Ichigeki was born into a small village that was precariously perched between two larger kingdoms. They were at peace for many years, enough for Ichigeki to grow into a man, inherit the family farm, marry, and have 2 children, a little girl and a boy. The kingdoms were never very stable with their peace, and always sent threatening letters to each other via horseback (where a joke emerged; Don't Shoot the Messenger!). Eventually a war broke out between the kingdoms. One would strike out at the other and destroy a building with old style explosives, the other would retaliate with a few killings. But while these smaller battles went on, the kings of the castles were busy building large armies, which they intended on throwing at the opposing kingdom. Each drew their armies and sent them to attack... But Ichigeki's home was between them. The converged on the town, killing and burning anything in their way, including Ichigeki's home and family.
Ichigeki was distraught, and out of a fit of rage and agony, released all energy he had in one burst through his hands at the armies, turning himself and them to stone. The kingdoms thought of their war as pointless, and the efforts of one man to stop them heroic, so they set aside their differences and combined their kingdoms on the spot where the man sacrificed his life to stop them. His body (encased in stone) stood at the center of the city for three hundred years before Ichigeki came back into consciousness. A voice from what seemed like nowhere told him to protect nature. That she was passing on her power to him, Yggdrasil, the mother-tree, was dying, and he was the perfect vessel to hold her power... For his anguish over his loved ones, his suffering for 300 years, and his want to protect all that is in danger turned out to be what she was looking for in a successor.
The power wasn't trivial like one would think; it didn't give him strength or skill or the power to conjure fire with his mind. It gave him life, not forever, but until he found a successor when he was close to death... It also fueled his want to learn and protect.
Ichigeki was devote on learning arts what would help him protect people, animals, and nature alike. After mastering swordsmanship, he decided to master martial arts, learning any form that was strewn before him in his travels. Along with his travels he found many spirits, two of which were known as Ko and Su, the spirits of the moon and ocean. They gave him their power as well to be put into a blade tied together with his spirit. This blade wasn't extraordinary, just one that only he could use, one that would always be his as long as he lived, and one he could pass down to his successor. He called it Kotetsu, in honor of the spirits that gave him their power.