So I tried to trace it back. And then I remembered! When I was still working at Kaiser Permanente, Cooking LIght asked readers if any of them wanted Gin Miller, the lady who created Step Aerobics, to design a workout for them. I'm sure a lot of people volunteered, but I got super lucky and got picked!
She designed a boxing workout and Cooking LIght even sent me a pair of bright pink boxing gloves and handwraps. I liked it. It was hard! You can do it yourself!
And then my gym offered a kickboxing class, and I took it. The instructor was a black belt in kajukenbo, and he asked if we would be interesred in learning it. It's a mixed marital art. The "ka" stand for karate, the "ju" for judo, the "ken" for kenpo, and the "bo" stands for both Chinese and American boxing. I made it from a white sash to orange and was a few weeks away from testing for purple.
When that instructor left the gym, I looked around and got super lucky. I found Southwest Portland Martial Arts. I started taking kung fu, which is a cousin to kajukenbo. Still I had to start at the bottom again.
Kung fu has been great for me - sparring, forms, and even some grappling. I have moved from white belt to orange, and am now purple. I hope to trest for blue in the next year.
As part of kung fu, we had to do some grappling: arm bars, rear naked chokes, a mount escape. Then my school started offering Brazilian jiujitsu. (aka grappling, aka wrestling + chokes + joint locks)
I have fallen in love. In love even more than I am with kung fu. I love it even though I am not a natural, and I don't have much in my favor. I'm 57, I'm not particualrly flexible, I'm a lady, a lot of my partners outweigh me, and I am not all that good at even knowing where my body is in space, let alone other people's bodies.
I don't care. All I care about is that it's fun.