MEET DIEDRA Y. COLE
Grand Master Diedra Y. Cole | Founder DYC Martial Arts
Mother/ Servant Leader/ Teacher/ Retired Law Enforcement/ Life Ins. Agent
By the age of 9, I was mesmerized with Kung-Fu movies. I enjoyed watching them in the downtown theater with my brothers on Saturday afternoons. In the early 1970’s, my father signed us up for Karate classes at a local YMCA in the inner city of my hometown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Judge Charles A. Warren, Founder of the Kempo-Goju School of Karate, who opened the state’s first African American Dojo upon returning home from Vietnam was our Sensei. This was the official beginning of my martial arts training journey that ultimately would begin to unleash my Warrior Within.
I tested and was promoted by Mr. Warren to 1st degree black belt in 1981, after a rigorous 3 day outdoor training camp (Gaashuku) which ended in me having to spar more than a dozen black belt males (grown men) for two minute rounds each without quitting. This process tested to the core, what I was made of. I was the first female to go through and complete it just a few weeks after my 16th birthday.
As a former free-sparring tournament competitor in the late 1970’s, starting in the children’s pee-wee division, I have a long history of wins and experience under my belt. My most frequent and toughest competition during those days was against Arlene Limas (AKA Lady Kung Fu) who later went on to win the gold medal in the 1988 US Olympics. Prior to that, we went back and forth sharing wins and losses. My last tournament competition was in 2012 in the adult senior black belt division. I won 1st place and went on to fight in the grand championship finals (against a man) coming up short 1 point. A full circle moment! Fast forward 47 plus years later, I stand strong as a dedicated Martial Warrior, still training, teaching and doing what I love most...enhancing my skills and knowledge in the Martial Sciences.
In July 2019, I was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame and recognized as an original BKF Ancient Alpha Warrior. That same weekend, I was also designated the position of Official Arbitrator for Steve Muhammad’s First Annual Fight Like a God Karate Tournament. What a prestige honor and privilege that was!
In 2021, I was promoted to 8th degree black belt by my present teacher who I’ve been training with several years now, Sijo Steve (Sanders) Muhammad, a living legend and Co-Founder of the Black Karate Federation (BKF) and Founder of Ken Win Tai Bai, a Mathematical Fighting Science that combines Kenpo, Wing Chun, Tai Chi and Boxing. The same year, I was inducted into the Ultimate Warrior Hall of Fame Class of 2021 by Martial Arts legend Ron Van Clief (Aka The Black Dragon) and Sifu Al DaCascos. As a recipient of the Ultimate Warrior Gold Hall of Fame Coin Award, this included being recognized for longevity, dedication and contributions made to the world of Martial Arts with several other seasoned Martial Arts Warriors. Among other awards, I recently was inducted into Dr. Joe Parrish’s 2022 U.S. H. O.F. M. A. A. I. Hall of Honor, Hall of Champions.
Education & Experience:
I received my early, middle and high school education in the Milwaukee public school system. Similar to the path of my martial arts instructors, I chose a career in law enforcement. A few years after joining the police force, while working the night shift as a beat cop and raising my children as a single mother, I went back to school full time during the day to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services (with an emphasis in Criminal Justice) and completed some coursework toward my Master’s degree.
During my tenor as a uniformed officer, I was assigned to different specialty task units, including police liaison officer between the police and the public school systems. I was also blessed to design and formulate a volunteer youth karate program through the Police Athletic League (P.A.L) where I taught basic fundamentals of Martial Arts and healthy forms of discipline to hundreds of youth throughout the community during my off duty hours. After testing and being promoted to Detective of Police, I worked several different assignments including the Sexual Assault Unit and Violent Crimes which called for me to often assist in Homicide investigations, respectfully. While on the Lieutenant of Detective’s promotion list, I made the choice to resign in good standing from law enforcement to pursue other goals.
Born with a servant’s heart, I love helping people. I volunteer with different community groups including Hosea Feeds the Homeless and 10,0000 Fearless Men and Women Of Atlanta. In my leisure time, I enjoy traveling, all forms of art, music and occasionally acting. I am also an Independent Life and Health Insurance Agent. My greatest accomplishment however is being the proud mother of two amazing children, both Academic Scholars and Honor Graduates of HBCU Clark Atlanta University.
I am the founder of DYC Martial Arts and of Boldly Be You Women’s Empowerment (www.boldlybeyou.live). I’m also a published Author of GLIMPSES OF THE WARRIOR WITHIN; MY JOURNEY OF DISCOVERING I AM ENOUGH! I released this work on June 7th, 202O (my birthday) during the midst of the pandemic. My purpose is to inspire others through vulnerability and transparency. I share glimpses of my own “out the box” personal journey and allow readers to take the ride (not always a pretty one) with me. I wanted to bring home the point that no matter what we face in this life, it’s often “after” we do the inner work (which is not for the faint at heart) that we are able to unlock the “Warrior Within” that has been there awaiting all along.
After publishing my first book, I was led to start Glimpses of the Warrior Within Podcast (now called DYC The Woman & The Warrior). I use this platform to interview other Warriors, highlighting their individual journeys with hopes of inspiring the masses to tap into their own inner Warrior and fiercely pursue after their passion, whatever it may be. My own accomplishments are a direct testament to my Faith in God, the prayers and guidance of my Ancestors and from being a true life student of martial arts, i.e. my personal GPS which consistently navigates me to triumph!
I am dedicated and committed to paying forward my gifts. I am purposeful during this phase of my life about fulfilling my passion of Empowering as many people especially Girls and Women that I come in contact with by teaching them the importance of self-protection, self-love, self-validation, and self-respect and how all of those things relate to embracing their own Warrior Within as well as Boldly being true to who they are. In my gratitude for allowing me to be able to consistently do this from all that I have experienced and endured to get here, I will continue to give God glory daily!
Founder: Boldly Be You Women’s Empowerment
Author: Glimpses of the Warrior Within (Series)
Podcast Host: DYC The Woman & The Warrior (Formerly Glimpses of the Warrior Within)