What is Aikido? Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art focused on self-defense. It is a refinement of various traditional martial techniques combined with the philosophy of harmonizing with an opposing force with precise maneuvers to neutralize aggression with the least effort. Unlike other arts, Aikido does not rely on punches and kicks but rather on body and mind coordination to effectively redirect an aggressor’s energy, coupled with the application of efficient joint manipulation techniques.
The facility maintains several sets of uniforms for use in Aikido and Judo programs, so there’s no requirement for participants to secure their own.
Instructor: Astros Quitayen
Astros Quitayen Sensei, also known as Troy Sensei, is the Aikido program head instructor who has been practicing the art for over 30 years. His first job provided him the opportunity to study Aikido in various dojos in Japan for about 7 years, including the famed Hombu dojo in Shinjuku. His engineering profession eventually brought him to the U.S. in 2000, and he began teaching the art at the YMCA facility in downtown Manchester, NH in 2008. He now spends his time as a volunteer Aikido instructor at MPAL since 2011. He currently holds a 4th degree black belt rank in Tomiki Aikido under Seiji Tanaka Shihan, 8th Dan, of TSAA/JAA. He also holds black belt ranks in Shinshin Toitsu Aikido and Aikikai as well. To maintain quality instruction, yudansha (black-belt) examination/promotion has been exclusively carried out at TSAA main dojo in CO. Troy Sensei teaches the Tomiki style of Aikido as he finds its curriculum more suitable for youth instruction.
Assistant Instructor: Dan Pascu
Dan Pascu is a practitioner of Aikido and Judo. He is a volunteer assistant instructor for the MPAL Aikido program under Sensei Troy.
After moving to Manchester NH, Dan was looking around for a judo program for his 5-year-old son and he found exactly what he wanted at MPAL. In 2019 he decided to step back on the mat and started volunteering for the Aikido program.
Assistant Instructor: Dr. Ernani Domingo
Originally from NJ, Ernani moved to NH in 1999 and currently lives with his wife and 2 kids in Bedford, NH. Ernani is a dentist and owner of Bay Street Family Dental, a dental practice located in Manchester, NH. He and his daughter, Amelia, have been studying Aikido with Sensei Troy Quitayen for the past 2 years. They both enjoy the training that they have been receiving from Sensei Troy! Ernani looks forward to continually supporting the MPAL Aikido program under Sensei Troy’s leadership!
Boxing is a core program at MPAL. In the boxing gym, our youth is taught hard work, discipline and perseverance by our coaches. While boxing is an individual sport, MPAL teaches boxers how to work as a team and develops participants from the first time they enter the gym all the way to the golden gloves. Boxing is open to youth who are at least 10 years old.
Coach: Joe Piccione
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Coach Joe started boxing at an early age. Coach Joe began his training at a Brooklyn Police Athletic League in the basement of a local church. Coach Joe continued to train hard and competed in the Junior Gloves and Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.) boxing.
As a young adult, Coach Joe joined the United States Marine Corps from 1971-1974. After his time in the military, he became a carpenter in Boston. Coach Joe remained passionate and continued to train boxing, ultimately competing in the Golden Gloves.
In 1985, Coach Joe moved to New Hampshire and ultimately retired from the Boston Carpenter’s Union. He is now a “green level” USA Boxing certified Coach and has been passing on his boxing wisdom with the kids at the Manchester Police Athletic League since 2019.
Skateboarding is the latest addition to the MPAL program schedule. Every Wednesday even
ing, up to 15 kids join local skaters Josh Swett, Dave Vey, Neil Pichette, and Matt Fleet to work on skating fundamentals and push themselves to the next level. Skateboarding takes place indoors in the MPAL Community Room using a variety of portable ramps and is open to all ability levels, from complete beginner to experienced rider. Helmets and skateboards are provided, so all that’s required is a pair of sneakers and a willingness to try. Due to space and equipment limitations, pre-registration is required.
Instructor: Josh Swett
Growing up in Goffstown, Josh started skateboarding in the 7th grade. A website developer and digital marketing professional by day, Josh has been a champion for the Manchester skating community for years. He organized the Manchester Skatepark Fund, has actively advocated for the development of a city skatepark, and was instrumental to launching the MPAL skateboarding program. Josh is also an avid photographer and has put together an impressive portfolio of skateboarding photos.
With appreciation for those who helped him advance his own skating skills, Josh is happy to pass on what he’s learned to kids willing to try. By growing the Manchester skating community, he hopes to persuade the city to invest in a full-size skatepark that will provide people a positive place to exert energy practicing a demanding sport that has few barriers to participation.
Instructor: Neil Pichette
Neil grew up in Manchester and has been skating since he was in the 6th grade. He’s also an avid skier and has been coaching freestyle skiing at Manchester’s McIntyreSki Area for the past 10 years. Spending his days working for his family’s excavation company keeps him busy, so coaching for the MPAL skateboarding program helps him carve out time to keep skating and use his love of the sport and coaching youth to get more kids excited about skateboarding.
Instructor: Matt Fleet
Matt also grew up in Manchester and discovered skateboarding at age 14. He was immediately drawn in by the challenge skating offered and the therapeutic value of immersing himself in the process of building skills and pushing himself to get better. Matt is an HVAC technician by trade and volunteered to coach at MPAL because he wants more kids to experience the benefits that skateboarding has had for him, including the freedom of riding that offers respite from stress and the tenacity it encourages. Skateboarding is challenging and requires you to get back up when you fail and try over and over again. Matt believes that process helps build valuable life skills that can help kids be more successful.
Instructor: Dave Vey
Dave is well known in serious skateboarding circles for his creativity and talent for “freestyle” skateboard tricks and has been featured in a number of skateboarding films. He has been a sponsored team rider for multiple companies over the years and skateboarding has taken him from his native New Hampshire to Boston, southern California, and back. With previous experience teaching skateboarding at indoor skateparks, Dave came to MPAL hoping to share his love for skateboarding with kids and grow the Manchester skating community.
Left to Right: Josh Swett, Matt Fleet, Dave Vey
The Granite State Gryphons Wrestling Club was formed in April of 2011 by Jason Cumming to give wrestlers in the Greater Manchester area with limited transportation a place to train. Gryphons Wrestling moved to the Manchester Police Athletic League in 2013. The program has helped develop wrestlers from around the state. Over 90% of our wrestlers have become State Champion, State Placers, New England Places, and/or All-Americans.
MPAL Gryphons Wrestling features quality instruction and clinics from area high school and college coaches and college wrestlers, as well as intensive drills to maximize our wrestlers’ fluidity and potential.
Kids in grades K-6 focus on fundamentals and are taught the basics and rudimentary skills needed for long-term success while combining games and contests that enhance the skills.
Kids in grades 7-12 feature more advanced techniques (including Freestyle), drilling, strength, and conditioning.
During the season (November-April), wrestlers are broken out into two levels:
- Bootcamp: Open to all wrestlers in grades K-2; all wrestlers in grades 3-8 start here.
- Combat: Invite only. Please note: wrestlers can be sent back to Bootcamp.
Coach: Charlie Kenna
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Charlie started wrestling at age 9 and never looked back. Starting his wrestling career right down the road from MPAL at the Manchester YMCA, he went on to wrestle for Concord High School and Plymouth State in college. He has been a part of multiple championship teams both as a coach and a competitor. At MPAL, Charlie hopes to give back to and grow the sport that has given him the tool to succeed both personally and professionally. Through wrestling, Charlie hopes to teach discipline, accountability, and resiliency… or more simply put good old fashion toughness.