Have a look at MMA fighter photos, specifically on their ears. What do you see? You will see most of them have ugly looking ears similar to a cauliflower. Something that looks like this:

The cauliflower ear is a result of blunt trauma that often occurs during combat sports training. In terms of BJJ or grappling, the ears are very vulnerable to a hard squeeze or friction with the mat or your partner’s gi fabric during drills or sparring sessions.

The trauma on the ears can lead to hematomas, or small collections of blood that clot and block the flow of blood and nutrients. These can also occur when skin is pulled away from the ear cartilage tissue.

Why Cauliflower Ears Are Awesome

Cauliflower ears look disgusting and I can understand people who remove them. The removal is pretty easy; just go to a doctor and you will have your ear drained out to its original shape using a syringe. It takes less than five minutes to remove a cauliflower ear.

My friends have been telling me to drain my cauliflower ears but I choose not to because I love having them. I could think a number of reasons why I decide to keep them:

1. Cauliflower ears make you look like a bad ass

People who train know that you are not someone to mess with and people who don’t will find out why the hard way if they try to square up with you. Nightclub bouncers also respect you more if you have cauliflower ears. They do not judge someone based on their muscle size or looks, they will see your ears. At times, they will even greet you with the word “oss” if they see you have cauliflower ears.

2. They are like a badge of honor

My cauliflower ears symbolize how hard I train on the mat. The worse they look, the harder I train and the better person I become. A lot of professional fighters also decide to keep their ears fucked up because of this reason as well. Think of it as the belt-less rank system; wrestling does not have any belt system but you can tell the difference between a rookie and a seasoned veteran by their ears.

3. It does not affect your hearing

You can hear just fine with cauliflower ears. The shape might look like as if it blocks your ear hole but it really has no effect whatsoever to your hearing. The only problem you might have is putting earphones in but other than this, your ears function normally.

How To Get Cauliflower Ears

Due to the badassery rep of the cauliflower ears, a lot of kids even try to get them to make themselves look tough. I am going to give you some tips on how to develop cauliflower ears either through training in grappling or just through everyday stuffs if you just want the bad-ass look without training in self defense or grappling.

If you train in grappling, here are the three easiest ways to get your ears look like a bad ass:

1. Get triangled a lot

Your partner’s squeeze combined with the friction between your ears and his thigh is an excellent go to move to develop a big solid cauliflower ear. Make sure you do not tap too quickly and try your best to escape the triangle by pulling your head out of it. Get spazzy because the dirtier you try to escape the triangle, the harder frictions your ears gonna get.

2. Play half guard a lot

The half guard is my favorite guard and it also allows me to develop cauliflower ears whenever I am using it. In the half guard, you want to be in an angle, not flat, with your back and you also want to press your head as deep as possible to your opponent’s chest or belly. Your opponent’s reaction is usually trying to smash you downward and by doing this, your ear will be under a lot of stress and frictions, making it vulnerable to grow the cauliflower shape.

3. Get into headlocks and guillotines

Credit: grapplearts.com

The mechanics for creating cauliflower ears from this position is similar with the triangles. The difference is that the squeeze and friction come from your opponent’s armpit rather than his thigh. To get into the guillotine choke is also very easy; just go for a single or double leg takedown and make sure to pop your head outside your opponent’s body. A trained person will always go for that headlock and guillotine.

If you are training in striking based combat sports, you can always expose your ears to punches and kicks to swell them up. I am not, however, responsible for any potential brain damage if you decide to take on this route.

Now, for those who do not train but want to have a bad ass looking cauliflower ears, the easiest way to get them is by using everyday stuffs already available in your home or in the groceries. Some of these methods are:

  1. Use two plastic bottles and ask your friend to bang your ears with them from the front and the back at the same time. This mimic the pressure you will get on your ears if you train in grappling. Do this around two to five minutes every day and within a week, you will develop a cauliflower that a BJJ purple belt would be proud of.
  2. Purchase a BJJ gi and rub its fabric against your ear with as much force and intensity as possible. Frictions with the BJJ gi are what your ears having to deal with if you train grappling. Do this as often as possible during your free time at home so your friends do not look at you like a freak. If buying a gi without actually train is too expensive for you, then you can also use regular towels as an alternative. It will not, however, develop cauliflowers as quick as the gi.
  3. Bang your ears constantly and regularly to a wall. This will mimic the type of trauma your ears will endure if you take boxing or muaythai classes. It is also less dangerous to your brain too because you can control the intensity of the impact on your ears and heads.

Whether you train or not, everyone can get bad ass looking cauliflower ears for some street cred.

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Hans David

A lifestyle journalist and a student of the gentle art with Alliance Jiu Jitsu Indonesia. Subscribe to my blog for more BJJ stuffs and occasionally, some rants.
Hans David
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