Shields was born Jan. 9, 1979. He was raised near Mt. Ranch, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northern California. Jake is a life-long vegetarian. He was home schooled up to junior high. He and his two older brothers grew up at the end of a dirt road on the rim of the Jesus Maria Canyon. Their nearest friends were a 45 minute hike down one side of the canyon and up the other. Their activities included mountain biking, wild caving, snowboarding, clearing brush, bucking firewood, climbing mountains, exploring the high country and wrestling.
Jake began wrestling at age nine. He has competed in over 650 folk, freestyle and submission wrestling matches. A four year varsity wrestler and state qualifier at Calaveras H.S., 2nd place A.A.U. National Freestyle Championships, qualified for U.S.A./ Fila Nationals & World Team Trials in both the junior & university men's divisions, two time All American at Cuesta College, 3X Grapplers Quest Advance Champion, Pan American Jui Jitsu Champion, Pan Am Advance Submission Champion, Gracie Open Superfight Champion, 3rd place at ADCC 2005.
In Sept. 1999, Jake began his MMA training by
joining Chuck Liddels SLO Kickboxing Academy.
Within a few weeks he fought his first fight,
filling in for an injured teammate at 185 lbs.
During his first year he was fighting "for
fun, to stay in shape and to learn some self defense".
In 2001 Jake decided he wanted to make a career of mixed martial arts and began fighting at his natural weight of 170 lbs. In the years since he is 17-2, including six championship fights. He has consistently fought top ranked and highly regarded opposition. Among his victories are Hayato Sakurai, Akira Kikuchi, Dave Menne, Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit,, 'Charuto' Verissimo, Mike Pyle, Milton Vieira, Ray Cooper, and Jeremy Jackson.
In the summer of 2001 Jake received a wrestling scholarship to SF State. At that time he began training with the Cesar Gracie Fight Team, resulting in a dramatic improvement in his jui jitsu. In 2007 Jake became only one of three people to recieve a black belt from Cesar Gracie. He continued to improve on the kickboxing skills he picked up with Chuck Liddel, by cross-training with the professional Muay Thai kickboxing team at the Fairtex combat Academy, training with legendary Mauy Thai Champions, Jonganson Fairtex and Alex Gong.
Jake has been the head instructor of jui jitsu and MMA at the Fairtex-Gracie affiliate in San Francisco in March 2002. He now has his own gym Shields-Graciefighter gym.