Founder and Head Instructor
Master Eric Sbarge
The authentic and traditional classes offered at The Peaceful Dragon are all taught or supervised by Master Eric Sbarge, founder and head instructor of The Peaceful Dragon since 1997. Master Sbarge has spent over 35 years training intensively in traditional martial arts, qigong, yoga and meditation with several of the top masters in the country and at the Chuan Yen Monastery in upstate New York.
He is expert in traditional methods of Taoist and Chan (Zen) meditation, Shaolin yoga, and qigong for health and self-development. Master Sbarge was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Outstanding Kung Fu Master in 2005.
Sifu David Block
David began studying at The Peaceful Dragon in 1999 under Master Eric Sbarge. He has trained in Tai Chi, Pakua, and Hsing-I in the internal styles and Shaolin Kung Fu, Kenpo and Shuai Chiao in the external styles.
David has participated in many tournaments and has placed in the top four in every one, including several first place gold medals. He is also a certified national Kuoshu judge and has judged at the US Kuoshu Tournament in Baltimore as well as many local tournaments.
David is currently VP of Operations at Archadeck of Charlotte, a residential construction company. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from McGill University in Montreal Canada.
Sifu Cody Eidsness
Cody Eidsness started as a student in the Young Dragons program at The Peaceful Dragon in 2004. After achieving his Junior Black Sash and turning 14, he began attending adult Kung Fu classes. Cody has competed and medaled in several competitions over the years.
Cody currently works at The Peaceful Dragon as a Children’s Instructor. He is also currently employed at Mantissa Corporation as a programmer. It is tough for Cody to balance his time between his jobs, training, and finishing college at UNCC with a degree in Computer Science, but he is more than up to the challenge.
Sifu Dale Guadagna
Dale F. Guadagna has been training in the Martial Arts since 1997 when he joined The Peaceful Dragon where he has studied Tai Chi, Hsing-I, Pakua and Shaolin Kung Fu. He received his Tai Chi Certification from Master Sbarge in 2008.
In 2009, he opened Lake Norman Tai Chi Center with his wife Maricris in Huntersville, NC, where he continues to pass on the Arts. He enjoys seeing how this ancient art can make a positive change in his students’ lives in this modern age.
When not teaching at The Peaceful Dragon or his own students, he develops Web-based Applications as a contractor. He received his B.S. in Computer Science before the internet age, but just after punch cards.
He and his wife live in Southwest Charlotte with their daughter Jenna.
Sifu Rodney Hale
Rodney began studying martial arts around the year 2000 when he first became a student at The Peaceful Dragon. He has been practicing regularly since 2005. At first, he had no desire to teach or compete in tournaments (even though he had been to a few), but just wanted to improve himself. He’s generally been more comfortable as a student and the yearning to teach has come from more or less a natural process.
Rodney is a testament to the idea that if you stick around here long enough, then something good is bound to happen. He’s had the great benefit of either training with or being a student of just about every other teacher this school has produced. Rodney has studied mostly Tai Chi Chuan, but also Shaolin, Pakua, and Shuai Chiao. The vast knowledge, skills, and abilities existing at The Peaceful Dragon have been the perfect guide post keeping him on the correct path.
Rodney has a BSIE from Purdue University and an MBA from Clemson. After being laid off from a couple of corporate jobs, he decided working in the food service industry had more security from displacement. His current scholarly interest are of a more superfluous nature: economics, political philosophy, and praxeology to name a few. I suppose Tai Chi Chuan could also be considered superfluous in today’s culture; for this reason I believe it is important the wisdom within it be available to the remnant in society who seek it out. I hope in some way to be able to assist this process.
Yogini Mara Healy
Mara Healy (ERYT-500) (Marayogini/Phuntsok Deki) is a celebrated yogini and practitioner of mysticism, dedicated to the spiritual tradition of Free Yogis of the Himalayas. Having studied with powerful, spiritually-oriented practitioners such as Andrii Lappa, Chandra Om, and Manju Jois, she has been exposed to a wide variety of asana systems and yoga schools.
Mara has spent over a decade studying the Universal Yoga system, and working as Andrii Lappa’s North American assistant (Andrii being the creator of Universal Yoga). Through her studies and personal practices, she has found her voice as a householder dedicated to weaving together normal family life with the supple strength, powerful softness, and practical proficiency to each person’s evolving relationship with yoga. Through her yoga school “Balanced Unity Yoga”, Mara strives to create an atmosphere of scholarly learning, skillful practice, and spiritual happiness.
Sifu Sam Ilardo
Sam Ilardo has been a student at the Peaceful Dragon since 1997 and started teaching Tai Chi in 2005. Sam became interested in martial arts when he took his first Tae Kwon Do class while at college in 1973. In addition to Tae Kwon Do and Tai Chi he has studied several other martial arts, including Shaolin Kung Fu, Isshin-Ryu Karate, and Kempo Karate. In his early training he competed and won medals in several martial arts tournaments. Since 2007 he has judged Internal Martial Arts competitions at CACMA tournaments.
Sam enjoys increasing his understanding of martial arts and eastern philosophy. He is constantly reading books related to these topics. He has been to China several times, including the two trips with the Peaceful Dragon.
Sam is currently a Mergers and Acquisitions, and Treasury consultant. Prior to his current role he was a treasurer at large global manufacturing companies. He has a BS in Accounting and an MBA in Finance from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a CPA in the States of NY and North Carolina. His wife Marcia is a Gao Shou at the Peaceful Dragon. His daughter Melissa is currently working on her PhD at the Center for GeoGenetics in Copenhagen (she also was a disciple at the Peaceful Dragon). When not working or studying/teaching martial arts, Sam enjoys riding his motorcycle and SCUBA diving.
Sifu Hank Kadel
Hank Kadel started ATA Style Tae Kwon Do along with his wife in 1978 under Roger Terrell of Lincoln, Nebraska and continued studying in North Dakota under Soonil Choi in AAU/WTF Patterns until 1982, when work relocated him away from his teacher.
He restarted Tae Kwon Do in 1985 as a White Belt in the ITF system under Belvin Eaves of Charlotte, North Carolina ultimately attaining 3Rd Dan in 1996 under Master Flame Williams from Matthews, North Carolina.
In September of 1995, Hank began studying Kung Fu under Master Sbarge, soon adding Tai Chi, Pakua, Hsing-I and Shuai Chiao.
Over the years he has competed, coordinated or judged in many open tournaments and since 2001, Hank has been a Kuoshu “B” Judge in Externals and Internals judging at the Annual International Kuoshu Tournament along with local CACMA events.
He has taught several students at his own school, the Hall of the Eagle and Dragon, but due to work schedule conflicts he is currently only teaching at The Peaceful Dragon.
Currently Hank has been employed for over 20 years years by Cogentrix Energy, LLC, an independent power producer, as a Project Engineer. His specialties at Cogentrix are all-disciplines designs, scheduling, piping stress analysis, change order/contract reviews and assisting the various power facilities in their day to day operations as needed. He is currently assigned to what will be the largest Concentrating Photovoltaic Facility in the world at 30 megawatts in Alamosa, Colorado.
Sifu Matt Lail
Matt started taking martial arts as a teenager, when he completed five years of Tae Kwon Do. He later joined The Peaceful Dragon in 1998. After ten years at The Peaceful Dragon, Matt earned his instructor certification, allowing him to teach. He currently is an assistant teacher for Shaolin Kung Fu. While he loves all forms of the art, Matt tends to gravitate towards Pakua and Kenpo. Matt has competed both at CACMA and the international tournament held in Baltimore.
Matt currently works as a real-estate appraiser.
Sifu George Lu
George started martial arts training in 1996 under Master Sbarge, who is his stepfather. Over the years, he has trained hard to become proficient in many styles including but not limited to Tai Chi, Shaolin Kung Fu, Hsing-I, and Pakua. He has transferred all of this knowledge into his teaching. George works full-time as an Adult Instructor, Children’s Instructor, and general manager for The Peaceful Dragon.
George has won gold medals and placed in many competitions over the years, including at CACMA and International Kuoshu Federation tournaments. He competed in both Tai Chi and Kung Fu styles, empty hand and weapons forms. He is also a certified judge and referee.
Yogini Sandra Margo
Sandra stumbled upon Yoga as a means to extend her athletic lifestyle, but found an awakening through the spiritual aspect of yoga practice that has inwardly created a more balanced, patient, and humble person. She believes that yoga can bridge the body and mind gap by offering a strong practice for the body (and its need for a workout) but leaves a student with a deeper connection to their spirit.
Sandra originally began her journey in martial arts under Master Eric Sbarge at The Peaceful Dragon in 2008. Through him, she was introduced to her yoga teacher, Mara Ina Healy. Sandra began training in Universal Yoga and earned the privilege of RYT-200. She continues to deepen her personal practice and knowledge through various styles of yoga, workshops, reading, and teaching. Because of her love of martial arts, her style is based on a strong technical foundation focused on alignment, anatomy, physiology, and mental awareness, mixed with a dose of fun and lightheartedness. Her classes cater to both inexperienced and experienced students with many options and approaches to an asana. They are challenging, but have a light spiritual approach that leaves students with the possibility of taking their practice beyond the physical.
Because of yoga, Sandra has learned to breathe, to slow down, to not strive for perfections, to fall down but get back up stronger and connect. She feels very fortunate to continue to be teaching under the guidance of Mara Ina Healy (Phuntsok Deki) and her Sifu, Master Eric Sbarge. Sandra strives to always be real, accessible, and honest, on and off the mat. Off the mat, she is a mother of three beautiful boys and has a wonderful supportive husband of many years, two fur babies, and a love of outdoor activities, gardening, decorating, and arts and crafts.
Sifu Dale Saufley
Barbara Dale Saufley (known as Girl Dale in contrast to instructor Dale Guadagna who is known as Boy Dale) began with The Peaceful Dragon in 2000 and had not taken any type of martial arts before joining. She did have a background in dance with 14 years of training in classical ballet, jazz and tap. When she joined The Peaceful Dragon she was staring down 40 and had not been physically active with any consistency for over 15 years.
Dale practices tai chi, pakua and/or yoga daily and “dabbles” in kung fu forms. In the past she has participated in tournaments and has judged tai chi. Her usual schedule is to teach at The Peaceful Dragon twice a week and at the Hall of the White Snake at Lake Norman on Saturdays. Dale also substitute teaches tai chi at other schools when there is a need. She came to The Peaceful Dragon intending only to experiment with enough tai chi to help with her (at the time) main interest of fung shui. Over a dozen years later she is thrilled that she has continued.
Dale has a BA in Broadcast Communications and Graphic Arts from Western Carolina University and has completed several classes toward a Masters in Communications. Dale traveled with The Peaceful Dragon students to China in 2007 then again in 2011 to China and Taiwan.
Her interests outside of the Chinese martial arts/culture are fashion, the written word, visual arts and water sports, especially swimming. One year past her mid-century mark Dale believes that she is a self-appointed cynic-at-large in the field of human nature. She is also a shoeaholic, but that addiction can sometimes be placated by large amounts of high quality dark chocolate.
Daniel Smith is a 19-year-old student at UNC Charlotte with a major in Computer Science. He previously studied Tang Soo Do for several years along with his dad Wayne before switching over to Kung Fu. Now they both take classes in kung fu, tai chi and hsing-i at The Peaceful Dragon.
Daniel has a good deal experience working with children, having done five years of Vacation Bible School as part of the recreation group with his church. His interests outside of martial arts include cyber defense and robotics as well as swimming. As he says, “I choose to work with kids because they’re simply so energetic and fun to be around.” His goal is to teach great kung fu classes by being a fun, motivating and engaging instructor.
Tim started at The Peaceful Dragon in 2003 with Shaolin Kung Fu, and later began practicing Tai Chi and Meditation. Over the years he has become proficient in Pakua and Hsing-I, and has taught Shaolin Yoga (before our school began offering regular Universal Yoga style classes). Tim has competed at CACMA in empty hand forms and weapons forms winning medals in each.
Due to physical limitations, Tim has concentrated his studies more toward Tai Chi, Pakua and Hsing-I. He can be seen regularly in weekly night classes in both Tai Chi and Kung Fu sometimes assisting or substituting for absent teachers.
Tim is a retired disabled veteran and aspires to become a published novelist. He has completed three novel length manuscripts and regularly submits to multiple short story markets in Science Fiction, Horror, Suspense and yes, even Romance, genres. He has also acted in several locally produced movies screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Naturally, he is an avid reader.
Sifu Rick Towell
Rick joined The Peaceful Dragon in 2005. His training focus during that time has been primarily Tai Chi and Pakua. Rick is well-known around the school for his cheerful willingness to help any other student.
Rick has competed a number of years at both CACMA and Kuoshu tournaments, in both empty hands and weapons form.
Rick has an Associate’s Degree in Nursing and an Associate’s Degree in Paramedical Sciences. He works as a registered nurse.