Welcome to Samurai Institute

We know that finding a martial arts school can be overwhelming. At Samurai Institute, our priority is to help you and/or your children become better versions of yourselves.

Our expert instructors are here to learn your goals and help you achieve them in a fun, exciting, and welcoming environment. Take a minute to learn more about our facility, programs, and community through our website, and we look forward to seeing you soon!


  • They struggle to maintain control of their movements and may be unintentionally destructive.

  • They find it difficult to focus on a task or to see it through to the end.

  • They have a hard time sharing their belongings and getting along with other kids.

PARENTING YOUNG CHILDREN IS A REAL CHALLENGE. You must balance their natural inquisitiveness and high energy with trying to teach them the basic skills they need for school and life. Discipline, sharing, and self-control are all things they need to learn to be successful.

The ideal setting is one that’s got some structure but works with kids at their current developmental level. If they have fun while they’re learning, they’ll be more likely to retain those lessons and learn the skills they need.

RESULTS AND GROWTH WITH EVERY CLASS! Studying martial arts is ideal for young children. It provides them with an outlet for their energy. But, it also teaches them about respect, discipline, and other core values that will go with them beyond the dojo. Junior martial arts classes teach kids to control their movements and behavior, and they’ll learn social skills and interaction at the same time.

We offer three programs:

Lil Samurai

Aged 3 - 5 years

Tuesdays & Thursdays

5:30 - 6PM

Young Warriors

Aged 6 - 10 years

Tuesdays & Thursdays


Samurai Warriors

Aged 11+ years

Tuesdays & Thursdays


Meet Our Team

Owner / Chief Instructor / Kaicho

Pete Nappier

With over 5 decades of training and teaching experience and 20+ years as a bouncer and event security, Mr. Nappier brings vast knowledge to the institute. His continued efforts in martial arts have excelled the industry in the Catawba Valley area. He holds the rank of 8th Dan Aiki Budo

Assitant Instructor: Greg Houston

Greg grew up in the art of aikido since his father Jeff, studied aikido with Kaicho. He brings a spirit of learning and leadership to the Institute. He is a constant inspiration to all the members.

Dojo Cho: Emily Arnold

Emily has been with the Institute since the beginning and is now our top student. She rarely misses a class, except for school functions and assist in all classes including our Lil Samurai.

Parents Love Samurai Institute Programs

Schedule Focused

Our programs were created for real family schedules. Summer Camp starts early, After school picks up directly from TPS schools, and Parkour has class times for everyone.

Community Positive

Our positive atmosphere is contagious, and you'll know without a doubt that your child is in a place where they'll not only pick up good habits, but also make amazing friendships.

Life Skills Oriented

All of our programs are movement-based, and that's important. But what's far more important is that your child will learn character development and life lessons they'll use forever.

Movement Based

Your child will gain flexibility, agility, and strength, even if they aren't athletic! They'll love it, because it's not only super fun, it’s inclusive and accommodating at every step.

Samurai Institute (formerly Hickory Aikido) has been the leader in quality martial arts instruction in Hickory and surrounding counties since 1980. ​

Our teaching ethic: We are here to facilitate our student's consistent self-improvement through encouragement and positive reinforcement to help our students live their best life.

​Instructor's certification: Our instructors are certified in all aspects of martial science and tactical solutions. Each instructor is CPR and First Aid certified as well. Instructors' rankings are awarded by the Bushin Ryu International Ko-chi Kyokai.

​Teaching Methods: Our programs and instructors utilize the interactive/participative method of teaching to ensure our student's comprehension of all material in our curriculums.

​Curriculums: Our curriculums are one of a kind. Not found anywhere else in our area, our Samurai Bully Buster teaches children 12 alternatives to violence by learning to de-escalate potentially dangerous encounters. If all efforts still resort to an attack, our physical skills teach them not to hit or kick, but to evade and control using balance, movement, and skill.

​Life Skills for Life: The samurai code of conduct, Bushido, is not just taught. Our students practice these skills throughout everyday life. Respect, Courage, Honesty, Integrity, Duty, Honor, and Compassion are seven virtues that we live our lives by.

6 Key Principals to our School







Hickory's only anti-bullying course for children.

School today can be a scary place. Don't let your kids go l without the confidence they need to thrive.

Sign up for our course today!

Text "No Bully" to 704-755-3401


Our Samurai Birthday Parties are off the chain! Complete with obstacles course, games, and of course martial arts. Each guest will participate in the class and then the birthday person will cut the cake with a real samurai sword! (with supervision of course)

Samurai Institute now offers Corporate Self Protection

  • Builds Awareness

  • Stop Potential Threats

  • Develops Confidence

  • Enhances Mind & Body

  • Evasion & escapes

  • Effective Techniques

  • Special Physical Ability Not Needed



Located in The Hub

375 Main Ave NE

Hickory, NC 28601


Website design by

Eckard Photographic