Maxed out your dead lift? Hit a new sprint PR? Rest at least 3 - 5 minutes before trying that particular type of work again. Or, consider ending the training for that attribute and move on to something else in your workout!
SAID should govern all of our training. If you want to be strong you need to lift progressively heavier and heavier weights. Want to be fast? Safely move loads faster and faster. Need better endurance and cardio? Move loads for progressively longer and longer periods of time.
Today we’re not going to get into energy systems and proper work:rest ratios. That is a GIANT topic that needs its own dedicated post, maybe even its own series. Just know that that is another variable that layers on top of the SAID principle. For simplicity’s sake, keep in mind that as the intensity of the load (speed, weight, duration) goes up then the length of rest needs to increase as well.
We should apply the SAID principle to our grappling training as well!
Want to be a leg locker? Put yourself into various leg entanglements and figure out how to defend and attack.
Want to improve your wrestling? Start on the feet every round, scramble up to your feet as much as possible, and whatever you do - don’t pull guard.
All of this is logical and simple. Why, then, is it so hard to apply the SAID principle to the training room rounds? I’m not talking about the technical aspects of your training. I’m talking about the physiological aspects that affect your jiu-jitsu. Your strength, endurance, explosivity, and long term cardio. We need to train for those aspects as well.
If you want to be strong, practice moving bigger and stronger partners.
If you want to be explosive, practice exploding through your partner when you shoot takedowns.
If you want better endurance, practice maintaining grips, hooks, posture and other elements of your game that are subject to muscular failure.
If you want better long term cardio, train at a consistent low-moderate pace for longer and longer periods of time.
These are just a few simple examples. The primary ways that the training environment can be modulated, and often is not, is by extending or shortening the work and rest times.
Do a cardio training day - set the timer for 15 minutes and keep moving the entire time. You’ll have to lower your intensity so you can maintain your breathing.
Do an explosive day - set the timers for 2 minutes of work with 90 seconds - 2 minutes of rest.
Two things are important to point out here:
- These are my conclusions. This is not a research study. If anything this is anecdotal evidence based on training principles, namely SAID.
- I did not do a good job at looking at evidence to disprove my theory. I looked at evidence that highlighted the benefits while admitting limitations. At best this is bro science. At worst it is bad science. Maybe it’s the same?
Grappling Improvements Made Simple With SAID
Practice How You Play
The martial arts and their practitioners are known for having weird training routines. I’m not thinking about Daniel Son waxing on and off. When I talk about martial artists having eccentric training programs, I think about Conor McGregor’s notorious touch “butt in the park”, Tony Ferguson kicking metal poles to strengthen his shins, and whatever Diego Sanchez was convinced to do by his narcissistic former coach. For whatever reason, martial artists seem to progressively adopt weirder and weird training programs as time goes on.
The legendary martial artist Bas Rutten was a character in his own right. Rutten was an MMA pioneer that held UFC gold and produced one of the most hilarious self-defense videos ever created. The man has more sounds than . While Bas was eccentric his training was oddly logical in an area full of wild ideas.
When Bas would prepare for a fight he would punch and kick the bag as hard as he can for as long as he could. Eventually he would work up to 3 minutes and then take a break. Then he would resume punching and kicking as hard as he could trying to make it another 3 minutes.
Why 3 minutes? That was the length of kickboxing rounds.
Why only throw power shots? That was how Bas wanted to fight.
Why is this relevant? Because, by and large, martial artists, particularly jiu-jitsu practitioners, don’t put any consideration into how they want to perform and end up not maximizing their own potential.
Bas was intuitively using one of the most helpful ideas in all of motor learning and sport science, the SAID Principle. SAID is a powerful principle that we should all use to guide our training.
As we discussed in a previous article principles are wide ranging rules for why techniques, tactics, and strategies work. The SAID principle
SAID is a convenient acronym that means
Principles are at their best when they are short, sweet, and to the point.
Principles are wide ranging. Where strategy is the why of what you’ll do, principles are the rules for why the technique works. When you understand principles you can accelerate your learning and generate more creative solutions in real time.