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  • 207-879-9207
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    ADDRESSAikido of Maine
    226 Anderson street
    Portland, Maine 04101


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What they say

— Dr. August Valenti
“For my part, you have taught me so much and have given me such joy that it is impossible to describe. Sure, I started late, but better late than not at all. Aikido has really improved my life. I know that you and Ania are humble and that it is hard for you two to accept such praise and gratitude, but you deserve it. I so appreciate the time you take with everyone of us to polish our skills and our spirits. Plus, you both make me laugh! ” 


— The Vannostrands
Blair, Wil and I are everso grateful for having found your dojo. I had written up this thank you note at Thanksgiving, but didn’t get it all finished until today.So, the following are our belated Thanksgiving sentiments for you and Ania.  On behalf of our growing son 

Thank you…

  • for giving his body balance, and giving him his mental and emotional balance at the end of an unsettling day. 
  • for being willing to so show pride in him, and for giving him endless opportunities for being proud of himself.
  • for creating a space that stays constant and reliable, warm and safe…while expecting that every time he comes through the doors, he’ll stretch, reach and grow a bit…to daily become a better him and do better work for himself and to better the work of others. 
  • for providing a subtle, quietly unobtrusive place for young people to face themselves a few times a week, and to decide as they prepare to step onto the mat…who they are going to choose to be.
  • for providing a him a window into his future work and play relationships with other kids…for every class offers a glimpse of young men and young women living what they have learned so well through Aikido….how to learn, to work, joke, touch, help, comfort, encourage and cheer each other.
  • for giving Blair and I some vision into how our son will be supported though his teen years by the other caring adults in his life, like you, and by the supportive social structure and community which you nurture.
  • We are all three very grateful,                                                                                                                            

— Patricia, from Peaks

“Thank you for a wonderful experience today. I was moved by the space,
the presence of your students and your own gentle wisdom. Thank you
for making this introduction so comfortable. I really resonate with
the little you shared with us about the philosophy of Aikido as
practiced in your dojo. I do hope to join the women’s group.”


— Karen, Mom of 8 year old girl

“Isabelle is doing great., now, she absolutely loves the class. It has already made a difference in her overall attitude”.



— Chris, Mom of 7 year old boy
I just wanted to thank you for helping Ryan with Aikido. He loves it and is proud of his new skills. Yesterday he fell while we were running around and he bounced right up without a scratch saying, “good thing I know Aikido!”


— Adam, 25 years old

“I wanted to thank you for a wonderful class today. Your instruction style, as well as the general mindset and friendliness of everyone there was very friendly and seemed quite conducive to stress-free learning. I’m excited about making Aikido a regular part of my life.”


— Gabe C, 2nd degree black belt
“I wanted to thank you for welcoming me to the dojo. I very much enjoyed last week’s class with Ania Sensei, and your dojo is absolutely beautiful. I feel that the leadership structure and refinement of technique at AOM will be great for me as I continue my training.”


— Chris
“Last night’s class was great, as all your classes have been. Just wanted to let you know that, and to thank you, both for your excellent teaching and for sharing those little cultural expressions like “breathing through one’s feet.” That is such a wonderful concept, and like so much of Aikido, seems to be valuable way to approach things, like teaching!
the metaphors you share (verbally) are extremely helpful sometimes for my whole body to make sense of the movement. Also, glancing through Saotome’s book, Aikido and the Harmony of Nature, I saw that he certainly makes some interesting connections and comparisons.”


— Melissa B., Mom to 4 year old Ben and 6 year old Amelia
“Devon and I wanted to thank you for class yesterday, it not only went well, but we were admiring what a great teacher you are and how lucky we feel to have found you. Do you have any flyers? I can bring some to Ben’s preschool if you’d like. Also, did you get my email asking about Amelia’s friend Nori trying class with her next week? We are watching her for the afternoon, and she has been dying for a chance to try.”


— Lisa, Mom to 8 year old Kyle
“Just wanted to say thanks again. It was great to see you in action with the kids last Tuesday.
Kyle really had a wonderful time, enjoyed the class thoroughly, and is ready to sign up!
(This is quite remarkable for Kyle…he’s usually very cautious and slow to
engage in new activities ….I was thrilled that he put on the uniform and participated!) I am looking forward to having him continue.”

— Tori N., Mom to 7 year old boy
Thank you for the update. I’m so glad we found you. Teddy loves it and it’s just what we’d been looking for.
The star system sounds great and I love the checking in with parents first.
Best to you until tomorrow”

— Dan, 30 years old
“I had a great class, and I’m really looking forward to Tues night. I’m still a bit sore, but it actually feels good in a way. I’m had been so “inactive” that it’s really about time I started doing something physical. “

— Claire, Mom to Nick, Dojo member from 10 years old and off to College

“We are very grateful everyday for what you and your teachings have done for Nicholas. He isn’t a ‘typical’ 16 year old…thank goodness. He is articulate, self assured, most of the time and seems to have a solid core thanks to Aikido. Your teachings will help him to make healthy choices for himself as he approaches independence and sees others around him not making good decisions for themselves. It is so exciting to see Nick progress and excel in Aikido. He just loves it and is very committed to it. It is very important for him to maintain healthy male role models so that he can choose the way he wants to live his life. Again thanks to you and Ania for all you do.”

Again thanks to you and Ania for all you do.

— Leticia P., Mom to 6 year old boy and 8 year old Girl
“My kids had wonderful classes- I love Gary’s attitude and playfulness: he can be serious and
serious and funny at the same time- Kids dig it.”

— Beth C.., Mom to 2 home school dojo members
“Our family loved our involvement with Aikido of Maine. Our sons took lessons there for over 4 years and learned alot. It was a positive experience. They had Gary Small for a teacher and they respected him very much. He is patient and kind and challenged them without being harsh. We can tell Gary enjoys what he does and is passionate about Aikido and he shares that with his students.We highly recommend Aikido of Maine!”

— Beth C.., Mom to 2 home school dojo members
“Our family loved our involvement with Aikido of Maine. Our sons took lessons there for over 4 years and learned alot. It was a positive experience. They had Gary Small for a teacher and they respected him very much. He is patient and kind and challenged them without being harsh. We can tell Gary enjoys what he does and is passionate about Aikido and he shares that with his students.We highly recommend Aikido of Maine!”

— Rob M., 28 years old
“What I think is best about Aikido of Maine isn’t the aikido (which is great), what I think is best is the teachers and the people. For me the “style” of a martial arts school isn’t nearly as important as the quality of the training that goes on there. Gary and Ania are not only good aikido teachers they are great people and together with their students they make AOM a great place to train.”

— Nancy., Mom to 10 year old girl old
“Thank you Gary for a great experience for our daughter. You are very attentive and in tune to the children.
It is great how you motivate the children to exercise in a playful way while learning all about the art of Aikido.”

–Dave S., 37 years old
“I have found a life-long martial arts discipline that challenges me not only during my practices but outside at work, marriage and life in general. Through introspection and, many times, humbling interactions with others, whether advanced or beginner, the development of connection(s), energy, balance and movements are a naturally progressive state. To your health!

–Ethan M., Parent
” My son took regular classes at Aikido of Maine when he was 5, 6, and 7 years old. The experience was very positive and my son benefited in many ways. He learned a lot about cooperation and how to focus. The movement aspects of Aikido also helped him develop better balance and coordination. During one of his first youth soccer games he was running full speed down the field when he got tripped. My wife and I braced for impact, fully expecting an injury. Instead we were amazed when he redirected his energy into a head-tucked forward roll and came out unscathed and standing on his feet! No doubt the years of Aikido were to thank.
I’d also add that having access to the dojo at Aikido of Maine is especially nice in the middle of winter. When the snow piles high, kids really benefit from having a big, bright open space to move through. Gary and Ania Small are wonderful people and excellent Aikido teachers.
Definitely give Aikido of Maine’s children’s programs a closer look.”


Aikido of Maine  |  226 Anderson street  |  Portland, Maine 04101  |  207.879.9207
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