Aikido coming to Alabama

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dr. Herbert Riedel demonstrates a take down move on student Terry Zhu Monday night for his students. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Aikido is coming to Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

This Saturday, Aikido master Sensei Roy Suenaka will be conducting the first Aikido seminar to be held in the state, teaching students and allowing them the opportunity to practice the martial art form during the day.

Suenaka is originally from Hawaii and was born in 1940. He is an eighth degree black belt in both Aikido and karate, and has several degrees in other forms of martial arts.

“He’s a really remarkable individual,” LBWCC president Dr. Herbert Riedel said. “Early in his life, he had the opportunity to spend approximately eight years studying directly under the founder of Aikido.”

Riedel said Suenaka has been his Aikido teacher for the past 23-and-a-half years. Riedel has been teaching an Aikido class at the college since 2009.

“We’re expecting about 25-30 people to participate in the seminar,” he said.

Riedel said students are coming from North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Alabama for the all-day event, which starts at 9 a.m. and lasts until about 5:30 p.m.

Riedel said Aikido has more to do with throwing and wrist-locking techniques, whereas karate has to do more with punching and kicking.

“The way we practice is that we partner up with each other and practice the techniques,” he said.

Riedel said those interested in participating in the seminar with prior Aikido experience are welcome to attend, and you don’t have to be a member of an organization. Those interested in coming to the seminar to watch are also welcome, Riedel said.

Riedel said those not in a class that are going to participate in the seminar need to call him at 881-2212.