Army veteran Joey Bozik, a triple amputee, won his first competitive jiu-jitsu match at the weekend as he competed in his eighth tournament.
Per Marie Saavedra of WFAA.com, Bozik enjoyed his first competitive win at the IBJJF Austin Open in Texas, courtesy of a wrist lock in the final seconds of the contest.
Bozik, who lost both of his legs and an arm in 2004 while serving in Iraq, has been competing in jiu-jitsu for the last three years but failed to win a match in his first seven tournaments.
He uploaded a video of the start of the fight to Instagram to celebrate his victory, along with a heartfelt message:
Bozik fought in the Master 2 Blue Belt Featherweight category, and his win earned him second place, ahead of John Moores and behind Sylvester Johnson, per the IBJJF's official website.
He also posted to Instagram after his second match, which he lost:
Per Saavedra, he said of the victory: "It was really hard not to scream out loud of excitement. I was happy. I was exhausted, I was overwhelmed with joy!"
Bozik launched the We Defy Foundation to get other combat veterans involved in jiu-jitsu, and he teaches a self-defence class for children five days a week.
He spoke of his decision to take up the sport, per Saavedra: "It started off as just something to do physically, to keep myself active, something to do with my kids. But in the end, it became a personal focus as well, getting better both physically and mentally."
Of his students, he added: "I want them to look at me and see anything’s possible. It’s an experience in their lives where they can see someone who’s not like them, but they can see how that person perseveres."