Iraq War veteran Joey Bozik defies the odds and hopes his story inspires others to keep fighting no matter what challenges they may have.
Bozik, injured in 2004 in a blast from an improvised explosive device, is a triple amputee who now has a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
Last weekend at the Austin Open, he won his first ever fight.
"They didn't know what to do," Bozik said, about checking in for the match. "They're like, 'Should we even let him on the mat? What if he gets hurt? He's a liability. Look at him. He's already messed up!'"
It was a milestone on the long road since his injury.
"The explosion went into the floor of my vehicle, and that was that," Bozik said frankly. "I woke up as a triple amputee. My biggest concern was what the future was going to hold for me."
He had no idea it would lead to the Tier 1 Training Facility in McKinney. Bozik first went there so his daughter could take Jiu-Jitsu. The instructor suggested he give it a try, too.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"Jiu-Jitsu has helped me reorient myself and my goals, my passion, my desire," Bozik said. "The things that made me who I was before I got injured had gone away after my injury, and I needed a way to find them again. I needed a way to redefine myself."
Taking classes led to helping teach children's classes at the gym.
"Part of it is them understanding anything is possible," Bozik said. "If I can do Jiu-Jitsu, they can do Jiu-Jitsu."
Bozik is sharing his love for Jiu-Jitsu. He and his mentor at Tier 1 Training started the We Defy Foundation, which gives year-long scholarships to wounded veterans to start Jiu-Jitsu training.
"If people are inspired by what I do, then that's something good that's come out of the tragedy that has happened to me," Bozik said. "But I do it because I do it for me."