Chronology of the Life of Sokaku Takeda by Stanley Pranin


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Year Event
Born on October 10, 1859 at the Takeda Mansion in Oike, Aizu Bange-cho, in present-day Fukushima Prefecture. Father, Sokichi Takeda (1819-1906), mother Tomi (unknown dates), daughter of Dengoro Kurokochi.
1867 As a boy of eight, witnesses battles of the Aizu War taking place all around him.
on December 14.
1868 [Mass suicide of family of Saigo Tanomo, chief councillor (karo) of Aizu Han during Aizu War.]
c1869 Studies Hozoin Takada-ha Sojutsu from his grandfather, Dengoro Kurokochi.
c1870 Studies Onoha Itto-ryu sword began as a boy at the Yokikan dojo of Toma Shibuya in Aizu Bange-cho.
c1871 Competes and wins in sumo matches in regional tournaments without his father’s permission.
1872 Expelled from temple school due to misbehavior.
Becomes a live-in student (uchideshi) at the Jiki Shinkage-ryu dojo of famous swordsman Kenkichi Sakakibara (1830-1894) in Tokyo. Curriculum includes sword, staff, spear, small bow, kusarigama, naginata, and other weapons.

c1874 Participates in Gekkenkai fencing tournaments popular at the time.
1875 Returning home from Sakakibara dojo for visit, narrowly escapes gang battle on bridge in Inawashiro in Fukushima Prefecture. Cuts several attackers and saves himself by jumping into the river.
1876 Death of older brother, Sokatsu on September 2. On return home, encounters three outlaws waiting in ambush and kills one with his sword and seriously injures other two.
Father Sokichi decides Sokaku is to enter priesthood succeeding his late brother. Enters Tsutsukowake Shrine precinct in eastern Shirakawa County in Fukushima Prefecture under the tutelage of Chikanori Hoshina (Tanomo Saigo).
Abandons priestly duties to join Takamori Saigo’s anti-government forces in Kyushu.
Kenkichi Sakakibara provides Sokaku letter of recommendation to Shunzo Momonoi (1826-1886), Headmaster of the Kyoshin Meichi-ryu sword school of Sakai City, Osaka. (November)
1877 Secretly departs from Osaka to join Takamori Saigo’s army, but later abandons plan.
Set out on journey to Kyushu for self-training (September). Joins a troupe of acrobats in Nagasaki Prefecture.
1878 In Kumamoto Prefecture, observes Okinawa-te (karate) arts, and defeats karate expert.
Tours Kyushu and Okinawan islands.
Possible journey to Hawaii (undocumented).
1879 Returns to Kyushu from Okinawa. Engages in sword training while traveling around Kyushu.
Encunters religious ascetics and practices esoteric Buddhism.
1880 Engages in spear training at Sakai dojo in Kumamoto. Loses two front teeth in match with two opponents using real spears.
1882 Engages in fight with gang of construction workers in Fukushima Prefecture during which he kills several attackers. Jailed for one month before being acquitted after verdict ruling deaths self-defense.
1887 Accompanies Tsugumichi Saigo, younger brother of Takamori Saigo, to Hokkaido.
c1888 Marries Kon and union produces two children.
c1890 Visits of unknown duration to Nikko Toshogu and Ryozen shrines to study under Chikanori Hoshina.
1891-1897 Possible periods of training under his father Sokichi that included Daito-ryu techniques (speculative).
1898 Conducts Daito-ryu seminar in Miyagi Prefecture in May, earliest record from Sokaku’s enrollment books (eimeiroku)
1899 Conducts a series of seminars in Miyagi Prefecture.
1900 Conducts seminars in Miyagi and Iwate Prefectures.


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