can also cause pain, discomfort, and even hearing loss. So, it's no wonder that BJJ practitioners want to avoid it like the plague.
Enter ear guards. These little gems are designed to protect the ears from the repeated trauma that occurs during grappling. They're made from a variety of materials, including foam, plastic, and neoprene, and are worn snugly over the ears to prevent them from rubbing against the mat or an opponent's body.
So, there you have it. Ear guards might seem like an odd piece of equipment, but they're a crucial part of any BJJ practitioner's gear. It's not mandatory (in most gyms and tournaments) but if this is a concern of yours, you won't regret investing in it. Protect your ears and stay on the mats for longer. Hearing is a sense you don't want to lose!
What Are Ear Guards Used For In BJJ?
So, what are ear guards, you ask? Well, they're basically like helmets for your ears. They're designed to protect your precious little earlobes from getting all beat up and deformed during grappling matches.
Now, you might be thinking, "But, I only need to wear ear guards when I'm rolling, right?" Wrong, my friend. If you're prone to cauliflower ear formation, you might need to wear ear guards even when you are just drilling and putting in those reps. Rubbing and compressing the ear during drills can also lead to injury.
But even if you're not particularly susceptible to cauliflower ear, wearing ear guards during rolling can make all the difference in terms of comfort. After all, who wants to spend their whole grappling session worrying about their ears getting squished or scraped against the mat or an opponent's body? Not me, that's for sure.
So, whether you're a grappling veteran or a newbie just trying to protect your ears, ear guards are an essential piece of equipment for any BJJ practitioner.
Common BJJ injuries
If you're a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner, you probably know that injuries come with the territory. Here are the top five most common BJJ injuries:
Lower Back: This one is a real pain in the butt...or, technically, in the back. When you're on the bottom in full guard, your pelvic muscles come into play a lot. If your opponent awkwardly pushes your body, it can easily lead to a pulled muscle or even a slipped disc. Ouch!
Neck: Getting stacked or caught in a headlock can put a lot of pressure on your neck, leading to muscle strains or even nerve damage. If you're experiencing tingling or shooting sensations down your arm, see a doctor ASAP.
Knees: Knee injuries can happen from leglocks and sweeps, and can range from mild muscle strains to full-blown ligament tears that require surgery. So, watch out for those leglocks!
Shoulders: If you don't keep your elbows close, you can be vulnerable to armlocks that put a lot of pressure on your shoulder. And if you shoot too aggressively, you could end up with a lot of weight and force on your shoulder, leading to strains and tears.
Ears: Ah, yes, the subject of this article: The dreaded cauliflower ear. This one is pretty much inevitable if you're spending all day grappling, but there are ways to prevent it from getting out of control. If you do get a tear, make sure to rest and drain the ear properly. And if all else fails, just embrace your newfound bumpy-ear character. It's a badge of honor, really (for some people at least).
Fingers: We tend to forget about our poor fingers, but they take a beating in BJJ too. Finger injuries can range from cuts and scrapes to full-on dislocations. So, be mindful of your grip strength, and don't overextend those digits. If you'd like to learn more about finger injuries, check out this article: Why Do BJJ Practitioners Wear Finger Tape?
Remember, prevention is key, but accidents do happen. So, be safe out there, and maybe invest in some ear guards while you're at it. You won't regret it!
Causes of Ear Injuries in BJJ
Alright, let's get back to culiflower ears, my friend. They're the kind of thing that makes you look like you've gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson or Van Gogh's barber. And they're not just for vegetables anymore.
The main cause of this gnarly condition is blunt trauma to the ear, which leads to a hematoma. That's just a fancy word for a collection of blood outside the blood vessels. If left untreated, this hematoma will heal and give your ear that classic cauliflower look.
Now, how do you get this trauma to the ear? Well, it's a common occurrence for those participating in grappling and combat sports, like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. You know, the kind of activities where you roll around on the ground, trying to submit your opponent or keep them from submitting you.
Unfortunately, sometimes you end up smacking your ear against the mat or your opponent's elbow, causing that hematoma to form.
So, if you want to avoid looking like a walking, talking cauliflower, maybe invest in some ear guards or take it easy during sparring sessions. Or, you know, just embrace the cauliflower look and tell everyone you're a professional fighter.
Prevention of Ear Injuries
The dreaded mark of a seasoned BJJ fighter. But fear not, my fellow grapplers! There are ways to prevent this unsightly and painful condition.
Firstly, and most obviously, you could avoid training in BJJ or any other contact sports altogether. But where's the fun in that? So, the next best thing is to wear headgear during training, especially during live rolling. Yes, it may not be the most stylish accessory and it might get a bit sweaty, but it can save your ears from becoming a lumpy mess.
Now, I know what you're thinking. "But, I've been training for years and I don't want to look like a newbie with headgear." Well, let me tell you, there's nothing wrong with taking precautions to protect your body.
Plus, I bet you'd look pretty badass with headgear on. Who knows, it might even become a trend among BJJ fighters. Many of the top athletes regularly wear it.
Finally, don't forget to take extra care of your ears if they do become injured. Make sure you consult a doctor and take the necessary precautions to prevent any further damage or infection.
How Ear Guards Help Prevent Ear Injuries
You know what they say, prevention is better than cauliflower ear! And the best way to prevent it is by wearing protective headgear. Think of it as your ear's own little superhero cape.
Sure, wrestling headgear might not be the most fashionable accessory, but it's a small price to pay for keeping your ears intact. And let's be real, who doesn't want to look like a tough fighter with some badass headgear? Plus, by pairing it with some stylish Submission Shark BJJ gear, you'll be the trendiest grappler on the mat.
In conclusion, ear guards are an essential piece of equipment for any BJJ practitioner who wants to avoid the dreaded cauliflower ear. Not only do they prevent you from looking like you have a small vegetable growing out of your ear, but they also help protect your ears from the constant pressure and friction that comes with grappling.
But let's be real here, ear guards aren't the most fashionable accessory on the mat. In fact, they can make you look like a cross between an MMA fighter and a Teletubby (jk of course!). But hey, it's a small price to pay for healthy ears and a smooth-looking head.
If you're new to BJJ, don't wait until your ears start to resemble a lumpy potato to invest in some ear guards. And for those of you who have been rolling for years and are too cool for headgear, just remember: there's nothing cool about having to drain your ears every few weeks. So, slap on those ear guards, protect your ears, and keep on rolling!