Addiction of the Puppetmaster
I think the answer lies in understanding that there are huge differences in the way we train ‘stand-up’ (karate, kickboxing, TKD, Kung Fu, etc) and the way we learn groundwork. And in my view, one of the biggest differences is as follows …
The way most people undertake their ‘stand-up’ training is by focussing on the way their own bodies operate; ie: our attention is largely on understanding how we execute kicks, strikes, elbow, knees, etc. Over time, we gain a better control and understanding of our own mechanical processes and skills. Most of our focus is turned inward, as we look at ourselves, and work on the things our own body can do.
Grappling is a very different process; here, our gaze turns outward, toward our opponent. Developing grappling skills requires that we gain skill in the control and manipulation of someone else’s body. In BJJ we strive to become the puppetmaster. This is a very different and alien concept for those who have focussed solely on non-grappling styles. And more besides; our opponent does not want to give us this control; and so we look more intently outward, gauging responses, seeing patterns and evolving solutions to an ever-increasing set of problems.
It is this new ‘style’ of learning – this de-mystification of the ‘Human Rubix Cube’ that becomes to captivating for us. But unlike the multi-coloured cubical puzzle that confused millions (and still does) – the human version continues to evolve and increase in complexity. Our BJJ training sees us in an endless quest to chase down the next viable solution … the dance continues.