Once upon a time, Jena Bishop was not yet the tenacious BJJ black belt that people know and love in the San Diego area. In fact, her trajectory was vastly different. Had her life’s direction gone another way, her life could have been vastly different. Unrecognizable even.
“I grew up in St. Charles, MO, just outside of St. Louis,” Jena said about her upbringing. With three sisters, all of which were very athletic, Jena had the genetics for sport but spent more time country riding horses with her aunts than on anything remotely resembling BJJ. It wasn’t until she spent a year away from home and subsequently came back that she received her intro to the sport.
It wasn’t until she spent a year away from home attending bible college and deciding it wasn’t for her that
“I moved back home (after bible college) and met the love of my life Tyler Bishop, we’ve been together for 13 years, married for 9. He introduced me to the sport. By boyfriend at the time, he (Tyler) would use me and my sisters as practice dummies when he’d come back from practice. I told him he had to at least show me how defend against his “attacks.” He showed me some moves and convinced me to try a class and I fell in love with the saport. I’ve been training for 11 years now.”
The two along with their two Shiba Inus (dogs, her pride and joy) now live and train in the BJJ hotbed of San Diego but they still credit Missouri as having provided their BJJ roots.
“I started out jiujitsu with JW Wright and trained with him in St. Louis for 9 years. I’m so grateful to have started my journey and received every belt from white to black under his instruction. JW always encouraged us to explore jiujitsu and be creative. He would always tell us if we traveled to take our gi and train with new people. He created a vibe that that made training fun and our academy was always super welcoming.”
Jena and Tyler have taken that philosophy with them everywhere they go. And they’re completely immersed in the BJJ lifestyle, whether it be training, working out, teaching others, or working in a variety of capacities at BJJ events. For her part, Jena is trying to take it as far as she can go. Although she has a life outside the sport, a lot of what she does is rooted in BJJ.
“I love self improvement. I’m always looking for a challenge or ways to improve myself as a person and jiujitsu allows me to do that every day. Most of my time is spent training/ working out/ or teaching jiujitsu. In my free time I love to eat good food, go to the beach or practice new makeup looks. I’m kind of obsessed with all things makeup and fashion. Nothing is better than Sundays in the fall when I can watch football with my husband and cuddle with my dogs. But I’ve got some goals I want to accomplish too.”
With an adult world title win last year at NOGI Worlds, Jena looks to add to her resume when he takes on Amanda Tubby Alequin for the F2W bantamweight female nogi title. It’ll be her first time taking on her opponent.
“I really don’t expect out of my opponent (Alequin). I’ve never competed with her before but I’m looking for an exciting match. I’m preparing for this the same way I always prepare for competition, work and let my technique do the talking.”
With EBI and another edition of NOGI Worlds upon her, Jena is looking to accomplish some goals indeed.