The Peaceful Dragon 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 Jason Field
Jason Field joined The Peaceful Dragon in 2007. He started in the kung fu program and since has joined tai chi and shuai chiao. Jason has competed in many competitions over the years and has received several medals. He has also become a National B Kuoshu certified judge.
While Jason has a bachelor’s degree in Physics, as a career he has focused on the IT world. He currently works for Avanade as a client technical lead. He enjoys the challenge of working in enterprise level environments.
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.
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.
Master 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.
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. Since 2014 she has run a small business teaching tai chi at retirement communities, rehabilitation facilities and for corporate wellness programs. In the past she participated in tournaments and has been a judge for the Tai Chi division. Dale traveled with The Peaceful Dragon students to China in 2007 and to China as well as Taiwan in 2011 and 2015. In March of 2017 she completed the 200 hour portion of yoga teacher training with The Peaceful Dragons Director of Yoga Studies Mara Healy. In October of 2017 Dale received additional training with the Veterans Yoga Project for service members, veterans, first responders and their families.
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.
Sifu Tim Starnes
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 is an internationally selling published author after lots of hard work! He has several anthologies he’s a participant in, novellas, and his own published work 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.