He studied Aikido under Gozo Shioda in the Yoshinkan Honbu Dojo, and studied the sword arts of Nakamura ryu, Ioriken Battojutsu, Toyama Ryu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, Kashima Shin ryu, Ryukyu Kobudo(karate), and others.
He moved to America in 1980 to start teaching and to develop his own sword art, based on his extensive experience. In 1990, the International Shinkendo Federation was officially established. The federation has grown to 80 branches internationally, and continues to expand. Obata, as the founder of the school, is referred to as Obata Kaiso by his students, and continues to travel across the globe to hold seminars for his students around the world.
He is known for playing Tetsu in the first two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. However, his voice was dubbed by Michael Connohie.