Gary Small was promoted to Rokyudan (6th dan) as part of the kagami Biraki celebration in 2017. He began his martial arts and Aikido training in 1974. In 1988, he joined Shobu Aikido of Boston under the direction of William Gleason sensei. He travels to many Aikido seminars and camps to continue his training as a teacher and student of Aikido. Prior to his move to Maine, he ran a sporting goods sales and marketing company covering the six New England states. This work helped facilitate the family move to Maine and establishment of Aikido of Maine in 2000.
“Having a dojo is an incredible privilege, it is a constant learning experience and a true pleasure to spend my time thinking about our practice and how we can make our dojo a better place. I am very captivated by the power of aikido in peoples lives and from a training perspective I am most interested in the connection aspect of practice and how we can put O’sensei’s teachings of creating harmony and improving the world into physical form.” ” I am always excited with the many ways aikido can help people who are in need of transition and am humbled by the power of the practice to help people improve their lives”. Wether you are new to aikido and interested in training for yourself or for a child, our dojo offers a variety of ways to find out more about the practice.
Ania Small Is a godan (5th dan) in Aikido. She began her Aikido training in Warsaw, Poland in 1983. In 1990, Ania joined Shobu Aikido of Boston. Ania also studies with Saotome at the Aiki Shrine in Florida and Ikeda sensei and other teachers at camps and seminars.Ania received her P.H.D. in counseling psychology from Northeastern University in 1999; her dissertation topic was Mindfulness based stress reduction for dealing with ADHD. She is interested in ?Mind Body Health?, and more specifically, stress reduction, and life style changes that promote health. She incorporates in her work mindfulness and Aikido principles in dealing with emotional and attention issues. She has a private practice in Freeport Maine.
“I came across Aikido class completely by accident, while returning a book to a friend. If you asked me then if I was interested in Martial Arts, I would have said no, but what I saw, completely captivated me. I loved the beauty of Aikido movement, I noticed that people were enjoying the practice and later learned that it was a non-competitive art. After participating in competitive team sports, I was looking for a physical activity I could enjoy and engage in without the focus on winning or loosing. Now, years later, I fell very lucky to have Aikido in my life. It gives me a great physical workout, including aerobic exercise, strength and core training as well as opportunity for self discovery and growth. Aikido practice continues to teach me about energy, power, conflict resolution and relationships. Studying and teaching Aikido is an integral part of my life. Through it, I met many people and build many friendships. I have also had opportunities to travel and study with amazing teachers.”
Both Gary and Ania Small sensei were awarded The Ueshiba Juku designation By Saotome sensei. This is given to selected senior students and instructors in recognition of their loyalty and dedication to building ASU and promoting O Sensei’s vision. It declares that they are not only true deshi (direct disciple) of Saotome Sensei and inheritors of his teachings, but are also part of O Sensei’s own school and pure lineage as only a true Uchi Deshi of O Sensei can recognize. The status is indicated by special kanji worn on the formal Dogi of the authorized individual, and is an honor independent of specific rank or Shihan status.