Riedel, Geohagan earn new Aikido black belt rankings

Published 12:01 am Saturday, June 28, 2014

0628 spt-Riedel, Aikido

Shown from L to R: Dr. Herb Riedel, Sensei Roy Suenaka, Sensei Shawn Geohagan and Caleb Geohagan. | Renee LeMaire/For the Star-News

LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel and Aikido student Shawn Geohagan earned new black belt statuses in the Japanese martial art after a week-long training camp recently, according to a press release.

Riedel is an Aikido instructor on the Andalusia campus.

After securing the next level in black belt, Riedel is now ranked as a fifth-degree black belt, and Geohagan was promoted to first-degree black belt.

“In our Aikido organization, black belt tests are very rigorous and comprehensive. They last well over one hour and are conducted as the culmination of a week-long Aikido training camp in the natural environment of South Carolina,” Riedel said in the news release. “Shawn Geohagan Sensei performed very well and demonstrated many techniques developed during his five years of Aikido training in LBW’s class, including defense against multiple attackers.”

Geohagan said he never thought he could take Aikido until Dr. Riedel moved to Andalusia.

Aikido is a form of self-defense that blends the motion of the attacker and redirects the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on.

“It’s about harmony and being able to handle stressful situations,” Geohagan, who has a son in the class, said. “It teaches not only combative skills, but skills for situations that require patience and diffusion of stressful tension.”

Those skills, he said, are what he wants his son to learn through Aikido.

“It can teach him how to handle not only stressful experiences as a younger person, but coping mechanisms as an adult and dealing with stresses of generalized life.”

This year’s camp brought fulfillment of a dream for Geohagan.

“I attended the camp two years ago and again this year and have now achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a black belt,” he said.

Riedel also realized a higher level of achievement, tested by a long-term teacher.

“I was honored to be asked to test for my fifth-degree black belt by Suenaka Sensei, who has been my instructor for over 26 years.”

Sensei Roy Suenaka holds an eighth-degree black belt and serves as founder and president of the American International Ki Development and Philosophical Society and Chairman of the Black Belt Examination Board.

For more information about the Aikido training available at LBWCC, call 334-222-6591.