Nancy Bouffiou had just picked her oldest son up from a karate practice some 14 years ago when she decided to sign up for a class or two.
Her son, Matthew Meek, was amused by the thought.
“I said I thought it looked like fun, and he said, ‘You can’t do it. You’re a mom. You’re a girl’,” she said.
Nearly a decade and half of practice and competition later, Bouffiou has turned into one bad mama.
In that time, the Grass Valley resident is a third degree black belt in Kem Screma-Doh, and has also earned black belts in both Kenpo karate and Tae Kwon Do.
“The thing about martial arts is you never stop learning. You learn technique, and about yourself. Things you can do, and things you can’t,” she said.
Bouffiou, who teaches martial arts in Grass Valley, said her sport can bring out the best in anyone.
“The thing about team sports is it takes a lot of people to be successful. (In martial arts), all it takes to be successful is setting goals and reaching them,” she said. “You don’t have to be Bruce Lee (to succeed). It doesn’t matter what anyone else around you does, it’s about you,” she said.
Tony Martin, 76, of Grass Valley had inquired in the past about joining the prestigious Gold Rush senior softball team, but there never was a vacancy to fill.
Because of word of mouth and a little scouting, however, Martin was invited to join the Gold Rush in time to play a few summer tournaments this year. And yes, Martin has already found gold.
Martin and his Gold Rush teammates from the Sacramento area won a state tournament in Concord, a precursor to the United States Specialty Sports Association national tournament championship they won recently in Salem, Ore. The Gold Rush won five games en route to the title, three of them won with mercy rules.
“I knew of them over the years, and drooled wishing I could play for them,” said Martin, who plays third base for the Gold Rush. “I played the best I could and helped them a little, but they all were fantastic.
Martin, who is batting .490 with his Gold Country Senior Softball Association team, will join the Gold Rush in less than two weeks for another national softball tournament, this time in Des Moines, Iowa.
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The 2021 High School Optimist All Star teams for baseball, softball and boys volleyball have been announced, and several local student-athletes made the cut.