Takeda Sōkaku : (October 10, 1859 – April 25, 1943) was the founder of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. Takeda was born in Aizu Japan, modern day Fukushima Prefecture. He was the second son of Takeda Sōkichi, a samurai of the Takeda clan. Takeda grew up during the Boshin war and period. Takeda received his first martial arts training from his father who had a dojo on their property. Sōkichi was apparently expert in the use of both sword ( kenjutsu ) and spear ( yari), and had once been a sumo wrestler of ozeki rank. It is believed that Sōkaku was exposed to the teachings of Hozoin-ryu Takada-ha and Ono-ha Itto-ryu, schools of spear and swordsmanship respectively.
Sōkaku spend a period of austere training. During this time he travelled, fought and trained at the schools of many teachers, a not uncommon practice of the time. Sōkaku engaged in many matches and duels with both shinai and live blades and was considered a swordsman of great skill in a period of time when such things were beginning to be forgotten. With the outlawing of the samurai class and the prohibition against carrying swords, Sokaku decided to emphasize the empty handed, jujutsu oriented, techniques of his ancestor's art, which he named Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. Sōkaku spend his life travelling the country, giving seminars in martial arts to military officers, police officers and martial arts enthusiasts. Around 1914 a friend of Takeda introduced him to a trouble making Korean child call Yoshida Tatsujutsu. Faith will have it that Yoshida initially a servant cleaning Takeda’s household, would became one of his most influential students.
Over a period of 30 years Yoshida was Takeda’s travelling companion and man servant. Yoshida learned from Takeda a Yawara utilitarian form of the Aizu clan martial style. Today there is large controversy around the relation of Takeda and Yoshida, specially as Yoshida latter claim Takeda was his surrogate father, when he return to Japan and change his name back to his Korean given name of Yong Sool Choi. Many legends exist placing Choi in multiple adventures in Japan teaching by Takeda. A particular legend places him hunting Japanese deserters by order of Takeda during the latter part of WWII around the Aizu region.He learned Yawara, Tanto-jutsu and Shuriken-Jutsu and Hojō-jutsu from Takeda. He started learning Ken-Jutsu from him, but by the time he took his leave from the Takeda household by the end of the war, he had yet to master these skills. People that knew Choi in Korea claim that he spends the rest of his life working on mastering the Ken-Jutsu skills taught to him by Takeda. Despite the controversy in recent years when asked about Choi, Kisshomaru Ueshiba confirmed that his father Morihei Ueshiba(founder of Akido) had participated in seminars with Choi. He also explained that his father had sent the Choi’s family a letter of condolence. Were he referred to Choi as an old teacher and friend.