Largest dojo in Valley moves to Exeter

By Andrea Camarena

Scott Harper opened Samurai Dojo in Goshen three years ago to train both the young and old(er) a unique brand of Karate called Tang-Te Kempo. Harper's business currently operates in a 1,200 square foot space on the outskirts of Visalia.

But next week, Exeter will become the home of the largest Martial Arts dojo in the Central Valley when Samurai Dojo moves into a 12,600 square foot packinghouse at the corner of Pine and G Streets in Exeter.

The move is like coming home for Harper who used to live and work in Exeter and whose children attend school at Exeter Union High School.

The dojo will relocate into the old Sequoia Orange Packing House where Harper hopes the expanded space will transfer into expanded business.

Harper will open the Dojo on July 17 with much gratitude to Sequoia Orange. Harper was able to buy the building at a bargain price thanks to one of his dedicated students, Phil Pepscolida who is a part owner of Sequoia Orange.

&#8220Sequoia Orange has been very willing to help,” Harper said. &#8220They gutted it and painted and have done a lot of work to bring us in. I'm amazed at their generosity. There was a lot to do to fix it up and they stepped in and said ‘let us help.' They have done quite a lot of work and really got behind us.”

With the move, the dojo will retain its recently expanded class schedule and hope to expand it further as new members join.

&#8220We now have 70 clients and our goal is to have 200 in the next year,” Harper said. &#8220It's definitely attainable.”

With a team of five instructors, Samurai Dojo offers classes in Tang-Te Kempo Karate for three age groups; Little Dragons for kids ages 4-6, Kids World Class for those under 12 and the regular adult classes. They also offer multiple sessions of Kickboxing, Wrestling, Submission lessons and Mixed Martial Arts every week.

Harper has invested nearly $20,000 into new materials for the move and will open his doors with 3,000 square feet of mat space, 1,000 square feet of bag area, a weight area and bleacher seating. He has plans this summer of building a cage for his mixed martial arts fight team to train in as well.

&#8220I expect when the people of Exeter come in and see how we train, they'll support us,” Harper said. &#8220We hope to help the Exeter Community and economy. Our fighters are educated. We have trainers that are intelligent and our business is like a family.”

For more information on Samurai Dojo contact Scott Harper at 280-0794.

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