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Dirk Kropp

Dojo leader, 7th dan aikido

Born in Cologne in 1959. At the age of 16, I wanted to learn how to defend myself and started with aikido. I found fulfilment when practising this martial art.

After school and military service, I decided, in 1979, to stop studying communications technology, which I had just started, in order to devote myself entirely to my training sessions, which, at this stage, now took up to five hours a day. I made aikido my profession. I founded my dojo in 1985, and have been teaching here day after day for over 30 years.

I am responsible for fundamental questions in the board of the Federal Association of Aikido teachers (Bundesverband der Aikido-Lehrer).

From 1975 to 1988, I was guided by the teaching of Master Katsuaki Asai. Since 1984, I have been to Japan nearly every year, maintaining my connections to the roots of aikido. In the Aikikai Honbu Dojo in Tokyo, I practise with the founding family, now in its third generation: Kisshomaru, Moriteru and Mitsuteru Ueshiba 

In Japan, Dr Kokichi Hatakeyama encouraged my development until his death in 1988. The respected doctor and experienced swordmaster enabled me to repeatedly visit Japan for several months at a time. He introduced me to the world of martial arts and enriched my aikido training by giving me insights into the eastern holistic way of life and his philosophy of swordcraft.

Inspired by my experiences in Japan, I developed a meditative aikido practice style in the 1990s, one which emphasises the healthy and peaceful potential of this martial art. I have designed and run my dojo with a great deal of attention to detail. This is where I create the space where people can practise.