Profile of a Powerful Female: Jena Bishop

Third Coast Grappling Kumite 7 is the last event of the series that spans four months amidst a worldwide pandemic. The bracket is comprised of eight female black belts vying for the $10,000 prize. That is a powerful statement for equality in the sport. Eight world-class elite competitors showcasing the best of women’s Jiu Jitsu. This is part five of an eight-part series featuring each of the athletes in the bracket. This is Jena Bishop.

Jena Bishop is the 2017 International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) World No Gi and Masters Worlds champion at black belt. She has also earned gold medals at American Nationals, Pan Ams, Europeans, and ADCC trials. She has many more titles at the lower belts.

Finding Jiu-Jitsu And Her Rightful Place

Born in February of 1986, Bishop’s first sport was track and field. She took up Jiu Jitsu because of her then boyfriend Tyler Bishop. She earned every belt promotion from her first instructor JW Wright from white to black belt in his Gracie Humaita school in Missouri. Prior to getting her black belt, she won silver at Pan Ams and then her first World title, both at brown belt and in 2013.

Jena and Tyler Bishop with their first instructor JW Wright, taken right before they moved to San Diego

The couple moved from St. Louis, Mo. to San Diego, Calif. in 2016 to teach and train with the Gracie Humaita Competition Team. Under the tutelage of the legendary Regis Lebre, the couple flourished. She won major titles at black belt, including No Gi Worlds, Masters Worlds, Pan Ams, American Nationals and the Europeans – all in 2017. She also qualified to go to ADCC by winning the East Coast Trials in 2019.

In 2019, they switched teams to join Alliance San Diego, announcing it with the following post: “Do the right thing — Treat people the right way — Be on the same page.

These are the principles that @jenabishopbjj and I have tried to let govern all of our biggest decisions since we’ve been married. It’s not always easy with subjective criteria like that, but I am very thankful that I have a partner in life that is as reflective and self-critical as myself. Together, we are always trying to evaluate our intentions in every decision we’ve made; especially in jiu jitsu. We are a team and we are always united.

I want to thank @alliancesbjjsandiego for opening their arms and making us feel like family this last month. As I’m sure many of our close friends in Jiu Jitsu have seen, Jena and I are training with Alliance – and our close friend @johnnysd now. Johnny has been a friend for a very long time and I’m really thankful for the type of environment and the welcoming he’s given to us.”

They also answered many questions in this interview.

Champion

One of her most impressive feats happened at the 2017 Masters Worlds, where not a single point was scored against her.

“Marital” Art

In 2009, she married her high school sweetheart, to whom she’s still wedded in marital bliss to this day.

Watch Third Coast Grappling: Kumite 7 on September 26 to see who will reign as the “Queen of the Kumite.” Check back here for the other profiles as well as the preview, results and reviews.

Third Coast Grappling Kumite VII: Queen of the Kumite
Third Coast Grappling Kumite VII: Queen of the Kumite

Jeff Liwag

Jeff Liwag is an educator of 20 years with specializations in Special Education and Instructional Technology. "Submission fighting" lessons in 1999 was his first exposure to grappling martial arts, eventually taking up Jiu-Jitsu classes in 2004 and 2005, only to start training regularly at Gracie Barra Texas in 2011, where he still trains to this day, earning every belt rank up to his current brown belt from Vinicius "Draculino" Magalhaes.

Jeff Liwag has 31 posts and counting. See all posts by Jeff Liwag