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Old 03-07-2007, 07:12 PM   #1
sefie
Dojo: Glen Waverley
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Long hair and Aikido

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
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:33 PM   #2
crbateman
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

Paging Dr. Seiser... Paging Dr. Seiser...
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:42 PM   #3
giriasis
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:35 PM   #4
Joe Jutsu
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:42 PM   #5
ccain85
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.

To win 100 victories in 100 battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill.
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:43 PM   #6
Mary Turner
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

I get my hair knelt on all the time.
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
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Old 03-07-2007, 10:05 PM   #7
cserrit
 
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.

Hope that helps

-C
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:44 AM   #8
Amanda
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.
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Old 03-08-2007, 05:42 AM   #9
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.
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Old 03-08-2007, 06:41 AM   #10
charyuop
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.
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Old 03-08-2007, 06:43 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
Paging Dr. Seiser... Paging Dr. Seiser...
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.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-08-2007, 07:48 AM   #12
crbateman
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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/
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Old 03-08-2007, 09:01 AM   #13
Qatana
 
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

"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.

Q
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www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 03-08-2007, 09:16 AM   #14
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote: View Post
I'm more concerned when my boobs get knelt on than my hair.

That made me laugh Jo. I hadn't really thought about that aspect.
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:54 AM   #15
crbateman
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote: View Post
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...
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:59 AM   #16
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Wink Re: Long hair and Aikido

Quote:
Clint Cain wrote: View Post
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.
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.
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Old 03-08-2007, 12:12 PM   #17
charyuop
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.
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Old 03-08-2007, 03:29 PM   #18
sefie
Dojo: Glen Waverley
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

Thank you for all the replies!

Luckily, I haven't had hair-pull tori done on me (yet ) 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

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

PS: If the way to avoid boob-kneeling is boob-braiding... I might give that suggestion a miss
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Old 03-08-2007, 03:30 PM   #19
James Davis
 
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

Quote:
Gianluigi Pizzuto wrote: View Post
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...

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 03-08-2007, 05:07 PM   #20
Timothy WK
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

Quote:
Marie Noelle Fequiere wrote: View Post
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.

--Timothy Kleinert
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:57 PM   #21
Lan Powers
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

<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
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Old 03-09-2007, 02:04 PM   #22
Insane Duane
 
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.
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Old 03-11-2007, 07:59 AM   #23
Michael Douglas
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

Quote:
Timothy Walters Kleinert wrote: View Post
... 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.
Quote:
Marie Noelle Fequiere wrote: View Post
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.
Quote:
Clint Cain wrote: View Post
... 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.
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.
Quote:
Joe Proffitt wrote: View Post
... 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.
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Old 03-14-2007, 02:38 AM   #24
jennyvanwest
 
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote: View Post
I'm more concerned when my boobs get knelt on than my hair.
ditto

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
http://www.aikido-sanleandro.com/gallery/pc19.htm
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Old 03-14-2007, 03:48 AM   #25
Bridge
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Re: Long hair and Aikido

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.
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