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The Hijab & Jiu Jitsu

It's the blog post I've been avoiding.

The Hijab-MY Hijab is not something that I often talk about publicly. For me, my Hijab is personal. I wear it for personal reasons. My relationship with it has always been personal and so for that reason alone, I won't dwell into the concept of Hijab from a religious perspective.

I will however dive straight into some of the questions I get on a regular basis.

One of the most common DM's I get on my instagram account @ladyzeeofficial and most common posts I get on my YouTube videos is about Hijab. I always have women asking if I ever feel self conscious wearing it, does it ever slip off, do people get offended if you're wearing it, is it a problem at tournament, and the list goes on. So, to tackle all of ya'll's problems with Hijab and training BJJ, I've compiled a list of frequently asked questions below for your convenience. You're welcome!

Frequently asked questions I get about my Hijab in Jiu Jitsu:

  1. Do you ever feel self conscious while training with your Hijab? I'll be honest, I used to feel super self conscious when I first started as a white belt. Bear in mind, when I started as a white belt I was coming out of a very traumatic time in my life and my confidence was at an all time low. As I continued training consistently I realized that everyone is self conscious about their own training. Meaning, that everyone in the room is more focused on themselves and the mistakes they are making. I realized that no one gave two shits about me as they were more focused on improving their BJJ training. I did however feel extremely self conscious when I walked into my very first BJJ tournament. There were no other Hijabi's training BJJ when I started. I was the only Hijabi who signed up to compete. I was probably the first Hijabi to ever get a BJJ medal in Canada, but even so, I was terrified of making a fool of myself. I was terrified that people would judge me on my skills during my match. These feelings were short-lived because I remember being in the bull pen with my opponent and being the friendly person that I am, I turned and introduced myself. I noticed that we both had sweaty hands when we shook and I asked her if she was nervous. She answered, "ohmygod you have no idea! I'm terrified right now". And at that moment I realized that EVERYONE who walks into the bull pen before their fight is scared. EVERYONE is afraid of being judged. EVERYONE is second guessing themselves and trying to calm themselves down. EVERYONE if freaking out! Hijab or no Hijab, I'm not the first person to have these feelings and I certainly won't be the last.

  2. Is wearing Hijab a problem for other people you train with? My answer to this question is always the same. If your Hijab is a problem for the academy owners and the people you train under, then honey, you're in the wrong place! Find a BJJ academy that is in line with your values. Your BJJ school should feel like a second home. If you're not feeling welcome then it's time to find a different school. Take your precious time and hard earned money somewhere else. I will say that as with most sports, BJJ brings people of all backgrounds, creeds, colour, orientation, and languages together. Just like when we wear the Ihram at Hajj (the white cloth worn by pilgrims during the pilgrimage to Mecca), when you put your Gi on, everything else about your life is irrelevant. You are one of the team, you are there to learn, grow, and to improve together.

3. Where did you get your sports Hijab from? I got my Hijab from Asiya Sport (not affiliated).

4. How do you prevent your Hijab from slipping and flapping? Like everything that is human made, even sports Hijabs are not perfect for grappling. There are a few things you can do to prevent slippage: 1. You can use eyelash glue on the inner rim of your hijab at your forehead. Your hijab won't go anywhere! 2. You can sew or iron on a rubber adhesive to the inner rim of your hijab at your forehead so your Hijab doesn't slip. 3. Make sure your hair is braided underneath and secured in place. 4. Tuck your hijab into your sports bra underneath to prevent flapping.

5. What do you do if there are no girls to train with and you don't want to train with men? This is a common concern in most BJJ academies, so rest assured, you are not alone in this. Most BJJ schools don't have a huge female presence. BJJ is still very much male dominated, however there are more and more girls joining the sport each year. If there are NO girls at your gym:

  1. Find a friend that might want to come and train with you. BJJ is better with friends!

  2. Attend open mats at other gyms in your city so you can get some training in.

  3. Ask your instructor if he/she is OK with you cross training at other gyms if there are women's classes closer available.

  4. Ask the instructor if they are open to advertising for a women's only program.

If there are girls at your gym, but you don't train at the same time, get their phone number and become friends! Text and keep in touch so you know when the other person is training so you can train together. Having a buddy system helps a lot!

6. Do I have to train with men? No, you absolutely don't have to train with anyone you are not comfortable with. You should not be forced to train with someone if you're not feeling safe or if you're feeling uncomfortable. Talk to your instructor and let them know how you're feeling.

7. Would I be allowed to wear my Hijab while training?

You can definitely wear your Hijab while training BJJ, however there are some rules to ensure safety: 1. Your Hijab should NOT be loose and flowy. It is highly dangerous to have loose and flowy fabric in a grappling sport. If your fingers or your opponent's fingers get wrapped around any loose fabric and get stuck in a scramble, someone can lose their fingers! Make sure that what you are wearing is tight fitted to the head. One of the reasons why I love the Asiya Sports Hijab is that it is tight to the head with breathable fabric and doesn't have extra loose fabric.

2. Absolutely NO pins, or magnets. 3. Your Hijab should be a pull over Hijab, NOT one that you need to secure with buttons or by tying it behind your head. Again, any loose unsecured fabric can be risky and dangerous.

8. What should I be wearing for Nogi?

When training Nogi, you can wear your sports Hijab, so long as it's tucked in and secured. A long sleeved rash guard and fight shorts with leggings is ideal, however you can also wear Gi pants, as long as you don't grab the Gi while training (it's a DQ in a comp setting).

9. Don't you get hot in your Hijab?

First of all, everyone gets hot when they're training-DUH! If you don't get hot it just means that you're: (1) not paying attention, and (2) you're wasting time and not actually training.

10. Does your Hijab ever bother you while training?

Negative. It actually doesn't bother me that much. There are times where I need to adjust it here and there, but for the most part, it stays put and doesn't bother me much. After a while you don't notice it. In fact, while most people with long hair are tying and re-tying their hair, I'm just over here ready to keep going without pausing. Because I braid my hair underneath and have it secured, I don't have to fix it much. And if I do have to fix it, it's not a huge deal.

Well there you have it! I hope these q & a's were helpful. Share this post with a friend that might need some support!



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Zenab! I hope you enjoy reading about my musings in the world of entrepreneurship as I navigate reaching my Jiu Jitsu goals while helping other women achieve theirs. 

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