NEW DOJO: THE REDEDICATION OF A CHURCH
This summer, our dojo will be moving into the deconsecrated Holy Trinity Church in Cologne-Ossendorf at Rochusstrasse 216.
My respect for the architectural and spiritual heritage of the building led me to bring architect Paul Böhm on board. Cautiously and with a few well thought-out remodelling ideas, the existing building is slowly but surely being converted into a beautiful dojo.
“Inspired by the desire to preserve and maintain the former Holy Trinity Church in Cologne-Ossendorf as a place of peace and silence and to open it up to the public to a large extent, the Protestant congregation of Cologne-Bickendorf and Dirk Kropp have concluded the following lease agreement.”
I wrote this sentence as a solemn declaration on a Sunday morning in the autumn of 2019. It is an expression of my vision to create a place of practice here, one that also serves the general public and the common good.
My vision is rooted in the past – and also in the here and now. Even as a young man shaped by my mother's non-healing war traumas, there was a desire deep inside me to bring a bit of peace and stability into the world. Very early on, I developed the martial art of aikido into a path of peace.
The current dojo in a former lorry garage has become a place where the idea of martial arts as a way of peace has been lived for a long time and this has left clear traces behind. It’s a space that invites you to move in a healthy way, to be in touch with yourself and with others, to gain some distance from your everyday life, in silence, perhaps also to reflect on your everyday life and become more relaxed. I am deeply motivated by the opportunity to continue this work in a strikingly simple former church, which has itself been a place of retreat for decades.
For our “Veedel”, for our district
The door (centre/left in the picture strip) made of Siberian larch is meant to be inviting.
There is a special building in Ossendorf that will be preserved – one that is also characteristic for the district in terms of urban development. It was saved from demolition by converting it into our aikido dojo. The architect Paul Böhm has managed to give the space – which is essentially preserved – a new, individual character. The property at the roundabout will be revitalised and will still be a good place for people – even with the future change in its use.
Besides daily practice, the dojo will be open two or three hours a week for neighbours, the curious and those seeking some peace and quiet in their lives. You are invited to get a taste of the dojo, to look around, to meditate and just be.
Stone on stone
“Perseverance will be rewarded sooner or later…but, mostly later.” (Wilhelm Busch).
For two years now, I have been working on this project: developing ideas and presenting them to the presbytery, negotiating, planning, accepting setbacks, rejecting them, planning anew and informing, listening and always looking at the money side of things. I‘ve been on site with countless experts and learnt a lot. I (almost) never lost my eager anticipation of the new dojo. With a lot of care, reconstruction work has now begun.
The Japanese word dojo means “place of the way”. A dojo is essentially a large, empty space that is open, wide – and in the new dojo it also extends upwards – and visibly creates space for physical and mental movement. This is a luxury in our packed everyday life that’s full of things and issues.
Inspired by Zen aesthetics, a dojo is designed to be simple and harmonious. This is based on the mindset that everything – and especially the everyday, simple and common – can be valuable and beautiful. This ideal of reduction, however, requires particularly careful planning. The individual elements, every window, every door is significant. Even what is not immediately visible is perceptible.
Appointments on site
Rochusstrasse 216, 50827 Köln-Ossendorf
Saturday from 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
Samu: sweeping paths + gardening; cleaning up + sweeping the construction site.
The municipality and I have concluded a lease agreement that is close to a hereditary lease.
Given its size and its options, this project – in the current phase – is not manageable for me alone. I am infinitely grateful for the practical and financial support received so far. Countless hours of work has been done on site by practitioners and people from the neighbourhood who help me maintain the gardens and forecourt and prepare the construction site and keep it clean. Added to this is the €118.154,92 in donations and grants received since August 2020.
Those who know me know that my project is not insatiable. But I could still use a lot of help: practical on-site help as well as financial.
Advance contributions and sponsorship
Please feel free to get in touch with me: 0151 6166 3219 or by e-mail. These funds will be used for interior fittings, e.g. heating, electrics, sanitary facilities, changing room construction, floors, lighting and the kumiko.
Handling the donations
The responsible and transparent handling of donations is important to me. Anyone wanting more detailed information can contact me at any time. I will gladly and readily provide them with more details.
Here are the companies that have already done work or will do so in the near future:
Architekturbüro Paul Böhm,
Holger Reif, Ekoplan,
Markus Breuer Elektrotechnik,
Stuckgeschäft Daniel Diebke,
Tischlerei Heinrich Müller,
Gerüstbau Christian Eggert,
Jens Peter Reichert, PR Licht,
Theod. Mahr Söhne, Kirchenheizung,
Josef Frings, Sanitär-Heizung,
Mario Krech, MK Bau,
Giovanni Noé, Rohrreinigung,
N. Barsuhn, Versetzen von Schwergut,
PUBLIC RELATIONS WORK
Petra Reuffurth and I provide information on the way to achieving our aim: Newsletter-Archiv.
Interview by Ulrike Hilbrig and Georg Kanonenberg in the parish newsletter of the Protestant Parish of Bickendorf.
Article by Heribert Rösgen in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.
Article by Angelika Stahl in the Kölner Wochenspiegel.