Four Star Ninja Academy jumps into Fargo fitness scene

Four Star Ninja Academy opened in early July in south Fargo. Partners Dustin Hjelmstad, left, and Brad Butcher are pictured Friday, July 19, 2019, in front of a mural of the training facility's motto, "Ninja strong." (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

FARGO - If you feel like hanging out, jumping up, or running around, Four Star Ninja Academy stands ready to accommodate you.

The fitness and training facility at 4410 18th Ave. S., opened July 1 and will hold its grand opening celebration Thursday, July 25, with special guest “Island Ninja” Grant McCartney of TV’s American Ninja Warrior fame.

“Our main focus here is kids’ fitness,” co-owner Brad Butcher said Friday, July 19. “They come in here and run and jump and they don’t realize they’re exercising.”

The front of the 12,700-square-foot facility has a ninja obstacle course and training walls scaled for the younger set.


Jacob Warren, 7, of Fargo, tests his grip and arm strength on a peg board Friday, July 19, 2019, at Four Star Ninja Academy in south Fargo. A big focus for the facility is youth fitness. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)

In the back is a ninja training course to challenge teens and adults, as well as a free weight-training area.

Butcher’s business partner, Dustin Hjelmstad, said the facility has become more popular now that the Fourth of July holiday and Red River Valley Fair are over.

“People are excited. They say we’ve needed places like this,” Hjelmstad said.

“It’s all about the kids,” Butcher said. “Get ‘em away from the TVs, the iPads, the phones.”

On Friday, Michelle Warren had brought in her children Jacob, 7, Evan, 10 and Alivia, 12, to burn off their excess energy.

Alivia Warren, 12, of Fargo, climbs the "campus wall" on Friday, July 19, 2019, at Four Star Ninja Academy in south Fargo. (Helmut Schmidt / The Forum)


They took turns climbing and testing their strength on a “campus wall” and a pegboard, as well as running up vertical ramps and swinging ring to ring on the kids’ obstacle course.

“They watch ninja things on YouTube,” Warren said. “I thought it would be better for them to do it than watch it.”


The ribbon cutting for the grand opening will take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Grand opening events include demonstrations by McCartney, ninja competitions with prizes, and raffles. Among the prizes are a free membership, training package, party room reservation, and an autographed Carson Wentz photo.
The Heavenly Hawg food truck will also be at the facility.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 the day of the event.

For more information, go online to or to the business’s Facebook page.

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