Tragedy to triumph: One-legged man wins a*** kicking contest
A ONE-legged man has proved doubters wrong after winning an arse-kicking contest against able-bodied fighters.
Tewantin fighting machine Jed Gray claimed gold at the 2019 Sunshine Coast Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship earlier this month.
It's taken him 16 years but he has turned tragedy into triumph.
Mr Gray lost his right leg in a horrific car crash on Valentine's Day in 2003, aged just 16.
His life instantly changed for the worst.
"Basically I got my one my friends who could drive at the time to take me and my girlfriend out to dinner. We never made it," Mr Gray said.
"It hasn't been easy and I am not one to complain.
"But it was a pretty s---y hand to be dealt at that age."
Mr Gray first tried his hand at boxing, sparring with a prosthetic leg. But the sport's rules do not allow amputees to compete.
It was by chance he heard the Jiu-Jitsu didn't share the same views as boxing and he rocked up to the Noosa Heads CAZA club.
"When I heard I could compete I was pretty excited," he said.
"I like to train most days, sometimes six times a week.
"Learning new skills has been great for me, just to keep my mind clear and myself healthy.
"I figured it would be fitting considering sitting is my most comfortable position.
"Takedowns are still quite challenging but once I'm on top I'm pretty good."
Under Queensland Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Circuit rules, a fight winner is determined by points, referee's decision or submission.
Mr Gray won both his semi-final and final in less than a minute via submission, meaning his opponents were forced to "tap-out" to an aggressive hold from which no escape is possible.
His win shocked in the medium heavy masters 1 division shocked both the crowd and fellow competitors.
"It was only my second comp, the first one I snapped a tendon so not getting injured was great," he said.
"The first fight I took him down pretty quickly, and the same happened again.
"But I am very proud. It is the most positive thing in my life, Jiu-Jitsu is everything to me.
"When he raised my hand it was such a good feeling."
CAZA Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu officials have heard of examples in the United States of war veterans who lost limps to explosions getting into the sport.
However, Mr Gray is the first they've encountered in Australia.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a highly-technical sport which is about controlling opponents until outscoring or submission is possible.
Without one leg is a serious obstacle but Mr Gray has found a way of turning his clear hindrance into an advantage.
Jed's courage has been a source of great motivation to his teammates of all ranks.
CAZA professor and third degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Yoshi Hasegawa has taken a special interest in adapting the conventional techniques to Jed's unique strengths and weaknesses.
"If anyone wants to make excuses in our gym, they can take it up with Jed," Mr Hasegawa said.
"His courage has been a source of great motivation to his teammates of all ranks."