Charlotte's leading Martial Arts, Fitness and Yoga center offering Tai Chi, Kempo Karate, Kung Fu, Zen Meditation, The Yoga Institute, Chi Kung (Qigong) and more!

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You don't have to live on the peaks of the Himalayas to cultivate a powerful mind, body and spirit. Join Charlotte's most authentic and traditional school for martial arts, fitness, and yoga and discover ...

How You Can Enjoy Real Health, Fitness,
Satisfaction and Peace of Mind!

A Message From Eric Sbarge, Director and Head Instructor

Master Eric Sbarge

If I could help you reduce your stress and worries, get extremely healthy and fit, cultivate a stronger and more positive spirit, even learn top-notch self-defense skills—wouldn't you want to learn more about what The Peaceful Dragon has to offer?

Imagine the improvements to your life when you attain:

Greater relaxation and peace of mind
Weight loss and fitness
Strong self-defense and combat skills
Reduction or elimination of negative
   thought patterns and habits
Reduction or elimination of chronic ailments


Improved mental clarity and focus
Flexibility and coordination
Increased vitality and energy
A more positive spirit and outlook on life
Interaction with interesting, friendly and positive people

I know you can achieve these tremendous benefits and more at The Peaceful Dragon because thousands of people already have!

•   •   •

"I lost 50 pounds during the first six months of starting classes at The Peaceful Dragon. I am stronger; more confident and healthier at 33 than I was at 23. My mind is calmer and my focus at work is much sharper."
–Frank Tippet, bond investor, Charlotte, NC

"The Peaceful Dragon is the Harvard of martial arts schools - one of the top curriculums and one of the most beautiful facilities in the country. It is a privilege to study here. Even if you've never had much athletic ability you'll be surprised at what you can accomplish. I've done aerobics and swimming and weight training, but I've never been in better shape than I am from studying at the Peaceful Dragon."
–Kathy Crowe, Designer/Illustrator, Charlotte, NC

•   •   •

At The Peaceful Dragon you'll develop a healthy and unified mind, body and spirit

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I don't blame you if you're initially skeptical about the notion of a local martial arts, yoga and health arts center helping you achieve some of life's most meaningful gifts: Peace of mind, harmony, spiritual awakening, health and fitness, confidence, greater wisdom and compassion.

Maybe you've taken some classes in yoga or tai chi at a health club or fitness center but you learned little more than physical movements and postures and a few breathing exercises, and very little really changed in your life.

Or maybe you took classes in Tae Kwon Do or Karate as a kid but all you remember is a lot of kicking, punching and sweating while screaming "Yes sir" and bowing a lot. That was my case. I had studied martial arts for several years as a teenager at what I thought were pretty good schools, but it did little to impact my wisdom, compassion or spiritual growth.

Then I had the chance to study authentic Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Internal Martial Arts, Yoga and Zen Meditation with some of the most highly esteemed teachers in the country. It totally changed my training, and my life.

The majority of martial arts, yoga and fitness centers today unfortunately have lost the traditional teachings—rooted in Zen Meditation, the Yoga Sutras, the Chinese philosophies of Taoism and Confucianism, Tibetan tantric practices—that go along with the physical exercises. Without these teachings it's next to impossible to achieve the mental and spiritual growth that can help you achieve lasting peace and happiness in life.

Students demonstrate tai chi and chi kung forms.

While most Charlotte, North Carolina, fitness centers and even most Charlotte yoga and martial arts schools don't include these traditional teachings, at The Peaceful Dragon we view them as essential.

Our classes in yoga, meditation and tai chi (and the lesser known arts of hsing-i and pakua) offer a complete mind, body and spirit development program if your primary goals include stress management, relaxation, optimal health and well-being, improved fitness, longevity, weight loss, greater self-awareness, refinement of martial arts skills, better balance and coordination, true peace of mind and greater spiritual cultivation.

If you also want great street self-defense and combat skills, The Peaceful Dragon is the real deal

If you also want great street self-defense, you can study Shaolin kung fu and shuai chiao (Chinese grappling and mixed martial arts).

Many of our students primarily want great health and peace of mind, and that's wonderful. But others want genuine and effective self-defense and combat skills. Just as all martial arts schools are not equal when it comes to the philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of martial arts, all schools are not equal when it comes to combat and street self-defense readiness.

Fancy kicks, acrobatics, gymnastics and flowery movements have nothing to do with real self-defense. What matters are practical and direct strikes, joint submissions and throws executed with speed and power, and a complete understanding of the weak points and vital targets on an opponent.

Beyond even the physical techniques and movements, real street self-defense requires proper mental preparation and the development of a "survival" mindset.

Even though I had trained in martial arts for several years, I hadn't realized how mentally or physically unprepared I was to defend myself in a true life-or-death street situation. Until, that is, I began training in my current system. Now, over 30 years later, I continue to practice and refine the combat and self-defense skills I learned and I teach them in their entirety to my students at The Peaceful Dragon.

I make a clear distinction between sport competition, such as full-contact sparring, and street self-defense. In my mind both have value and I teach both, but you need to remember that they're two different things. Competition has rules, the street has only one rule: Do whatever it takes to survive.

Our classes in Shaolin kung fu and shaui chiao kung fu (Chinese grappling and mixed martial arts) are for you if your goals include getting into the best physical shape of your life, learning top-notch self-defense and combat skills, learning strategies for self-protection, and developing the superior confidence, discipline, bravery and wisdom that traditional martial arts are known for.

Note: Most of our students who take our kung fu classes also take advantage of the tai chi, yoga and meditation classes. Not only will those classes give you the many health and spiritual benefits listed above, but they'll also can help make you a considerably better martial artist.

Call (704) 504-8866 or Click Here to Apply for a
FREE Introductory Tour, Orientation and First Lesson!

•   •   •

"The most special thing about The Peaceful Dragon is the lineage. The courses are passed down, not just what some instructor made up."
–Wayne Tvedt, Programmer

"The classes here provide me with stress relief, temper control, better balance, and more relaxation. My Tai Chi practice has become a part of my lifestyle. This is the first martial arts instruction in which I feel the instructor holds real and deep understanding. The instruction is rooted in the real Tai Chi, not watered down 'just for Americans' or a type that is solely based on being a successful business. Everyone comes to learn, both advanced and beginner students. Egos are left at the door. More advanced students are always willing to help newer students."
–Russell White, 38, Engineer/President, Charlotte, NC

"The classes at The Peaceful Dragon, while demanding, are fitted to accommodate one's age and state of health. We strive to push ourselves, but are free to take care of ourselves in the process."
–Stuart Edmondson, 54, Engineer, Charlotte, NC

•   •   •

The short video below shows you more about the exciting programs for adults at The Peaceful Dragon.

Here's more of what our students are saying about our programs.

The Peaceful Dragon has become the most popular and successful school for Martial Arts, Fitness, Zen Meditation, Tai Chi, and Yoga for adults in Charlotte – in fact in the Carolinas – for four main reasons:

  1. Our Authentic and Comprehensive Curriculum. You'll appreciate your choice of the Carolinas' most authentic and traditional classes in Zen (Ch'an) Meditation, Tai Chi, Shaolin Kung Fu, a variety of styles of Yoga, Internal Martial Arts (Pa Kua and Hsing-I), Shuai Chiao (Chinese Wrestling), and Qigong.
  2. Personalized Programs. We confer with you to help YOU decide what your personal goals are, and then we help you choose the program and classes that will best help you achieve your goals. Some of our students are very satisfied taking a couple of classes a week in a single style or art form; others train hours a day, every day, in multiple styles and art forms. Some primarily want to get or stay healthy and feel good mentally and physically; others want to become world-class martial artists and fighters, or perhaps some day teach these arts. We'll help you choose the most sensible and effective training program for you to achieve your goals.
  3. State-of-the-Art Facilities. We have the finest facilities of any Charlotte fitness, tai chi, yoga or martial arts school, and indeed among the best facilities in the Carolinas. Set on 12 wooded acres with walking trails, gardens, a circuit training course and other outdoor training areas, our beautiful custom-designed 10,000 square foot building has four large and clean mirrored studios with wood floors and mats, a state-of-the-art equipment room, a meditation room, saunas and showers, and a large and relaxing common area.
  4. Authentic and Professional Instruction. As Head Instructor, I've dedicated the past 35 years of my life to training in authentic Martial Arts, Zen (Ch'an) meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, and East Asian philosophies and culture. During the past 35 years I've been fortunate to have lineage instruction passed down by some of the most renowned and talented teachers alive today. For the tai chi and martial arts programs at The Peaceful Dragon I have eight fully-certified teachers assisting me, each of whom has trained with me intensively for a minimum of ten continuous years to earn their Instructor Certification. We don't hire outside martial arts teachers; each of our teachers is fully versed in the exact curriculum that you will learn when you join. For the comprehensive programs offered at The Yoga Institute at The Peaceful Dragon, we have top professional Yoga Alliance-registered teachers for Power Yoga, Universal Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Hot Yoga and other styles of classes.
Call (704) 504-8866 or Click Here to Apply for a
FREE Introductory Tour, Orientation and First Lesson!

At The Peaceful Dragon you'll enjoy one of the top training facilities anywhere in The United States

grounds at The Peaceful Dragon
The Peaceful Dragon sits on 12 wooded acres, including
outdoor training areas and a walking trail.

About Master Eric Sbarge, Director and Head Instructor

The authentic and traditional classes offered at The Peaceful Dragon are all taught or supervised by Master Eric Sbarge, founder and full-time head instructor of The Peaceful Dragon since 1997. Master Sbarge has spent over 35 years training intensively in traditional martial arts, qigong, yoga and Taoist and Chan (Zen) meditation. In 2001 he was promoted to Master Level teacher.

Master Sbarge was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Oustanding Kung Fu Master in 2005.

He began his martial arts training in Japanese styles, and now for over 30 years he has practiced the Chinese martial arts styles of Shaolin kung fu, shuai chiao grappling, kenpo, tai chi and the related internal martial arts of pakua and hsing-i.

Master Sbarge has published dozens of articles on martial arts and related topics in such leading magazines as Black Belt and Inside kung fu, and he has assisted in the production of numerous books and videos on tai chi and Chinese martial arts. He competed in open martial arts tournaments for many years in New York and frequently took first place at the advanced black belt level in forms, fighting and weapons divisions.

He has been a featured speaker or presenter at dozens of national and regional companies and organizations including B.F. Goodrich, Johnson and Wales University, UNCC, Discovery Place, the FBI, the U.S. Army, Wachovia, Bank of America, the Charlotte Asian Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, International House, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, and many more.

Master Sbarge holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics and media studies, and is a certified secondary school teacher with a concentration in Asian culture and history. Master Sbarge complements his genuine expertise in the arts he teaches with equal expertise in teaching, communicating and motivating students to achieve their highest potential.

Master Eric Sbarge,
																		His Holiness the Sakya Trizin, Her Eminence Dagmo Jamyang Sakya
Master Eric Sbarge at his home with Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Sakya Trizin and Her Eminence Dagmo Jamyang Sakya

(Learn about other Peaceful Dragon Instructors.)

Our beautiful 10,000-square-foot custom-built school set on 12 wooded acres reflects the quality of our programs.

Built and maintained by our hundreds of students, patrons and volunteers, our school offers award-winning martial arts programs for both children and adults. See for yourself why The Peaceful Dragon was chosen "Best Martial Arts School" by Charlotte's Best Magazine and Charlotte Parent magazine Readers' Favorite "Best Martial Arts."

Classes are conveniently offered seven days a week in four clean, spacious and well-kept studios. We are fully equipped with an assortment of up-to-date training equipment including mats, stretching bars, resistance exercise equipment and much more. Students coming to class before or after work also appreciate our well-appointed dressing rooms, showers and saunas.

Outside you can enjoy several gardens and training areas, a walking trail and circuit training course, and a large back yard where we hold outdoor classes and workshops in nice weather.

How we compare to other schools:

Size: The Peaceful Dragon is in the top 1% of martial arts schools and yoga schools in terms of physical size of the facility and property.
Amenities: The Peaceful Dragon is in the top 1% of schools in terms of available equipment and training facilities.
Experience: The Peaceful Dragon is in the top 1% in terms of the collective number of years of experience of the instructors..
Enrollment: The Peaceful Dragon is in the top 1% in terms of number of active students.
Longevity: We have been open since 1997, in an industry where fewer than 5% of martial schools or yoga schools ever make it past five-years.
Stability: The Peaceful Dragon is in the top 1% in terms of revenues, which helps ensure that we will be here for many, many more years to come.
Value: Even though we are in the top 1% of schools in each of the above important categories, our average per-student annual cost falls somewhere in the 20th-40th percentile. And we offer our students much more than just classes: You get ongoing lectures, workshops, roundtable discussion groups, social events, special seminars, and much more.
Popularity: Our average annual retention rate is more than double (and closer to triple) the standard for martial arts schools, meaning our students are two to three times more satisfied training here than are students at most other schools.
Competition Results: Our students who choose to compete in martial arts forms, fighting and weapons at regional and national tournaments are consistently in the top 10% of medal winners.
Advanced Ranks: The Peaceful Dragon is in the top 1% of martial arts schools both in terms of total number of students and percentage of students training past intermediate and into advanced levels. We have dozens of active students who have trained more than ten years, and more than 50 active students who have trained longer than five years.
Authentic Curriculum: The Peaceful Dragon is among the less than 1% of schools that offer the life-changing benefits of training in traditional and authentic Ch'an (Zen) meditation; Indian, Tibetan and Shaolin Yoga; Tai Chi and internal martial arts; and Shaolin kung fu. Shaolin was selected as the number one martial arts style in the world on a popular Discovery Channel documentary, and is recognized as the "granddaddy" of East Asian martial arts styles.

Call (704) 504-8866 or Click Here to Apply for a FREE Introductory Tour, Orientation and First Lesson!

To ensure your success in our classes:

• The Peaceful Dragon maintains an average instructor/student ratio under 1:10 to maximize your personal attention

• We maintain a fun but serious environment. Everyone is here to make lasting positive changes in their life

• We have separate classes for kids and adults – the needs of both groups are quite different and we tailor our programs accordingly

• We accept students with all levels of experience and we pay special attention to beginners to ensure a good start for a lifetime of enjoyment in the arts we teach

• Beginner and advanced students have separate classes to optimally meet each group's needs and intensity of training

Great classes aren't all you'll enjoy as a student at The Peaceful Dragon

In addition to our exciting and life-changing classes, as a student at The Peaceful Dragon you'll enjoy a host of other benefits and privileges, including:

• Monthly lecture and discussion group on topics related to your training
• My monthly on-line interactive lessons, "The Way of Martial Arts"
• Informative monthly newsletter
• 10-50% discounts on special classes and workshops by visiting masters, including classes in Chinese language, Chinese medicine, Feng Shui and more
• 20% student discount on quality herbs and vitamins
• A well-stocked supply of martial arts, yoga and meditation supplies
• Competition Team available for those who want to reach the highest levels of martial arts skills
• Use of training studios and training equipment even outside of class times
• Unlimited use of outdoor circuit training stations and practice areas
• Showers, changing rooms and saunas
• Monthly advanced Mastery roundtable discussion group
• Special monthly Mastery workout session
• A relaxing common area where it is easy to meet and socialize with fellow students

A longer life maybe...a better life absolutely

Classes at The Peaceful Dragon may very well increase your longevity, but their real value lies in how they increase your wellness and enjoyment of life right now. None of us know whether we'll be here tomorrow, so the important question is, "Do we feel healthy, energetic, secure, positive and content right now?"

Classes at The Peaceful Dragon are designed to gradually steer you toward a greater state of Mindfulness – the state of being tuned in to and appreciative of each moment.

As we get older we become more cognizant of just how short and fleeting our lives really are, and we see the importance of learning how to maximize our well-being and really enjoy each moment in life.

A well-known Zen parable helps illustrate our philosophy of learning to appreciate and be mindful of the Here and Now:

A man was walking along a wooded path when a tiger suddenly sprang from behind a bush. The man ran for his life but the path came to an abrupt end at a cliff. With the tiger nearly upon him the man leaped off the edge of the cliff, hoping for the best. Luckily he caught hold of a vine that hung from the rocks above. He peered up at the tiger snarling down at him. Then the man looked down below only to discover that a pit of poisonous snakes lay below him.

As he was contemplating his dilemma, a rat crawled out from some weeds and began gnawing on the vine just above the man. When the vine was cut almost completely through the man noticed a blackberry bush beside him. He reached out and picked a berry. Biting into it he smiled and declared, "Ah, how delicious."

That man clinging from the vine is in fact each of us: Our ultimate fate is inevitable, but in the time we do have here on earth are we truly maximizing our well-being and appreciating what life offers, or are we living with fear, anxiety, stress or illness that prevents us from really enjoying our lives? The meditative arts of tai chi, yoga and kung fu will give you the skills and tools needed to learn how to overcome anxiety and fear and attain real peace of mind.

•   •   •

"Master Sbarge is very knowledgeable in the arts. The curriculum is comprehensive and challenging and a joy to learn.
The instructors are great."

–Dale Guadagna, Charlotte, NC, Solutions Development

"Master Sbarge is a very calm, personable teacher, never arrogant yet extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of the Chinese arts."
–Natalia Hill, 28, computer programmer

•   •   •

At The Peaceful Dragon you'll not only learn the physical side of each art, but also how to make healthy lifestyle choices that complement your training. These lifestyle factors include diet and nutrition, sleep habits, time management, exercise routines, reducing bad habits and unhealthy vices, associating with positive and optimistic people, being attuned to nature's cycles and living in accord with them, learning to mindful of the moment, and many other factors.

Call (704) 504-8866 or Click Here to Apply for a
FREE Introductory Tour, Orientation and First Lesson!

We're a One-of-a-Kind, Family-run School

At The Peaceful Dragon, you become part of an extended family. Unlike many of the Charlotte fitness centers and other Charlotte yoga studios, we're a family-owned school, not part of a chain, franchise or cookie-cutter "same-as-the-next-one" school.

My wife Debra and I started the school in 1997 with the help of many of our dedicated students, including our son George who now helps manage the school and has become a senior instructor.

We have no aspirations of opening any additional schools or franchised "McDojo" schools. We don't hire martial arts instructors from other schools or "mix and match" a watered-down martial arts curriculum. The Yoga Institute at The Peaceful Dragon has a completely different feel from most yoga studios: You won't find casual and impersonal students coming and going—you'll get to know and become like brothers and sisters with your fellow classmates.

Our goal from day one has been to run one great school, and offer the many benefits of traditional training in Asian Health Arts, Yoga and Martial Arts to anyone with a serious interest in learning.

•   •   •

"I had heard for years of the physical benefits of Tai Chi, and for the last couple of years I had been eating painkillers and hardly able to work. Four weeks after starting classes I threw away the pills and have not even been back to the doctor."
–Charles Sullivan, 44, York, SC

"I began taking classes at The Peaceful Dragon at the same time I began radiation treatment for breast cancer. These classes helped me recover and improve my health immensely. I truly believe that I have remained cancer-free these last two years due in part to my continued participation in these classes. Sifu Sbarge has so much knowledge than I can take classes here for a very long time and still continue to learn from him."
–Leslie Carlson, 45, Landscape Designer, Charlotte, NC

•   •   •

Register for a Free Introductory Tour and Two Free Introductory Lessons!

Master Eric Sbarge and Hu Wan Chih, husband and wife, founded The Peaceful Dragon

We would love the opportunity to meet you and offer you Two Free Introductory Classes and a Free Introductory Tour and Orientation. See for yourself how we can help you gain any of the very real benefits promised above. Before the introductory lessons we will meet with you to discuss your needs and goals and assess which of our programs can best help you achieve those goals. We will explain all of the features and benefits of our programs, and show you around our facilities and answer any questions you might have about our programs.

Currently, due to the tremendous demand for our programs, we are pre-screening all applicants before scheduling the Free Introductory Conference and Lessons.

To apply for your Tour and Lessons, simply fill out the Application Form below, or you can call us at (704) 504-8866 and complete the application over the phone. We can generally respond to online applications within 48 hours to inform you whether your pre-screening application has been accepted, and to confirm your reservation for your Free Introductory Tour and Classes.

•   •   •

Receive a great gift if you invite a friend or family member.
Training with a sincere and dedicated friend or family member can be supportive and extra-motivating for many people. If you have a friend or family member whom you think might benefit as much as you from our classes, have them also go online and fill out the application form. If you both are accepted then you both will receive a fantastic gift when you enroll!

I sincerely hope you've enjoyed reading about The Peaceful Dragon and learning about the many benefits of our programs. I look forward to meeting you and working with you!


Eric Sbarge
Director and Head Instructor
The Peaceful Dragon

P.S. Don't forget to inquire about our family discounts for spouses and relatives, and we offer a great Children's Martial Arts Program.

P.P.S. We often run special tour discounts–be sure to ask the instructor if one is currently running while at your tour!

P.P.P.S. I know there are many reasons to put off applying for our program, but please go ahead and apply now.  You have so much to gain with greater confidence, strength, health and peace of mind that it would be a shame to waste another day!

Application for Adult Martial Arts, Tai Chi, Yoga or Meditation

Our Secure Information Policy: The Peaceful Dragon does not share or sell email addresses or personal information to any third parties. Your information will only be used to evaluate your suitability for our programs. You may be contacted periodically by The Peaceful Dragon with information about our programs and special offers. You can opt out at any time by emailing with Opt Out as your subject heading.

Please fill out the application form completely to ensure consideration for admission to our Adult Program.  If you are applying for more than one person, please list all names and dates of birth.


1. What got you interested in enrolling in our classes?

2. What is your biggest frustration you face in your health, fitness, happiness or other area that has motivated you to apply for our programs?

3. The following is a list of some of the benefits of our classes. Please check those items that you feel are important for you right now.


4. How did you hear about The Peaceful Dragon?




11. Why do you feel you'd be an asset to The Peaceful Dragon's student body?

Our instructors will contact you within two business days to confirm your application's approval and schedule your initial Introductory Class and Tour.

Thank you and we look forward to meeting you!

Join our mailing list

Our Secure Information Policy: The Peaceful Dragon does not share or sell email addresses or personal information to any third parties. Your information will only be used to evaluate your suitability for our programs. You may be contacted periodically by The Peaceful Dragon with information about our programs and special offers. You can opt out at any time by emailing with Opt Out as your subject heading.

If you're not ready to apply for our programs today, please join our mailing list and we'll notify you about our programs, special events, and valuable coupons.

How did you hear about The Peaceful Dragon?

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