The Kai Genji Takeda
Working from Yoshimitsu’s system, his son Minamoto Yoshikyo added techniques that could be used against assailants bearing both long and short swords. For practice purposes, he had his warriors fight unarmed against well trained swordsmen and also against men armed with naginata (halberds) and other weapons of varying lengths. Through this, they learned to observe carefully but quickly and also perfected their body-eye coordination, as well as their ability to accurately estimate distances and to quickly move out of the path of attack, a technique that was already customary under Tsunemoto to a certain extent.
Yoshikyo was ordered to move to the province of Kai (now Yamanashi prefecture) to protect it. He settled there and changed his name to Takeda, thereby founding the branch of the family called “Kai Genji Takeda.” From then on, the family’s fighting skills became known as the art of aiki of the Takeda family (Takeda Ryu Aiki no Jutsu).
The sixteenth century saw the heyday and the end of the supremacy of the Takeda family, whose most famous warlord was Takeda Shingen. At that time a new branch of the Takeda family settled in Aizu and created a new branch of martial arts that, like the original branch (genryu), still exists to this day.
Nobutora was the head of the Takeda family in the first half of the sixteenth century. In around 1570, the transmission of the Takeda School was passed on to Nobutora’s ninth son Nobutomo and not to the first son Shingen, who had overthrown and banished his father in 1541. Nobutomo in turn passed the school on to his son Katsuchiyo, who moved to the Kuroda clan in Echizen (now Fukuoka prefecture) where he secretly trained his descendants in the art of aiki. By doing so he made an important contribution to the preservation of the original line (genryu) of the Takeda style to this day. Takeda Shingen became one of the most famous men in Japan’s history because of his victories in the civil war in the sixteenth century. However, he was of minor importance to the survival of the Takeda fighting style. Shingen died in 1573, and his death marked the end of the power of the Takeda clan.