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Ear Protection and Cauliflower Ear Info

Cauliflower ears are a sensitive subject (literally) in the grappling sports.  Some practitioners (usually the younger meathead/lug-nutz types) desire cauliflower ear as they want to wear it like a badge of honor.  To them, nothing says, “I’m a tough-guy” like having your ears deformed and distorted.

I’m personally not in that camp.  My wife is DEFINITELY not in that camp.  She supports me in my jiu-jitsu pursuits and the spirit of martial arts but has said on a number of occasions, “No cauliflower ear.  It looks horrible and disgusting.  If you get it, your days on the mats are numbered!”  Now the truth is, my wife is very supportive and would never tell me what to do, but she is certainly not a fan of disfigured ears.

I’m not a big fan either.  To me, it’s not that appropriate for the industry that I am in (Professional wealth management and financial planning).  I’m a CPA and a certified financial planner.  I am working with goal-oriented professionals that are clean-cut and usually very educated and polished.

With that said, I also have very sensitive and brittle ears.  Some practitioners have very flexible/rubbery ears that never crack.  They get disappointed when they learn that they can’t get cauliflower ear.  I am not in that camp.  If a fly lands on my ear it could crack.  It’s painful when they crack to the point where laying on a pillow at night is not possible.  They also require draining when they fill with fluid.  Draining cauliflower ears requires time off from practicing, another huge negative when you love rolling and train with a higher volume approach.

As a result, I usually wear headgear when I train.  It keeps my ears protected.  Wearing headgear takes a bit of getting used to but once I adapted, I hate rolling without it.  I feel vulnerable and I can feel my ears getting mashed if I ever get caught in headlocks or triangles.  It’s just not worth it to me to roll unprotected.

My favorite headgear is by GrappleArts and could be found here;

I have also tried and used the Matman Ultrasoft with good success.  The key with headgear is that it should be soft so as to not injure, cut, or scrape up your training partners face when you roll.  Always be courteous to your training partners.