Powell achieves Aikido black belt

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 8, 2015

Five years of study paid off for an Andalusia resident who returned from a week-long training camp this summer with his first-degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido.


“Dr. Greg Powell was awarded his black belt rank at the camp after a rigorous test lasting approximately one hour,” said Dr. Herb Riedel, president of LBW Community College and Aikido instructor on the Andalusia campus.


Riedel accompanied both Powell and Julian Birk of Andalusia at the training camp located in a natural environment in Cheraw, S.C.


Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art, which is now practiced throughout the world and focuses on using an opponent’s energy to throw him, said Riedel.


“This martial art has become widely known through the movies of eighth-degree black belt Steven Seagal. Practitioners learn safe falling techniques, effective self-defense, and conflict resolution in a mutually supportive and fun environment.”


Riedel holds a fifth-degree black belt in Aikido and studied the art under Sensei Roy Suenaka for 27 years. He also holds a black belt in Judo and has experience in Tae-kwon-do and fencing.


Suenaka heads the American International Ki Development and Philosophical Society, which oversees and sanctions LBWCC’s Aikido dojo.


LBWCC’s Aikido class is open to teenagers and adult men and women of all ages and fitness levels. It is held on the Andalusia campus Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7:45 p.m. and costs $90 for the 16-week course with a new class starting Aug. 17.


For more information about the Aikido training available at LBWCC, call Riedel at 334-881-2212.