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Dirk Kropp

Aikido instructor and dojo leader, 8th Dan

Early days

As a teenager, I wanted to learn how to protect myself. Attracted by the aesthetics of the movements and the philosophy behind aikido, I started training. Even as a child, I used to meditate a lot and enjoyed exercising. What I found in aikido was the chance to combine both, while at the same time learning an ethically sound art of self-defence.


After school and military service, I decided to abandon my scarcely started studies to devote myself entirely to my daily training. I started teaching aikido in my early 20s, five years at the “Samurai Porz” judo club. This is where I developed a deep love of teaching the Japanese way.

Teaching aikido became my profession.

History of the dojo

  • In 1985, I founded the dojo in Hürth-Efferen together with Hans-Jürgen Klages. For 12 years, we ran the dojo together. I have been giving training sessions day after day since the company was founded.
  • In the winter of 1988, we moved the dojo to Silcherstrasse in the Cologne-Bickendorf district. For many years, we were the largest dojo in Europe.
  • In the 80s and 90s, I also taught aikido at the German Sport University and in many other cities.
  • The aikido style practised by Hans-Jürgen and me developed in different directions. In 1997, we went our separate ways. From then on, I was solely responsible for running the dojo.
  • In the winter of 2021, the dojo moved into a former church.

I am now in my mid-60s...

Dojo – the church redesigned by Paul Böhm

Voluntary work

Since the Federal Association of Aikido Instructors (BDAL) was founded in 1987, I have worked for it in various areas. In 2018, I was elected to the Policy Issues Board.


From 1975 to 1988, I followed the example of Master Katsuaki Asai. Between 1984 and 2019, I travelled to Japan nearly every year. At Aikikai Honbu Dojo in Tokyo, I practised with the founding family: Kisshomaru, Moriteru and Mitsuteru Ueshiba. Being connected to the roots of aikido is very important to me.

Dr Kokichi Hatakeyama supported me until his death in 1988. The respected doctor and sword master enabled me to spend several months in Japan. He introduced me to the world of martial arts and gave me insight into his holistic approach to life and his peaceful philosophy of swordsmanship.


The first five trips to Japan left a lasting impression on me. I didn’t want to close my mind to the experiences and insights I gained from them, so in the 90s, I developed a meditative style of practising aikido. It stresses the healthy and peaceful potential of this martial art. Together with Christina Barandun, I have written a book about this path of practice and experience.

I have been passing on my knowledge personally and training aikido instructors since 2005

What is close to my heart

Far from AI, the metaverse and the like, there are skills and values within us that are worth developing, reinforcing and nurturing. The harmonious interplay of my teaching and dojo philosophy creates a tangible place of strength for your body, mind and soul – a wealth of space to practise in.