Let’s talk about how NOT to end up with cauliflower ear when you’re doing BJJ.
(You know what cauliflower ear is, right? It’s when you end up with lumpy cancerous potato looking things on either side of your head.)
Personally I am less than thrilled by the possibility of acquiring a giant lumps on either side of my head because I’ve always had large ears.
Supposedly when my grandmother saw me for the first time the first thing she said was, “Oh, what beautiful big ears...”
Don’t believe me? Check out the pic from my instagram feed below!
Anyway, it’s pretty common for long-time grapplers get some pretty banged up ears…
For the first 20 years of doing martial arts (which included about 10 years of grappling) I never had a problem with my ears.
But then, in about the year 2000, I suddenly started having brushes with cauliflower ear…
They started feeling sore after training, then they started swelling a bit, and then – after one particularly tough competition – I came away with quite the balloon on the side of my head.
It took several draining sessions with hypodermic needles followed by gauze compression bandaging around my head, but luckily things eventually got more or less back to normal.
Some people think cauliflower looks cool, but as I said, given the large size of my ears I think that it would look dreadful on me. Plus it would really destroy my modelling career before it ever gets off the ground.
The best way to prevent cauliflower ears is by wearing earguards.
If you’re an actor or have some career where your livelihood depends on your good looks then you should have a set of earguards handy to wear anytime there’s even a threat of getting your ears mauled…
If you’re OK with a bit more risk, but would like to avoid full-blown cauliflower, then you should probably have a set of earguards kicking around. Throw them on whenever your ears are sore and/or you know you’re going up against that guy in the club who likes to grind on your head, face and ears…
And if you actually want cauliflower ears – if you think they’re cool – then don’t wear earguards, ask someone to put you in a headlock, and let them grind on you until your ears puff up nice and big.
There are different styles and models of earguards. Some are more appropriate for wrestling than BJJ, and others are more useful for initial prevention rather than protection during a full blown episode of ear swelling.
Here’s a video I did on Youtube in which I take you through the different earguard designs that are best for BJJ.
Grapplearts Custom-Designed Earguards for BJJ on Amazon
Although there are many good earguards on the market I ended up creating a set of earguards specifically for BJJ training. They are designed to be comfortable, easy to adjust, and easy to wash. They also have a low, tapered profile so that you won’t get stuck in positions they way you might if you were wearing the more heavy-duty wrestling earguard models.