Lydia studied Wado-Ryu at Mountainside Martial Arts Center from 1992 until she graduated from Mountain Pointe High School in 2003. She earned her black belt in 1999 and was honored to compete for Team USA at the Wado-Ryu World Cup in Tokyo, Japan in 2002. These years of training were a formative and powerful influence on her life. Lydia learned countless lessons while studying with Sensei Rick Savagian at the dojo and competing with her teammates in tournaments across the country. But she considers her most important lesson learned as a karate student to be the incalculable value and unforeseen opportunities that come with dedicating oneself to a single goal or practice over many years.
Lydia graduated as a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in 2007 with a bachelor of science in History and a minor in Russian. She commissioned as an officer in the United States Air Force and served over seven years leading analytic teams in the Republic of Korea, the Horn of Africa, and Southwest Asia. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate with the Department of History at Auburn University, researching and writing a dissertation on the history of Soviet air defense technology proliferation throughout the Cold War.