The Cultural School Masthead

How We Teach | Black Belt Hall of Fame

About the Cultural School

The goal of Aikido with Ki training is not to fight, but to live in peace and make this planet a better place. It is based on nature's laws, where right is might, and emphasizes love, harmony, and a positive attitude. Neither size, weight, nor sex have anything to do with the execution of powerful Aikido.

Sensei Ken Ota

Sensei Ken Ota

Ken Ota's experience in the martial arts ranges over fifty years. First with Judo and then for the past thirty years with practicing and teaching Aikido. Ota Sensei's first Aikido teacher was Isao Takahashi Sensei and he later practiced under Koichi Tohei Sensei.

He has taught Judo and Aikido at the University of California Santa Barbara and hosted five womens judo camps on that campus.

Sensei has had well over 50,000 students pass through the Goleta Dojo over the years and from time to time old students drop in to watch and train. He has taught at UCSB, Cal Poly, The Montecito YMCA, and of course the Ota Cultural School that he and his wife, Miye, own. Sensei Ota is recognized as one of the most effective teachers of Aikido. His Aikido Training Videos by Panther Productions are used by law enforcement and military agencies, as well as individual students both here in the U.S. and abroad. Sensei Ota has been recognized by and holds an honorable spot in the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame. His dojo is the only Aikido dojo in California to hold such a prestigious position.

Ota Sensei emphasizes the art of Falling (Ukemi) with graceful, yet powerful defense techniques. Many of his students have advanced to high ranking black belts, including Steven Ota (6th degree) and William Buckner (5th degree).


Sensei Steve OtaSensei Steve Ota

Steve Ota Sensei has been practicing Judo and Aikido since his teenage years. First Judo with his father and later Aikido with his father and with Koichi Tohei Sensei.

During his college years at San Jose State in northern California he was a member of the NCAA Champion Judo team. He also started Aikido training with Hideki Shiohira Sensei at that time. Steve Sensei continued to train under Shiohira Sensei until 1994.



Miye OtaMiye Ota

Miye Ota was raised in Guadalupe, California. The Otas were avid partner-dancers involved with various social dance circles within the Santa Barbara County. Following their mastery of square dancing, they began ballroom dance training at the local Arthur Murray Dance Studio. As they progressed in their dance training they sought out higher levels of instruction, which involved commuting to Los Angeles for lessons from a new group of English instructors teaching International Style.

Alex Moore certified both Ken and Miye in the International Style of ballroom dance. Ken went on to be the first man in the U.S. to get the highest Arthur Murray student credentials, Triple Gold Star and Gold Bar. The Otas were also certified through the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD).

It was not until chaperoning a school dance for their son, Steve Ota, did they feel compelled to start teaching dance lessons to children; they believed children could learn more tasteful ways of dancing with each other. Having achieved their competitive goals, they founded a junior cotillion, where they could teach their son and his friends lessons in dance, manners, and other social graces.


David PlantDavid Plant

Senior instructor David Plant has been an aikidoka since 1995 when his daughter, Chloe, wanted to learn karate. During his childhood he had studied judo off and on with his father who ranked yondan in Japan. Sensei Plant was apprehensive about having his daughter learn karate but noticed a dojo that taught judo and some other martial art called aikido. Fascinated by watching aikido, he enrolled soon after his daughter and has been involved with the Cultural School ever since. He recieved his shodan Aug. 28, 1999, his nidan Aug. 23, 2003, and his present rank as sandan Aug. 20, 2005. Sensei Plant enjoys studying aikido and teaching children, adults and weapons classes at the Cultural School.



Richard PolichettiRichard Polichetti

Sandan Richard Polichetti is a Senior Instructor at Ken Ota's Aikido with Ki Cultural School.
Richard was first introduced to Aikido and the concepts of Ki in Sensei Rod Kobayashi's PysEd Aikido class at CSU Fullerton in 1980. Richard took three semesters of the class and became convinced that Aikido and Ki would become a way of life and a life's study some day.

After finishing with his BA and moving to Santa Barbara in 1989, he joined Ken Ota's Cultural School in 1991. During the 90's he had many wonderful experiences with students and teachers alike; gaining more appreciation for Aikido as an art and exercise but especially for the attitudes and style both Ken, Miye, and Steve Ota brought to the school and his education

Richard began teaching kids class in 1999 and received his Shodan rank in 2000 and his present rank of Sandan in January of 2006. Richard teaches Kids, Adults, Ki, and Weapon techniques. Richard is very proud to have all three of his children enrolled- and even their mom has a rank of blue belt.

Richard would especially like to thank all the people who have made it possible for him to have achieved everything so far. So many people have helped and sacrificed so he could continue his studies and give back some of what others have invested in him; their names are many.