September 26th, 2002

The Open Aikido Association

The Open Aikido Association was founded by Chris Diacopoulos, our chief instructor, in 1990 as an independent organisation dedicated to the study of traditional aikido, borne out of the instructors and membership’s desire to practice simple, effective aikido in the spirit of common practice. With the help and encouragement from friends in the aikido community, we have built contacts with many aikido groups in the UK and around the World. This lead to an introduction to Hiroaki Kobayashi Sensei and to Aikido Kobayashi Dojos.

In 1999 we invited Hiroaki Sensei to London and he kindly came and ran our first international seminar in London. This visit was so successful that it has become an annual event and a key highlight of our aikido training each year.

In 2002 we were honoured to be offered the opportunity to become the official UK representatives of Aikido Kobayashi Dojos, Japan. This is an immensely important step for the OAA and its membership. Our training now comes with direct input from Japan, our instructors and membership travel regularly to train with Kobayashi Dojos in Japan and at seminars around the world. Thanks to our link with Kobayashi Dojos, all our Yudansha gradings are now held under the direct supervision of Hiroaki Kobayashi Sensei and are recognised at Hombu Dojo, the home of traditional aikido.

We aim to continue this success going forward. Our practice is friendly, informal, vigorous and (we hope) fun.

Chief Instructor. Chris Diacopoulos, 3rd Dan

Sensei Chris, has trained in aikido for over 20 years and has studied both Ki and Aikikai forms. Having travelled and trained internationally, in recent years Chris has spent much time studying with Shihan Yasuo Kobayashi and Sensei Hiroaki Kobayashi, visiting Finland, Hungary and Japan.