Patty Dye was born in West Covina, California. She was raised in a strict household by loving parents, and although her parents were outgoing, Patty was more reserved. Yet as a young child, she felt comfortable helping others, and began voluntary homework tutoring sessions on her home patio for fellow classmates and neighbors. It was then, while still in elementary school, that she decided her mission was to become a school teacher.
In 1972 her good friend, Paul Dye, eagerly invited her to watch the Kenpo classes he attended, run by Dave Hebler and Jim Thompson, at a nearby college. Patty immediately saw how passionate he was about Ed Parker’s art form, and he convinced her to begin training with the same two instructors at Mr. Parker’s school in Glendora. Patty didn’t consider herself an athlete, so she never would have walked into a martial arts studio, let alone train, had it not been for Paul’s persuasion. As she began training, she realized she was far out of her comfort zone, since she was a hugger, not a hitter.
Although her training was intermittent at times in the beginning, Patty attended many classes, workouts, and the International Karate Championships in Long Beach every year. She was affectionately called the “Kenpo Mom” because she would always help the students in any way possible, including critiquing and fine-tuning, sewing patches on uniforms, taking photos, providing food, bandages and Tylenol, etc.
When Patty and Paul had two daughters, the girls went with them to all the Kenpo events. It was there that she had the chance to sit and visit with Mr. Parker. She really enjoyed the long conversations as she and Mr. Parker discussed the importance of family, goals, and education.
Patty earned a Bachelor of Arts from Cal Poly, Pomona, and began her career as an elementary school teacher. She then received a Master of Education from Azusa Pacific University. Teaching children at an elementary school was a long-time goal, but teaching martial arts was a surprise bonus gained from years of training.
After 20 years of teaching elementary school, she surprised everyone, including herself, and chose to work as a teacher at a continuation high school. In June of 2020, she made the decision to retire after dedicating 31 years to public education.
Patty has performed in martial arts competitions and demonstrations, and was invited to other states and Europe to teach the art of Kenpo. In time, another title, “Kenpo Grandma,” was bestowed upon her. Presently, she continues training and teaching with Mr. Paul Dye, and has earned the rank of 6th Degree Black Belt.