The second Soke and successor of Oriemon was Takagi Umanosuke Shigesada. According to legend he was very tall at nearly 7ft and as big as a Sumo wrestler. Along with Jujutsu he was a master of Bojutsu (staff/stick), Sojutsu (spear) and Naginatajutsu (halberd).
As recorded by the Takenouchi Ryu, Umanosuke had been offered a duel with Takeuchi (or Takenouchi) Hisayoshi the 3rd Soke of Takenouchi Ryu by Lord Mori Nagatsugu of Tsuyama.
Hisayoshi who was barely 5ft tall and of slight build easily defeated Umanosuke and tied him up with a rope. When Umanosuke regained his senses he used his incredible strength to break out of his bindings. As he did so Hisayoshi drew out his short sword and placed it against Umanosuke's neck telling him that if he continued he would be forced to kill him, when the Lord Mori stopped the duel declaring Hisayoshi the clear winner.
Although Umanosuke studied martial arts from an early age and had received permission to teach his own students, the duel made him realise that his skill was not complete and he asked Hisayoshi to accept him as a student. Hisayoshi accepted and Umanosuke became a student of Takenouchi Ryu Koshi no Mawari which he mastered and was given permission to teach (Click here for a Koryu.com article on the encounter written by Wayne Muromoto).
At this point in history it is believed that Takagi Umanosuke renamed and established the ryu as Hontai Yoshin Ryu-Takagi Ryu Jujutsu after developing and refining techniques that did not rely on an individual's strength or body size.
The third Soke was Takagi Gennoshin Hideshige, a son of Umanosuke. Gennoshin served Honda Nakatsukasa of the Himeji-han and there are records that have been found at Himeji Castle showing that he was paid a stipend of five hundred koku. Along with this record further study of the Himeji-han records conducted by students of Hontai Yoshin Ryu uncovered the location of his accommodation within Himeji castle.
It appears from this record that Gennoshin was highly regarded by the Himeji-han, as receiving the stipend of 500 koku was unusually high for a bugei expert.
Takagi Gennoshin and Okuni Kihei met in a contest (most probably a friendly contest). While Gennoshin's Hontai Yoshin Ryu-Takagi Ryu Jujutsu was excellent it was decided that the Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu was superior to the Hontai Yoshin Ryu-Takagi Ryu Bojutsu techniques and as the two masters had a close relationship they decided to join the schools together. Gennoshin later asked Kihei to succeed him as the 4th soke and when Gennoshin died at a young age Okuni Kihei Shigenobu became the fourth soke of Hontai Yoshin Ryu-Takagi Ryu.
The fourth Soke Okuni Kihei Shigenobu was a master of Tendo Ryu Naginatajutsu and as he wanted to develop his own school he withdrew to practice and pray to his Uji-gami (his ancestor's spirit). During this time he had a dream that he was attacked by nine Oni (a Japanese demon) and although during the battle the blade of his Naginata broke he was able to fight off the demons with the staff. After this Kihei developed the techniques of Bojutsu naming the art Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu (kuki means nine demons). Since this time Kukishin Ryu Bojutsu has been taught as an integral part of the Hontai Yoshin Ryu-Takagi Ryu school.
As Kihei was a Samurai of the Ako-han, Hontai Yoshin Ryu-Takagi Ryu including Kukishin Ryu was inherited by the Okuni and Nakayama families, and was passed down within the Ako-han until the thirteenth generation soke.