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WE DEFY FOUNDATION is proud to host its Los Angeles Gala on Saturday, November 02, 2019. 

The inaugural LA event will be held at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown. The WDF Gala will feature entertainment, dinner, and a live and silent auction*. All funds raised will directly benefit We Defy's healing mission.


The We Defy Foundation was founded in 2015 by veterans Alan Shebaro and Joey Bozik. They recognized the therapeutic benefits that Jiu Jitsu provides for addressing disabilities incurred from military service. The physical fitness and human touch components of the practice physiologically interrupt the negative physical and emotional feedback loops experienced by people suffering from conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Participation in a safe and structured program that exhibits the warrior culture provides familiarity(camaraderie, accomplishment, accountability) and returns a sense of control to the lives of veterans.


Involvement in this highly diverse and supportive civilian community helps combat the alienation and loneliness veterans often experience after leaving service. These factors significantly improve the quality of life of disabled combat veterans and can complement more traditional forms of therapy, leading to improved recovery outcomes, and they are uniquely present in the practice of Jiu Jitsu.


We understand how important it is to take care of our returning combat veterans and are committed to giving them tools to battle life's new challenges.


ATTIRE: Cocktail 

*The InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown offers valet parking for all event attendees at a rate of $24.00/car.

Hotel valet parking is $44.00 + tax per car, per day, for overnight guests.*

*Please review our auction guidelines before placing bids 

Formal INvite


InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Discounted Room Rate

Discounted room rates at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown are available for Gala guests.

Click here to make your reservation.

To ensure your We Defy Gala room rate, your reservations must be made by October 14th.


Keynote Speaker: Chris Haueter

Chris Haueter Keynote

Chris is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt under Rigan Machado, a grade achieved in December 1996 making Haueter a member of the "BJJ Dirty Dozen", the first 12 practitioners outside Brazil to achieve the rank of black belt in this martial art. Haueter is also a former US Marine and founder of the Combat Base Jiu Jitsu school, being known among the grappling community for his pioneering teaching style and conceptual coaching ability.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Helio Gracie > Carlos Gracie Jr > Rigan Machado > Chris Haueter

Main Achievements:

IBJJF World Master Champion (2015 master 5)
IBJJF Pan American Champion (2009 senior 2)
IBJJF World Master Championship Runner-up (2015 master 5 absolute)
Favorite Position/Technique: Stack Pass (Bandeja)

Weight Division: Peso Leve (76kg/167lbs)

Team/Association: Combat Base


Guest Speaker: Professor Brian Marvin

Brian Marvin Guest Speaker

A 2nd Degree Black Belt, Brian is the head instructor and owner of Renzo Gracie Houston. Retired after 20 years as Active Duty Soldier in the Army, Brian has been instructing since 2008. He was the BJJ coach for 5th SFG(A) from 2008-2014. Brian was also attached to the 160th SOAR(A) from 2008-2014, with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Professor Brian received his Black Belt from Master Carlos Gracie Jr. in 2011 and his 1st Degree from Professor Vinicius "Draculino" Magalhaes in 2014.

Professor Brian served as the President of We Defy Foundation from 2018 - 2019. He continues to support the We Defy mission spreading awareness and hosting seminars across the country.

Brian's BJJ accomplishments are too many to list.


Master of Ceremonies: Steven Briggs

Steven Briggs Emcee

Steven is an LA-based comedian, writer & actor. He has a unique, high-energy style of comedy that keeps his audiences on their toes. His amusing anecdotes are enhanced by his use of sound effects, act outs and well-developed characters. He has just returned from his 6th AFE tour performing for the US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ethiopia and many more. He has also recently been featured on TruTV's Laff Tracks, Hulu's Coming to the Stage, Jokesters TV on the CW and most recently, Netflix's Unbelievable.

Veteran Athlete Panel

Joey Bozik - Moderator


Joey Bozik joined the army in 2000 and was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, home of the 82nd Airborne and Army Special Forces. After 6 years of service, he was severely injured by an IED while operating in Iraq. He lost both of his legs and his right arm below the elbow. He received a purple heart and a bronze star for his service. After returning to civilian life Joey completed his Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a focus on Forensic Psychology. He worked for a season with the Department of Homeland Security child sex crimes division as a computer forensics analyst before co-founding We Defy Foundation. Joey knows firsthand the benefits of training martial arts for a disabled combat veteran. He holds a 1st Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Kenpo Kobudo and has been training Jiu Jitsu since 2014 under Professor Alan Shebaro. Since he began his Jiu Jitsu journey he has lost 35lbs and went from being wheelchair-bound to an active Jiu Jitsu competitor.

Lisa Shackelford - Panelist

Lisa Shackelford panelist

Hailing from Mississippi, Lisa Shackelford proudly served in the U.S. Navy and is a former We Defy Foundation Athlete. Lisa is currently a Blue Belt under Professor Erick Raposo and trains at JM Modern JJ in Baton Rouge, LA. She began training for purely self-defense purposes but quickly discovered the mental and health benefits of Jiu Jitsu. She has since competed in Master Worlds and Pan Ams, as well as many other IBJJF competitions. Lisa now owns Ascension Jewelry and is the South East Regional Representative for We Defy Foundation, raising awareness about the positive impact Jiu Jitsu can make in the lives of veterans. 

Rory Hamill - Panelist

Rory Hamill Panelist

Corporal Rory Hamill was born September 10, 1988 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C and was raised in Brick, NJ. Shortly after graduation from Brick Memorial High School in June, 2006, Cpl. Hamill left for Parris Island, S.C. to begin his basic training for the United States Marine Corps. He graduated Boot Camp in February 2007 and proceeded to Camp Geiger, NC to begin training at the School of Infantry. Cpl. Hamill served his first deployment in Iraq from November 2007 until May 2008. Upon his return, he saw his newborn daughter Keira for the first time. In May of 2009, he traveled to Afghanistan for the first time and after 7 months of deployment, Cpl. Hamill arrived home to meet his new son Liam. He re-enlisted, and in January 2011, left for a second deployment to Afghanistan. On February 13, 2011, while out on patrol, Cpl. Hamill stepped on a low metallic pressure plate, detonating 20 pounds of homemade explosives just 5 feet away. The blast launched him 10 feet in the air, immediately shearing his right leg off at the knee. Cpl. Hamill endured 11 surgeries which eventually left him as an above the knee amputee. On May 13, 2011, exactly 3 months to the day of his injury, he took his first steps on his new prosthetic leg.  His recovery continued over the next 13 months, and on June 7, 2012, Cpl. Hamill moved back to New Jersey. Cpl. Hamill began working with NAVAIR at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. He was also contracted as a Prosthetics Tester for Íssur based in Reykjavik, Iceland. He medically retired from the U.S. Marine Corps on October 31, 2012.

Contact Us

We Defy Foundation
Questions? Please contact Jen Brown.


InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, 900 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017, USA

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