My karate story:
I hated all sport, had no interest in martial arts, and was a hippy (hated violence) as a teenager. My dad heard about a female karate instructor from a friend of his - she was supposed to be really good at karate, and also really good at teaching non-sporty, hippy, teenaged girls. So he asked if I wanted to try it. And I said "HELL NO". And he asked again a month or so later, and I said "Why would I want to do karate, that's stupid!" And a month or so after that, he asked again, etc. Eventually I I got sick of telling my dad to get lost, so I went "just to look", and was surprised that it didn't look too much like sport, people were having fun, and there was no all-in-brawl. There were also some teenaged girls like me there. And the teacher was fantastic (on the Australian team). So I started training. Many years later, with a total of 7 years off from training due to injuries, and time spent doing another karate style while living in the US, starting back at white belt not once but twice, I'm now preparing for my black belt grading. (And I'm a karate teacher.)
My BJJ story:
Because of karate, I read martial arts magazines, and I kept reading about the success of BJJ in MMA competitions, the Gracies, etc. I was interested in it, but there was nowhere I could do it in my town. Then my karate instructor moved our school into a bigger building last year, and the new school has two training areas. She then set about finding good instructors from other martial arts/sporty activities, and offering them the use of one of the training areas (renting the space to them, in order to make the building a martial arts centre). So the school got Kung Fu, Aikido, BJJ, Capoiera, Tai Chi, Pilates, etc. The BJJ instructor was from another city nearby, and he travelled to my town twice a week to teach. I think he offered a free class or something, and I thought "What the hell" and tried it and liked it. I was pretty nervous because there were no other girls, and I did come up against some problems because of that (still do sometimes). But I enjoyed it a lot, and have since convinced some of my karate friends to join and train with me. Since I started, the teacher has changed to the guy (whose teaching style agrees with me better)who used to come down with the main teacher to help out in class, and somewhere along the way, I think we stopped doing Machado and started doing Gracie (due to the addition of a member of the Gracie family to the school).