It was thanks to her husband that Jena Bishop got involved in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and once she competed, she was hooked!
“My then boyfriend, now husband got me into it. He was training for about a year and finally convinced me to start training. I competed for the first time 4 months into training and have been hooked ever since,” Jena told the Jiu-Jitsu Times.
Jena went on to get her black belt under JW Wright, a student of Royler Gracie, and won multiple IBJJF medals at various belt levels.
After year of hard training, Jena is planning on competing in the upcoming no-gi Worlds, and at only 31 years old, she no doubt has plenty more competitions ahead of her.
Like most women, Jena Bishop had it a little harder coming up through the ranks than her male teammates did.
“Women’s jiujitsu is growing very fast but when I started I was the only girl training consistently at my academy,” she told us. “I had to do and still do the majority of my training with men. It can be frustrating or sometimes hard training with guys who outweigh you or are stronger than you.”
However, this tougher training helped her in the long run.
Training with a bigger stronger opponent teaches you quickly to rely on your technique. It’s also extremely important to have training partners you can trust. There are a lot of guys that aren’t great at rolling with women and because of this I am very picky on who I roll with in training.
Sexism is still a problem in our society, and there is no doubt that prejudices against women extend into the world of BJJ.
Jena told us that, though she thinks the existence of sexism in BJJ is obvious, she doesn’t like to talk about it much. Interestingly, her husband is more vocal in that department than she is.
She may not want to comment on it, but she does have a solution for it:
I think the only way we can overcome this as women is to continue to work hard, support each other and grow women’s jiujitsu as much as we can. If we as women keep doing rather than complaining, I think we can have a bigger impact on this problem.
Jena would like to thank the following sponsors:
I want to thank my sponsors Fuji Sports, Neocell and Lazy Lover Jiujitsu. They have been with me and supported me for a long time and I am so grateful. My husband Tyler Bishop who is my biggest fan and supporter, without him I wouldn’t be where I am today. Last but not least my professors JW Wright and Regis Lebre. I have the best team and best coaches.