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sefie
03-07-2007, 07:12 PM
Hello!

I'm thinking of writing something up for our local aikido magazine on dealing with long hair while practising aikido. In my experience, most aikidoka (and probably most martial artists and athletes in general) cut their hair short. I've been growing my hair out in the three year break I took from aikido, and to be honest, I'm very proud of the length, and want it to be just that little bit longer.

So, I was wondering how the long-haired of you deal with your hair during training. I've tried three methods:

Low pigtails
Pros: Kept hair out of face, looked really cute as the "tiny Asian chick with the pigtails" on the mat
Cons: Pigtails always got knelt on by nage during hold downs

French braid
Pros: Easy to do, only used one hair tie.
Cons: Doesn't work with layered hair (uneven ends stick out of the braid), uncomfortable during stretches where the head is on the mat, get whipped in the eyes when rolling, got knelt on during hold downs

High ponytail (ie: tied on top of the head, not the back)
Pros: Keeps fringe out of eyes, doesn't get in way of rolling or stretching, manages to hold together best of the other styles, doesn't get knelt on
Cons: Have to have reasonably long hair, gets messed up in shiho nage

Does anyone have any other tips or tricks for dealing with hair while training?

Thanks!
- Diana

crbateman
03-07-2007, 07:33 PM
Paging Dr. Seiser... Paging Dr. Seiser... :D

giriasis
03-07-2007, 07:42 PM
You can do what I call the "French Ponytail". When my hair gets long I do one at the top of my head then pull the middle section in and use a second hair tie then pull all the remainder of hair in the nape of my neck. With lots of layers I will split this down the sides and pull everything together at the nape of my neck (like the pig tail/ double french braid).

Just think of a french braid but with hair ties/ ponytails instead of braids.

This works really well for me and my hair is less prone to falling out.

Joe Jutsu
03-07-2007, 08:35 PM
Well, I don't know that I have much of an opinion as to which style works best, but I can tell you that I've gotten extremely used to my hair getting pulled/stepped/knelt on during my time in aikido, I've sort of come to think of it as a given. What's been getting annoying lately is the fact that it's long enough to get stuck in the koshita of my hakama.

I guess that's the price I pay for being the lone? dreadlocked aikido guy. :)

ccain85
03-07-2007, 09:42 PM
although i cannot speak from personal experience, i can share a story with you that my sensei has shared with me many times. at one time when he was a young aikidoka he had a long flowing ponytail. one day in class his instructor, said,"long hair can be a detriment in aikido" and called him up for ukemi. my sensei attacked with a tsuki, his sensei entered in behind him, and BAM! down he went by the ponytail.:D

Mary Turner
03-07-2007, 09:43 PM
I get my hair knelt on all the time.:eek:
:eek: I find that 2 pigtails works best as far as staying out of my face so I can forget it and concentrate on practice.

Cheers!
Mary

cserrit
03-07-2007, 10:05 PM
When I was growing my hair out (and still training), I put two low ponytails along with barretts.

After awhile, my hair got too long and I put one ponytail. My hair is layered so I put in flat (metal) barretts towards the front to keep those rascally wispy pieces in place.

Even with all that...I still get my hair stepped on. :eek:

Hope that helps

-C

Amanda
03-08-2007, 02:44 AM
I go for the low ponytail option myself . My hair is two thirds of the way down my back so pretty long I guess. I does get knelt on but I find I can flick my head to the side so it ends up laying on my neck rather than the mat. If we're doing a lot of pins I tend to tuck the end of my ponytail into the neck of my gi and that keeps it out of the way.

Amelia Smith
03-08-2007, 05:42 AM
I have medium-long hair. At first I just kept it in a low ponytail, as I usually wear it off the mat, but it was always falling out. Then I started doing a single braid in the back -- usually lopsided, but works OK. At my first summer camp (after about a year of practice) I saw a woman who had two french braids.

After that I did two pigtails (starting over my ears towards the front, so the front hairs didn't fall out) attached at the back with a single elastic. The advantage of this was that it held up really well in vigorous practice. The one problem was that sometimes on a break fall the braids would go over my head and land in front of my eyes, or even further, giving me a sort of goatee. Other than that it worked quite well, but it also took some time to put together.

Recently I'm off the super-vigorous practices where my head gets yanked around 1,000 times in an hour and I've gone back to a single braid at the back because it's quicker. Sometimes I even do just the ponytail for weapons class.

charyuop
03-08-2007, 06:41 AM
My Senpai has a very long, sorry English is not my language so I might use the wrong name here, Franch Braid? It reaches half of his back, but unless you know it you wouldn't notice. He always keeps it inside of his Gi and it seems it creates him no problem.

SeiserL
03-08-2007, 06:43 AM
Paging Dr. Seiser... Paging Dr. Seiser... :D
Yes, you mean the big old fat man with the blonde/grey ponytail?

I use a combination of a high ponytail for the top and sides, and combine it into a low ponytail for the back. Works for me. Mistaken by some as an easy handle.

crbateman
03-08-2007, 07:48 AM
Another of the more notable Aikido hairstyles is that of Pat Hendricks Sensei, who has sported numerous variations on the pigtail/ponytail theme. There is a sizable photo gallery on the "Info" tab on her website, which is here: http://www.aikido-sanleandro.com/

Qatana
03-08-2007, 09:01 AM
"Moving the ponytail" is part of the pin in my dojo. I'm more concerned when my boobs get knelt on than my hair.Sometimes I can put the ponytail in exactly the right place so my hand comes down on top of it during back rolls.So it seems that if anyone is going to yank it out its gonna be me.

gdandscompserv
03-08-2007, 09:16 AM
I'm more concerned when my boobs get knelt on than my hair.
:eek:
That made me laugh Jo. I hadn't really thought about that aspect.
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

crbateman
03-08-2007, 10:54 AM
I'm more concerned when my boobs get knelt on than my hair.
Ah... You have obviously not been introduced to the secret "braiding the boobs" ritual...http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/lachen/laughing-smiley-004.gif

Marie Noelle Fequiere
03-08-2007, 10:59 AM
although i cannot speak from personal experience, i can share a story with you that my sensei has shared with me many times. at one time when he was a young aikidoka he had a long flowing ponytail. one day in class his instructor, said,"long hair can be a detriment in aikido" and called him up for ukemi. my sensei attacked with a tsuki, his sensei entered in behind him, and BAM! down he went by the ponytail.:D

Wait a minute, wait a minute! Samurais tied their long hair in a topnot, wich, with the two swords, was a distinctive sign of their rank. O Sensei was'nt born yet, but Ju-Jitsu was part of their trainning. I do not know a lot about Ju-Jitsu, but since this art seems to be about bringing the opponant down, would'nt a grabfull of hair be handy sometimes?
I keep my own hair short, but my female senpais do get their hair knelt on or stepped on often. One was pinned to the floor for about five minutes by Sensei himself, who was busy explanning something to me. I found this so rejoicing that I said nothing, and kept asking questions. Also, when they step out of the tatami at the end of the class, one can always tell whether we've been doing a lot of falls and randori, or whether we "just" spent the whole class working on weapon kata. In the first case, my long-haired senpais always look like they've been out in a wind storm.
So I really would love to know what a Samurai looked like at the end of a battle.

charyuop
03-08-2007, 12:12 PM
Actually long hair people should offer a good plan of work for a class.
Sensei that have people with long hair can practice what to do if someone grabs your hair...I think that is somethig that happens often above all when women get attacked.

sefie
03-08-2007, 03:29 PM
Thank you for all the replies!

Luckily, I haven't had hair-pull tori done on me (yet :eek: ) but the idea came up a couple of times in class. I also tried the low ponytail, but that always got messed up in irimi nage - can't win there either, I guess :p

Thanks for the link to Pat Hendricks Sensei's gallery! I'll have a look after work.

I've got instructions somewhere on how to do a traditional samurai topknot, I just haven't tried it for a class. I might give it a go next week and report back :D

PS: If the way to avoid boob-kneeling is boob-braiding... I might give that suggestion a miss :eek:

James Davis
03-08-2007, 03:30 PM
Actually long hair people should offer a good plan of work for a class.
Sensei that have people with long hair can practice what to do if someone grabs your hair...I think that is somethig that happens often above all when women get attacked.

I did that once with some of my students in a "what if" class. It answered some unasked questions for some of them.

One of their hands is busy, and both of yours are free...evileyes

Timothy WK
03-08-2007, 05:07 PM
Samurais tied their long hair in a topnot... I do not know a lot about Ju-Jitsu, but since this art seems to be about bringing the opponant down, would'nt a grabfull of hair be handy sometimes?
I've been shown a Daito-ryu technique that originally incorporated grabbing the top-knot. It was explained that nowadays they just grab the back of the head or neck.

I use to have long hair. I would use the "low ponytail", but I would always tie it in a braid. Often I would even fold the braid back on top of itself to make it shorter. I didn't have many problems with people stepping on it during pins.

Lan Powers
03-08-2007, 10:57 PM
<So I really would love to know what a Samurai looked like at the end of a battle....>

Quite a few of the woodcuts and paintings of samurai in "Battle Mode" show the warrior with a sort of stylized "muss" that was a few fly-away strands. (And occaisionally wild-man-hair)
It was more suggested than shown . Kind of like the understated conventions of what was proper for a persons appearance in other more social circumstances.
I wish I could remember which book I found the description of that stylistic convention.
Lan
(rooting through the pile)

Insane Duane
03-09-2007, 02:04 PM
Before I cut my mane off (ahh much better now) I would wear it in a low ponytail that was braided. A regular pony tail would work it's way loose and leave all kinds of strands that would get caught/trapped. With it braided, I only had to deal with one strand.

Michael Douglas
03-11-2007, 07:59 AM
... I would use the "low ponytail", but I would always tie it in a braid. ... I didn't have many problems with people stepping on it during pins.
My solution exactly.

So I really would love to know what a Samurai looked like at the end of a battle.
Just look at Sumo guys at the end of a basho,
minus the blood ... usually.
... one day in class his instructor, said,"long hair can be a detriment in aikido" and called him up for ukemi. my sensei attacked with a tsuki, his sensei entered in behind him, and BAM! down he went by the ponytail.:D
Well that sounds far less injurious than a twisted arm,
so I'd say his hair was a benefit rather than a detriment in that case.
Of course I will admit than in a fight long hair would be a potential disadvantage, but certainly not in normal aikido practice.
... I've gotten extremely used to my hair getting pulled/stepped/knelt on during my time in aikido, I've sort of come to think of it as a given.
Sensible, I get used to it.
Doesn't hurt much.

jennyvanwest
03-14-2007, 02:38 AM
I'm more concerned when my boobs get knelt on than my hair.

ditto :D

My hair is down to my waist in a low braid. It's been stepped on once or twice. Sometimes I tuck it into my gi. (After a good class it looks like I slept on it several nights in a row!)

I've been thinking the samurai topknot could be good as a way to keep the hair out of the way, but I have so much hair, that bun would be about the size of a grapefruit.

As for the martial pros/cons of the braid, I'm still hoping to learn how to use it as a whip, or at least do hair atemi.

Look at all this hair :D
http://www.aikido-sanleandro.com/gallery/pc19.htm

Bridge
03-14-2007, 03:48 AM
I have shoulder length hair incredibly thick with low hair line. I tend to just scrunch the top 2/3rd of my hair in a pony tail. Unfortunately it digs in the back of my head when lying down for back stretches etc.

Pig tails have the potential to draw pervy comments from guys with a school girl fixation. Which is a shame, I suppose if my hair was long enough and I was skilled enough, the Princess Leia hairstyle would be the most practical!

Sometimes I use StayPut hairbands which have rubber grips which stay in place extremely well.

Juliette
03-14-2007, 11:00 AM
I have to say that the two braided pigtails work well. I have thickish wavy hair past my shoulders and it has never stayed all back in a ponytail for a practice which along with getting used to wearing a gi, is very distracting! I tried 2 side braids, felt a bit silly, and it worked out well. Not once did I have to retie my hair back or mess with it in any way. Now I really canít imagine that anyone in a dojo would make a pervy comment concerning the school girl look while training and if something is said off the mat whether you are around or not, who cares, screw em!

jennyvanwest
03-15-2007, 12:09 PM
....I suppose if my hair was long enough and I was skilled enough, the Princess Leia hairstyle would be the most practical!
funny, I was just thinking about that last night! Imagine showing up with that hair-do! Everyone would get the joke and it might really work.

Lorien Lowe
03-18-2007, 05:34 PM
I had my grandma cut mine off this morning. It was getting tangled in my hands last time I did the dishes, and I couldn't take it any more.

Luc X Saroufim
03-22-2007, 01:02 PM
would a bun work?

jennyvanwest
03-30-2007, 11:41 AM
would a bun work?

I tried this once; not so good. then again, back then I was whacking myself in the nose with my knee trying to roll, so maybe it would work now.

Angela Morton
04-08-2007, 09:58 AM
I had my hair to below my bum for a long lime, it's now to the bottom of my shoulder blades, but that's because i wanted a change. It's more of a nuisance now as it's layered and the shorter layers wont stay back. When i had long hair i plaited it, then doubled it over so the end of the plat was tied up at the base of mu neck make a sort of loop of plaited air going down my neck. That always worked well, and as long as it stayed up no one i can remember knelt on it or anything.

Angela Morton
04-08-2007, 10:08 AM
:eek:
That made me laugh Jo. I hadn't really thought about that aspect.
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b379/deserthippie/peace.gif

You should think about it, I feel fear whenever a bloke pins me. Imagine a huge 6th kyu, twice as wide and tall as you, trying to go down to do ikkyo, shoving his knee right under your chest, and suddenly your roling around the mat, tears streaming down your face cluching your boobs while sensei runs over to ask if your ok. You're left thinking, i'll live, but if he does that again i'll knee bits he doesn't want squashed. It really really hurts. A note to the boys, what where your knees go, don't think we're always tapping because your doing the pin right, we just want you to move your knees! :p

Tony Wagstaffe
04-08-2007, 10:30 AM
Well guys don't have that problem!!! Have to admit that the ladies do look cute when all braided up and so forth... but can be a problem when doing ne waza..... great for me as I can easily slip out of irimi nages and the like!! har har! Mind you the missus has always had long locks and would often swish them about into the the eyes of those who were'nt expecting it!! Can be be an advantage at times!!

Jess McDonald
04-08-2007, 10:40 AM
Long hair, short hair hair is hair. Do you think a killer is going to care if hair is braided or whatever? Just kick ass, that's all.
When the apocalypse comes we should all shave our heads and go Mad Max style. That would cool!!!

Eddie Heinzelman
04-09-2007, 04:17 PM
Do you think outside the dojo an attacker wouldn't try to grab your hair? In a similar fashion, I go home every night from class with huge bruises on my arms and various strains....I even broke my toe last week in class. It's all part of training - if I can't take the pain in the dojo, then how much can I expect to take on the street?

I doubt there's any way to keep your hair from ever being pulled or knelt on during training, so it should be whichever way you find most comfortable.

I just recently started removing my earing during class....not that I've had a problem, but I sure don't want to think about having that accidentally ripped out during a fall.

ikkitosennomusha
04-11-2007, 11:07 PM
A ponytail can be made to work against you. If I was getting desperate, I might be encouraged to grab it and throw that person down with it.

I only offered the potential danger with it but I am sorry that I have not knowledge of how to deal with it. One might use a good deal of pomeade to keep it from flying all over the place.

Dajo251
04-14-2007, 08:54 AM
i forgot what technique we were practicing but i have very long hair that is usually pulled back in a braid well my instructor missed grabing the back of my gi and instead grabbed my hair, and threw me buy that, which wasnt all that fun, when i train i usually just tuck my hair in the back of my gi, it usually keeps it out of the way,

Qatana
04-14-2007, 04:46 PM
Tony, what gives you the idea that long hair is exclusively female? Did you happen to miss the last 40 years?