Author Archives: Holly

Charlotte Martial Arts Newsletter May 2018

The Peaceful Dragon Newsletter – May 2018

May Holidays
National Salad Month

1st      Mother Goose Day                      16th   Love a Tree Day
4th     Star Wars Day                               18th   International Museum Day
8th   No Socks Day                                  23rd  Lucky Penny Day
13th   Frog Jumping Day                         28th  Memorial Day

Message from Mastery Eric Sbarge

As a student and practitioner of Zen for the past 45 years, I’ve studied Zen’s tenets and beliefs carefully and I think I’ve found a way to simplify them into one over-riding tenet. And then tenet is – simplify.

Much of our unhappiness and discord comes from too much busyness, too much complexity, too many things, too much complication.

You don’t have to take your kids to 22 activities each week, you choose to. You don’t need to kill yourself at a job so you can have three cars and a giant house, you choose to. You don’t have to be responsible for your parents and siblings and children and pets and HOA and PTA and your neighbor’s too, you choose to.

Chances are your very mind is too full of thoughts and worries, and needs to be emptied and simplified.

Of course other Zen tenets help us to see the merit behind this path toward simplification: Let go of attachments, live more in the moment, be mindful, cultivate compassion for all beings instead of discriminating between friend or foe, realize the wisdom of emptiness.

I probably could have simplified all of the above into a short three-line Haiku or something, but as I said up front, I’m a student of Zen, not a master.

Off now to practice.

“Simplify, simplify.”

 ― Henry David Thoreau

If you are not a current student of The Peaceful Dragon, there are many ways to improve your mind, body and spirit through the programs available at The Peaceful Dragon. Visit www.ThePeacefulDragon.com and click on Adult Classes or Children’s Classes.  You can then register for a Free Semi-Private, No-Obligation Introductory Class and an Introductory Tour.

Upcoming Events

Shaolin Workshop with Master Guolin Shi
Fri-Sun, May 4th-6th

Nicknamed the “Iron Arhat”, Master Guolin Shi was the former head monk and teacher at China’s famed Shaolin Temple who is world-renowned for his expertise in all facets of Shaolin training. He is a long-time friend of The Peaceful Dragon, and while he rarely travels from his own Overseas Shaolin Temple in New York, he has led near-annual workshops here at The Peaceful Dragon.

Shaolin includes the practices of Chan (Zen) meditation, qigong (energy work), internal and external forms of kung fu, and much more. This comprehensive workshop is ideal for students who have at least some experience in tai chi, kung fu or qigong, though beginners with no experience are still welcome and can surely benefit from it.

Workshop hours: Friday 6-9pm; Saturday 9-5pm; and Sunday 10-4pm.

Early-bird savings before April 9: Public $299, Peaceful Dragon introductory-level students and their families $229, Peaceful Dragon mastery-level students $199. After April 9 add $25. Please register at our front service counter or call to register at (704)504-8866.

Children’s Class with Master Guolin Shi
Saturday, May 5, 12-1pm

Master Guolin will teach a special one hour Children’s Class our little and young dragons, age 4 and up, on Saturday, May 5 from 12-1pm.

Master Guolin is the former head coach of the famed Shaolin Temple. In 1992, he led a demonstration team to the U.S. to introduce Shaolin Kung Fu.  In 1995, he founded the Shaolin Temple Overseas Headquarters in Flushing, NY. Fascinated by the diversities of culture and religion in the United States, he believes that Shaolin heritage can benefit everyone. In September of 2013, he began teaching at the new Shaolin Temple Overseas Headquarters in East Northport (Long Island) New York.

Sign up today for this exciting opportunity.
Early Bird Special is just $25!  After April 9th add an additional $10.
Children 8 years and older, Green Sash and above, are welcome to attend the entire weekend workshop.

Adult Block A Testing
Saturday, May 12, 11am
Makeup Testing Wednesday, May 23, 6:30pm

Good luck to all of our testing adult and teen students.  Please turn in your testing application at the front counter no later than one week before your chosen testing date.

Charlotte Asian Festival
Saturday, May 19, 11am

The Peaceful Dragon is honored to be invited to perform the opening Dragon Dance and a martial arts demonstration for this year’s annual Asian Festival on May 19th starting at 11:00am.  Bring the whole family to enjoy Dragon Boat races, vendors, and more.  For more information about the festival, please see their website.

Student Appreciation Barbecue
Saturday, June 9, 2-6pm

To thank you for your dedication and hard work as students or family members supporting our students, The Peaceful Dragon welcomes you to our annual barbecue. We’re providing all the food and drink for this family-fun bash!

The barbecue will be held right here at The Peaceful Dragon.  Come out with the whole family and enjoy sports, games, water gun fights – or just a relaxing afternoon in the shade of our patio.

This event is totally FREE for the whole family, and will be held rain or shine. Please register at our front counter by Wednesday, June 6 so we will have a head count for how much food to prepare.

Meditation Retreat
Saturday, June 16, 12-6pm

Master Eric Sbarge, head instructor at The Peaceful Dragon, will lead this extended session of Chan (Zen) meditation, interspersed with relaxing and invigorating yoga and qigong as well as discussions on meditation principles, methods, and Zen philosophy. The retreat is open to and suitable for everyone regardless of experience levels.

Early-bird fee through June 2: Public – $75; Peaceful Dragon and affiliated-school students and family members just $39. After June 2 add $15. Please register at our front service counter or call (704) 504-8866. Bring a yoga mat and your meditation cushion or bench of choice; we have them for sale or a few available to borrow if you don’t have your own.

International Kuoshu Tournament in Baltimore
Fri-Sun, July 27-29

Join Master Sbarge and many of our instructors and fellow classmates at this weekend-long international tournament that highlights tai chi, pakua, hsing I, kung fu, shuai chiao and more, with weapons, forms, full-contact lei tai fighting, push hands, and much more.  Divisions are for all ages from 5 on up, and beginner to advanced.

Whether as a competitor or spectator, you will come away from this weekend with a much greater appreciation for the variety of Chinese martial arts, and a better understanding of your own practice and how you can improve your skills and derive more benefits and satisfaction from your training.

For tournament information see the USKSF site.

Our complete 2018 Special Events Calendar is available at https://thepeacefuldragon.com/specialevents.shtml.

Mark your planning calendar now!

MAY BIRTHDAYS

1st        Dawn Baker                            24th      William Sheets
5th       Bree Sorrell                             26th      Matt Lail
5th       Katie Clinton                            27th      Balamir Sahin
6th       Troyce Docherty                     27th      Grace Zehringer
8th       David Block                              30th      Mary Guba
10th     James Gray                              31st       Nancy Cook
17th     Cedrick McDonald                 31st        Jordan Baker
20th     Don Steele                               31st       Noah Brady
22nd     John Chandler

Monthly Classes, Seminars, and Discussion Groups

Mastery Roundtable Discussion – Tuesday, May 1, 8-9pm
Topic:  Creating Your “Mastery” Reading List
Open only to Mastery Program students.

Yoga Seminar – Thursday, May 3, 6:30-8:30pm
Presented by Yogini Mara Healy.
Open to all teens and adults:  FREE for Peaceful Dragon students, $29 for guests.
Note: There will be no regular yoga classes on the evenings of the monthly yoga seminars.

Jr. Mastery Program Seminar – Saturday, May 12, 12-1pm
Topic:  What are the Qualities of a Black Sash Martial Artist?
Open only to Junior Mastery Program students.

Lecture and Discussion – Thursday, May 17, 8pm
Topic:  Making Send of the Organic vs Natural vs Conventional Foods Debate
Presented by Master Eric Sbarge.
Open to all adult and teen students.

Mandala Cross-Mat Yoga Class – Sunday, May 20, 11am-2pm
Open to all adult students with a suggested donation of $10.  Open to the public for $25

Future Instructors – Saturday, May 26, 11am
Open only to Junior Mastery Program students.

Equipment Needed for Classes

Adults
Shaolin   Full Sparring Equipment
Tai Chi none

Kids
4-12 year olds: White, Yellow, and Orange Sash:       Single Short Stick
8-12 year olds: Green Sash and above:                       Full Staff, Double Short Stick

Peaceful Dragon School News (All Real!)

Plan and Start Saving NOW for The Peaceful Dragon’s 2019 China and Japan Tour!

The Peaceful Dragon is sponsoring an Asia tour for our students, family members and friends in October of 2019 – two years from now.

This two-week tour promises to be a fantastic trip that will include practice in meditation and martial arts with locals, sightseeing, cultural excursions and events, and much more. Our tentative itinerary includes Japan for the first time – Tokyo and Kyoto (with its ancient Zen temples) – and the beautiful Chinese cities of Suzhou (called China’s Venice with the picturesque canals), Hangzhou (the lake city), the spiritual Yellow Mountains, and the cosmopolitan heart of China, Shanghai.

The estimated cost for this all-inclusive custom tour with 4 and 5 star accommodations, all travel and excellent meals, admissions to cultural events, and the service of highly-professional English-speaking guides is around $4000. If you can set aside $40 a week starting now, you can go – it’s a great investment for a lifetime of memories!

Thank You to All of our Volunteers who Helped with Cleanup

Sifu would like to thank all of the students and family members who worked so hard to make our school shine.  Your hard work is what makes so much possible.  We appreciate it!

Send Us Your Event Photos or Short Video Clips

If you get some nice shots of Peaceful Dragon events please send them to Holly@thepeacefuldragon.com for display in our newsletter, social media pages and our lobby-area TV!

Did You Know…

  • Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world?
  • TV shows and movies in China all have written subtitles – in Chinese? The reason is that the spoken dialects from one region to another are so different that people can’t understand the words, but the written Chinese characters are universal so viewers can read along as they listen.
  • Recent Harvard studies show that clearing your mind, including through meditation, affects your genes and can lower your blood pressure?

Children’s Program News

A Message from Mr. George

For the 8-12 years old advanced group, we have started to integrate sparring into the beginning of each class.  When we practice forms, the students are visualizing themselves fighting against the attackers.  Sparring is a great opportunity to try out the different techniques, and see which techniques work well, and which do not.  When we work with different partners, we get to experience the diversity of speed, size and combinations.

One of the most fundamentals is sparring is stepping.  With every defense or attack move, the students will need to perform proper stepping.  As the Adult full-contact sparring or UFC on TV, you will not see many fighters standing still and blocking.  99% of the time their feet are moving to avoid an attack, or stepping in to land some combinations.

Keep the training and be safe.  We do require any sparring student to have full sparring equipment.  I hope the Big Brothers and Sisters will set the example of great Kung Fu techniques, sportsmanship and physical fitness to the younger students.

Powerful Words

This month’s Powerful Word is Optimism.  Optimism means looking on the bright side, believing and expecting that everything will work out for the best.  Dr. Robyn’s letter to the parents discusses how to guide your children toward being more positive.

Student of the Month Recognition

Adult Student of the Month— Alex Japit
1st runner up— Danny Dang
2nd runner up— Kathy Campanelli

Alex trains hard, diligently working in tai chi, kung fu, and yoga, and is consistent and dedicated to his practice.  He’s got a great attitude and attends all supplemental classes that he’s able to.  Good job, Alex!

Child Student of the Month— Myra Hoellein
1st runner up— Gonzalo Cadrecha
2nd runner up—Zachariah Aboulhouda

Myra has demonstrated great leadership skills by helping with the 4-7 year old class.  She shows good focus and attitude in and out of class.  Keep up the great work Myra!

Disciple’s Forum

Acceptance
By Disciple Ingrid Lombardino

A common thread in both the Taoist and Buddhist traditions is accepting your circumstance and finding happiness regardless of external influences.  Appreciate where you are, instead of lamenting where you want to be.  If things are bad, accept it and move on.  If things are good, acknowledge this, but don’t cling to it.  For me, this idea is exemplified in verse 13 of the Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchells’ translation):

Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don’t see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

Success is part of the American dream, and is often defined as financial security, an abundance of material wealth, a respected place in one’s profession, and meeting or exceeding the expectations of one’s peers.  Failure, on the other hand, “is not an option.”  Failure means poverty, worthlessness, and disappointment. A successful person suffers from worrying about loss and must the striving to prevent this.  A failure suffers from feeling shame and striving for change in status.  Both have “shaky positions,” neither have “two feet on the ground.”

However, these definitions of success and failure are cultural constructs and can only hold power over you if you give in to them.  In order to “stand with your two feet on the ground,” throw away your concern for success and failure.  This does not mean to give up on life; rather, accept the causes and conditions that lead you to your current place, and to be happy there.   Stand with two feet on the ground.

Hope and fear are also common plagues in our culture.  In my line of work as a veterinarian, I encounter these emotions frequently.  People rely on hope to comfort them when their beloved pet is sick, and they turn themselves into knots fearing what the outcome of a test or procedure will be.  “Hope and fear are both phantoms,” however. Neither will change the outcome; neither will help you feel better in the long run.  The Tao says hope and fear arise from thinking of the self – that is, we hope to avoid suffering and we fear encountering suffering.  What if we don’t let ourselves get caught up in how we do or don’t want to feel?  Instead of hoping and fearing for things, consider accepting things as they are, and accept how you feel about it.  In doing this we are able to shed our anxiety about a given situation, and “have faith in the way things are.”

Acceptance not only allows us to navigate the human experience as individuals, it also allows up to be more compassionate and open to the experiences of others.  What one person values and finds happiness in may be repulsive to someone else.  Instead of trying to change this person or oneself, instead of worrying about why there are differences, just accept that they exist, and you may find yourself more open, less judgmental, and possibly able to “care for all things.”

Getting to know This Month’s Disciple

Each month, we will be asking our Disciple’s Forum writer to answer a few questions.  Here are this month’s Disciple’s questions and answers:

What was the last gift you gave someone?
I bought my sister a plane ticket to Charlotte.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Able to accept criticism as well as I accept praise.

What do you do in your free time?
Unreasonable amounts of physical training for ridiculous endurance events involving carrying heavy things around for a long time over great distance.

What type of music do you listen to?
Some of my favs are The White Stripes, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, David Bowie, and Roger Waters.

What vacation location is on your bucket list?
To me, bucket lists represent grasping and clinging to arbitrary desires that leads to Dukkha (suffering), so on principle I don’t keep them.  However, I would like to see Madagascar if causes and conditions allow.

Students Ask Master Sbarge

Question: Can I learn how to defend myself with tai chi if I don’t join the sparring classes, but just practice push hands?

Answer:  If you’re attacked by someone trying to push you, you can probably learn to defend yourself okay. But if they punch or kick you…

Mission Statement for The Peaceful Dragon

Our mission is to help each of our students reach his or her fullest potential for physical, mental and spiritual development through the teaching of traditional Asian health arts and martial arts.  We accomplish this by offering the most authentic and effective curriculum, by providing the best possible service to our students and their families, and by maintaining a warm and caring family environment in which every student, guest, and staff member is treated with respect, dignity and love.

Charlotte Martial Arts Newsletter April 2018

The Peaceful Dragon Newsletter – April 2018

April Holidays
National Poetry Month

1st      Easter/April Fool’s Day                       15th   World Art Day
6th     National Tartan Day                            20th   Volunteer Recognition Day
11th   Barbershop Quartet Day                    23rd  East Meets West Day
13th   Scrabble Day                                         28th  Great Poetry Reading Day

Message from Mastery Eric Sbarge

Whenever I see a student suddenly show up with an arm in a cast or limping on one foot, I of course always ask what happened. But I don’t assume it happened in kung fu or yoga class. Nine out of ten times the injuries occurred at home or some other place away from The Peaceful Dragon.

Usually I hear, “Oh, this happened playing soccer” or “I tripped walking up my front stoop.” You might think most injuries would come from sparring in kung fu, or trying tricky arm balances in yoga, but in fact very few injuries occur in these activities.

Statistically, martial arts have way fewer injuries than basketball, football, soccer or any of the most popular sports. And while I don’t know how yoga ranks, I’m willing to guess it, too, has far fewer injuries.

I’m only speculating, but I have a theory for why we don’t have a lot of injuries in traditional martial arts and yoga classes: Mindfulness.

In kung fu, tai chi and yoga our students are trained to pay attention to their bodies, breath and minds. When you’re really mindful and aware of your actions, you tend not to over-strain your body in yoga and you can catch yourself before getting hit or falling in martial arts.

Additionally, unlike many sports we wear protective gear in martial arts sparring, with the exception of grappling classes. The most injuries that we do have when we have them happen in our shuai jiao grappling classes, but it’s not because of lack of protective equipment. It’s because by design you get thrown a lot and so fall a lot, which increases the risk of getting hurt, especially if you don’t stay in top condition to absorb the falls.

Injuries are part of the human experience, and we all get them now and then. Fortunately they’re usually just a temporary nuisance, and we heal up and move on. But when I see a student with a new injury from their latest tennis match or from falling off their bicycle, I always give the same advice: Stick with martial arts – it’s much safer.

“Write your injuries in dust,
your benefits in marble.”

 ― Benjamin Franklin

If you are not a current student of The Peaceful Dragon, there are many ways to improve your mind, body and spirit through the programs available at The Peaceful Dragon. Visit www.ThePeacefulDragon.com and click on Adult Classes or Children’s Classes.  You can then register for a Free Semi-Private, No-Obligation Introductory Class and an Introductory Tour.

Upcoming Events

Adult Block A Testing
Makeup Testing on Wednesday, April 4th, 6:30pm

Please make sure to fill out your testing application and return it to the front desk no later than one week before your chosen testing date.  Good luck to all of our testing adults!

Children’s Promotion Ceremony
Saturday, April 7th, 11am
Makeup Promotion on Thursday, April 26th, 5:30pm

Congratulations to all of our promoting Young Dragons.  Please be sure to fill out your promotion application and return it to the front desk by no later than one week before your chosen promotion date.

10-Week Shuai Chiao (Grappling) Course
Begins Wednesday, April 11, 8pm

We need at least 8 people signed up to hold this class.  If you are interested, please register at the front desk.

Parents Night Out “Friday Night Lights”
Friday, April 13, 6:30-9pm

This month’s Parents’ Night Out is “Friday Night Lights.” All students are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite team’s uniform. Whether professional or college football, basketball, baseball, or cheerleading, we are going to have an exciting night.  They will learn team work and organization while playing awesome sports games with a kung fu twist.

Important:  There is no charge since these events are included in your

Activity Fee.  However, you must sign up no later than Thursday, April 12th so we can properly staff for the event. There will be a $20 late fee if you register after the deadline.

Tai Chi Workshop in Columbia, SC
Saturday, April 14, 9:30pm

 Sifu will be teaching a workshop at Sifu Wes Adams’ school in Columbia, SC.  If you are interested in joining the workshop, contact The Columbia Tai Chi Center at 803-873-2100.

Integrating Yoga into Martial Arts
Spring Quarterly Yoga Workshop
Saturday, April 14, 1-5pm

 Learn all about the deep similarities in the practice of Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Yoga, and the channels through which to integrate differences. If you are a martial arts practitioner who wants to incorporate some yoga, learn how these two arts harmonize beautifully with one another, while also analyzing their contrasts (which may not be as obvious as you think). Yoga has a unique way of revealing muscular and structural imbalances, once found, can be addressed to make every martial artist stronger and more powerful.

Please register at the front counter for this workshop.  This event is free for all Peaceful Dragon students and only $49 for the public.

Quarterly Cleanup and Spring Landscaping Day
Saturday, April 21, 9am-1pm

 Join us as we work to make our school sparkle!  We need all volunteers, whether it is for five minutes before or after your class or if you decide to come out all day.  Thank you for all your help!

Shaolin Workshop with Master Guolin Shi
Fri-Sun, May 4th-6th

Nicknamed the “Iron Arhat”, Master Guolin Shi was the former head monk and teacher at China’s famed Shaolin Temple who is world-renowned for his expertise in all facets of Shaolin training. He is a long-time friend of The Peaceful Dragon, and while he rarely travels from his own Overseas Shaolin Temple in New York, he has led near-annual workshops here at The Peaceful Dragon.

Shaolin includes the practices of Chan (Zen) meditation, qigong (energy work), internal and external forms of kung fu, and much more. This comprehensive workshop is ideal for students who have at least some experience in tai chi, kung fu or qigong, though beginners with no experience are still welcome and can surely benefit from it.

Workshop hours: Friday 6-9pm; Saturday 9-5pm; and Sunday 10-4pm.

Early-bird savings before April 9: Public $299, Peaceful Dragon introductory-level students and their families $229, Peaceful Dragon mastery-level students $199. After April 9 add $25. Please register at our front service counter or call to register at (704)504-8866.

Children’s Class with Master Guolin Shi
Saturday, May 5, 12-1pm

Master Guolin will teach a special one hour Children’s Class our little and young dragons, age 4 and up, on Saturday, May 5 from 12-1pm.

Master Guolin is the former head coach of the famed Shaolin Temple. In 1992, he led a demonstration team to the U.S. to introduce Shaolin Kung Fu.  In 1995, he founded the Shaolin Temple Overseas Headquarters in Flushing, NY. Fascinated by the diversities of culture and religion in the United States, he believes that Shaolin heritage can benefit everyone. In September of 2013, he began teaching at the new Shaolin Temple Overseas Headquarters in East Northport (Long Island) New York.

Sign up today for this exciting opportunity.
Early Bird Special is just $25!  After April 9th add an additional $10.
Children 8 years and older, Green Sash and above, are welcome to attend the entire weekend workshop.

Our complete 2018 Special Events Calendar is available at https://thepeacefuldragon.com/specialevents.shtml.

Mark your planning calendar now!

APRIL BIRTHDAYS

3rd        Vivian Peralta-Mesa                  18th      Jacob Finney
3rd        Noah Clinton                              21st      Dale Saufley
10th      Daniel Buck                                21st      Hurditya Katta
12th      Don Kodzai                                 22nd    Cathy Luben
14th      Gabriel Jugan                             22nd     Jose Cardoza
18th      Syd McIntyre

Monthly Classes, Seminars, and Discussion Groups

Mastery Roundtable Discussion – Tuesday, April 3, 8-9pm
Topic:  Mastering Your Time to Master Yourself
Open only to Mastery Program students.

Yoga Seminar – Thursday, April 5, 6:30-8:30pm
Topic: Slow is the new fast – Slowing Down transitions in yoga to increase effectiveness
Presented by Yogini Mara Healy.
Open to all teens and adults:  FREE for Peaceful Dragon students, $29 for guests.
Note: There will be no regular yoga classes on the evenings of the monthly yoga seminars.

Lecture and Discussion – Thursday, April 12, 8pm
Topic:  Zen Meditations from Venerable Sheng Yen
Presented by Master Eric Sbarge.
Open to all adult and teen students.

Jr. Mastery Program Seminar – Saturday, April 14, 12-1pm
Topic:  Speaking and Presenting with Confidence and Authority
Open only to Junior Mastery Program students.

 

 

Mandala Cross-Mat Yoga Class – Sunday, April 22, 11am-2pm
Open to all adult students with a suggested donation of $10.  Open to the public for $25

Future Instructors – Saturday, April 28, 11am
Open only to Junior Mastery Program students.

 

Equipment Needed for Classes

Adults
Shaolin   Full Sparring Equipment
Tai Chi none

Kids
4-12 year olds: White, Yellow, and Orange Sash:       Single Short Stick
8-12 year olds: Green Sash and above:                       Full Staff, Double Short Stick

Peaceful Dragon School News (All Real!)

Plan and Start Saving NOW for The Peaceful Dragon’s 2019 China and Japan Tour!

The Peaceful Dragon is sponsoring an Asia tour for our students, family members and friends in October of 2019 – two years from now.

This two-week tour promises to be a fantastic trip that will include practice in meditation and martial arts with locals, sightseeing, cultural excursions and events, and much more. Our tentative itinerary includes Japan for the first time – Tokyo and Kyoto (with its ancient Zen temples) – and the beautiful Chinese cities of Suzhou (called China’s Venice with the picturesque canals), Hangzhou (the lake city), the spiritual Yellow Mountains, and the cosmopolitan heart of China, Shanghai.

The estimated cost for this all-inclusive custom tour with 4 and 5 star accommodations, all travel and excellent meals, admissions to cultural events, and the service of highly-professional English-speaking guides is around $4000. If you can set aside $40 a week starting now, you can go – it’s a great investment for a lifetime of memories!

2018 CACMA Queen’s Cup Tournament

Congratulations to all of our students who competed!  Below is a somewhat incomplete list of all who competed from our school.  Thanks to all the students who came out to support their classmates!

Send Us Your Event Photos or Short Video Clips

If you get some nice shots of Peaceful Dragon events please send them to Holly@thepeacefuldragon.com for display in our newsletter, social media pages and our lobby-area TV!

Did You Know…

  • In China and neighboring countries, if you get up early to get to the park to practice your tai chi by 8:00am, you usually won’t see anyone else – they’ll have finished their practice already, starting at 5 or 6am!
  • Master Sbarge dedicated The Peaceful Dragon’s building to his mother Gail, who died the year it was built. A plaque in her honor hangs near our front door.

Children’s Program News

A Message from Mr. George

As all new students start their training, some students are naturally fast and some are not.  To become faster in your forms, weapons and sparring, we’ll need to focus on the details.  When the kung fu movements are practice at high speed, any tiny mistake will be amplified.  The stance training is to build up the leg strength and flexibility.  When a young martial artist tries to practice with speed and power, but loses balance very quickly, often it is because of the tiny error in the legs or the root.  By slowing down the form and get into a deeper stance will increase the control, speed and power later on.

To test out the speed and power, we can use the breaking boards during the form practice.  If the martial artist can perform his or her form with enough power to break boards throughout the form, and not falling off his or her feet, that will be very good kung fu!  Keep up the hard work!

Powerful Words

This month’s Powerful Word is Kindness.  Kindness means using caring words and choosing kind actions without expecting anything in return.  Dr. Robyn’s letter to the parents discusses how to guide your children away from being self-centered.

Student of the Month Recognition

Adult Student of the Month— Chuck Denhart
1st runner up— Jerry Stringfellow
2nd runner up— Sophia Hosseini

Despite a recent injury, Chuck plows through and continues to train with good focus and a great attitude.  Good job, Chuck!

Child Student of the Month— Gavin Christianson
1st runner up— Ryan Hoellein
2nd runner up—Dhatreyi Katta

Gavin is a White Sash student who trains hard and always has a great attitude.  He demonstrates great stances and great focus during his form practice.  Keep up the great work Gavin!

Disciple’s Forum

Using our Training as a Life Guide
By Disciple Troyce Docherty

Part of what we are taught to do in our MA practice is to be neutral in situations and keep our emotions balanced.   Students are reminded of this lesson while holding deep stances for a long period of time or doing something out of their comfort zone.  We are encouraged to utilize this practice in our daily lives as well.  Since I am a shy person, uncomfortable with demonstrating my MA in front of others, I have, over the years, signed up for many demos/competitions to get past my fear.  Even though it was a step in the right direction, I was anything but neutral inside.  I’d be so nervous at these events that I couldn’t enjoy watching others compete, as I just kept going over my forms in my mind or practicing excessively in an empty hallway.  I still feared that I would completely forget my form or do something embarrassing in front of others.   And a couple days ago at CACMA, I did.  I started out fine, even taking first in a couple of events, then…it happened.

I began my sword form in an area much smaller than I was used to, accidentally almost taking out one of the judges.   Flustered, I restarted at an angle that turned out to be an even shorter distance and my form fell apart right there in front of Sifu and everyone.  However, being in the midst of a fast paced day, I had no time to dwell on how I felt about the situation.  Instead, I enjoyed watching others perform and finished rest of my events for the day.  But later, when I had time to think, I was flooded with emotion.  The reason I was fine for the rest of competition day, but not after, was how I chose react to the situation.

The difference was I had accepted what had happened even though it wasn’t pleasant, so I was able to enjoy and get through rest of the events, but after, I allowed my mind to relive it with negative emotions.   I realized being neutral about a situation meant I could still feel whatever emotion in the moment, but then just accept, do the task at hand, and let it go.

Now being neutral about it, my mind is free to learn from my mistake, see what I can change for next time, and allows me to be more confident in all parts of my life.   So, no matter how hard something might seem, stick with your training.  It is full of invaluable tools that sit waiting for you til you’re ready to use them.

Getting to know This Month’s Disciple

Each month, we will be asking our Disciple’s Forum writer to answer a few questions.  Here are this month’s Disciple’s questions and answers:

You’re a new addition to the crayon box.  What color would you be and why?
I would be a brown crayon.  It’s not an exciting color, but it’s needed somewhere in almost every coloring book page.

What would we find in your fridge right now?
If you looked in my fridge right now you would find enriched coconut milk, baby spinach, weekly food prep, and  left overs.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
The funniest thing that happened to me recently was performing my tai chi fan form nice and slow, only to find out I accidentally performed it in the Kung fu other weapon division.

What type of music do you listen to?
I listen to everything from classic rock to jazz depending on my mood.

What vacation location is on your bucket list?
I hope to vacation in China with our school in 2019.

Students Ask Master Sbarge

Question: I really enjoyed competing in the CACMA Tournament – it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. How come more of our students don’t compete?

Answer:  I was going to ask you the same question.

Mission Statement for The Peaceful Dragon

Our mission is to help each of our students reach his or her fullest potential for physical, mental and spiritual development through the teaching of traditional Asian health arts and martial arts.  We accomplish this by offering the most authentic and effective curriculum, by providing the best possible service to our students and their families, and by maintaining a warm and caring family environment in which every student, guest, and staff member is treated with respect, dignity and love.

Charlotte Martial Arts Newsletter March 2018

The Peaceful Dragon Newsletter – March 2018

March Holidays
National Nutrition Month

1st Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day                           17th Saint Patrick’s Day
4th   Hug a GI Day Day                                        20th Tea for Two Day
9th   Panic Day                                                     23rd  Nat’l Puppy Day
14th   Nat’l Pi Day                                                30th   Passover (at sundown)

Message from Mastery Eric Sbarge

I have a very simple message this month to our students, family members and friends of The Peaceful Dragon: Thank you!

Thank you for helping to keep The Peaceful Dragon a strong and vibrant center of family and community, and thank you for the way you support each other in your individual quests for self-improvement and mastery of the yoga, martial arts and meditation that we teach here.

You all outdid yourselves in organizing and running our annual Chinese New Year Festival and annual Awards Banquet this year, and you continue to awe me with the positivity and good cheer that you bring to your daily classes.

Keep up your great work, and together let’s make sure the Year of the Dog becomes the best year of our lives so far!

A Short Quote I Found on Giving Thanks Where Thanks is Due:

“I was sleeping the other night, alone, thanks to the exterminator.”
― Emo Philips

If you are not a current student of The Peaceful Dragon, there are many ways to improve your mind, body and spirit through the programs available at The Peaceful Dragon. Visit www.ThePeacefulDragon.com and click on Adult Classes or Children’s Classes.  You can then register for a Free Semi-Private, No-Obligation Introductory Class and an Introductory Tour.

Upcoming Events

CACMA Tournament
Saturday, March 10th, 9am

Sifu encourages all students to compete or attend the CACMA Queen’s Cup Tournament. There are divisions for all age and skill levels, so even beginners should try. Many of your instructors will be judging the competitions. This is an excellent opportunity to see other school’s martial arts styles. For more details about the competition including divisions, rules, and pre-registration, please see the official CACMA website at http://mhkungfu.com/CACMA/ .

NOTE: BECAUSE ALL OF OUR INSTRUCTORS AND MOST OF OUR STUDENTS WILL BE PARTICIPATING, THE PEACEFUL DRAGON WILL BE CLOSED FOR CLASSES ON THE DAY OF THE TOURNAMENT.

Parents Night Out
Saturday, March 16th, 6:30pm

This Parents Night Out is Star Wars Night!  Choose the Light Side or the Dark Side.  Become part of the resistance movement or join the Empire to crush the rebel scum.  Wear your favorite Star Wars outfit.  Please sign up by no later than Thursday, March 15th so we can properly staff this event, and may the Force be with you.

Adult Block A Testing
Saturday, March 24th, 11am
Makeup Testing on Wednesday, April 4th, 6:30pm

Please make sure to fill out your testing application and return it to the front desk no later than one week before your chosen testing date.  Good luck to all of our testing adults!

Children’s Promotion Ceremony
Saturday, April 7th, 11am
Makeup Promotion on Thursday, April 26th, 5:30pm

Congratulations to all of our promoting Young Dragons.  Please be sure to fill out your promotion application and return it to the front desk by no later than one week before your chosen promotion date.

Shaolin Workshop with Master Guolin Shi
Fri-Sun, May 4th-6th

Nicknamed the “Iron Arhat”, Master Guolin Shi was the former head monk and teacher at China’s famed Shaolin Temple who is world-renowned for his expertise in all facets of Shaolin training. He is a long-time friend of The Peaceful Dragon, and while he rarely travels from his own Overseas Shaolin Temple in New York, he has led near-annual workshops here at The Peaceful Dragon.

Shaolin includes the practices of Chan (Zen) meditation, qigong (energy work), internal and external forms of kung fu, and much more. This comprehensive workshop is ideal for students who have at least some experience in tai chi, kung fu or qigong, though beginners with no experience are still welcome and can surely benefit from it.

Workshop hours: Friday 6-9pm; Saturday 9-5pm; and Sunday 10-4pm.

Early-bird savings before April 9: Public $299, Peaceful Dragon introductory-level students and their families $229, Peaceful Dragon mastery-level students $199. After April 9 add $25. Please register at our front service counter or call to register at (704)504-8866.

Our complete 2018 Special Events Calendar is available at https://thepeacefuldragon.com/specialevents.shtml.

Mark your planning calendar now!

MARCH BIRTHDAYS

3rd        Peter Roche                                 15th       Linda Mullin
5th        Dhatreyi Katta                              16th      Amai Pizarro
7th        Kiriath Sanchez                            17th      Jennifer Sisson
9th        Cardon Hawley                             19th      Jason Field
13th      Breanna Curtice                           26th      Jerry Cooper
14th      Xavier Rice                                     29th      Caya Barefield

Monthly Classes, Seminars, and Discussion Groups

Yoga Seminar – Thursday, March 1, 6:30-8:30pm
Topic: Overcoming your desk job with yoga practice – Scapular position for spine health!
Presented by Yogini Mara Healy.
Open to all teens and adults:  FREE for Peaceful Dragon students, $29 for guests.
Note: There will be no regular yoga classes on the evenings of the monthly yoga seminars.

Jr. Mastery Program Seminar – Saturday, March 3, 12-1pm
Topic:  Are You a Positive Influence?
Open only to Junior Mastery Program students.

Mastery Roundtable Discussion – Tuesday, March 6, 8-9pm
Topic:  Mastering Your Time to Master Yourself
Open only to Mastery Program students.

Lecture and Discussion – Thursday, March 15, 6:30pm
Topic:  Meditations from Venerable Sheng Yen, Our “Meditation Grandmaster”
Presented by Master Eric Sbarge.
Open to all adult and teen students.

Future Instructors – Saturday, March 24, 11am
Open only to Junior Mastery Program students.

Mandala Cross-Mat Yoga Class – Cancelled for March
Open to all adult students with a suggested donation of $10.  Open to the public for $25

Equipment Needed for Classes

Adults
Shaolin   none
Tai Chi none

Kids
4-12 year olds: White Sash and above:       Full Sparring Equipment

Peaceful Dragon School News (All Real!)

Plan and Start Saving NOW for The Peaceful Dragon’s 2019 China and Japan Tour!

The Peaceful Dragon is sponsoring an Asia tour for our students, family members and friends in October of 2019 – two years from now.

This two-week tour promises to be a fantastic trip that will include practice in meditation and martial arts with locals, sightseeing, cultural excursions and events, and much more. Our tentative itinerary includes Japan for the first time – Tokyo and Kyoto (with its ancient Zen temples) – and the beautiful Chinese cities of Suzhou (called China’s Venice with the picturesque canals), Hangzhou (the lake city), the spiritual Yellow Mountains, and the cosmopolitan heart of China, Shanghai.

The estimated cost for this all-inclusive custom tour with 4 and 5 star accommodations, all travel and excellent meals, admissions to cultural events, and the service of highly-professional English-speaking guides is around $4000. If you can set aside $40 a week starting now, you can go – it’s a great investment for a lifetime of memories!

Welcome to Troyce Docherty – Our New Student Services Coordinator and Children’s Instructor

Many of you have already met Troyce.  She joins us after training many years at Sifu Aaron Arden’s school in Ohio.  She has now joined our staff both as Student Services Coordinator, along with Lori and Holly, and as our newest Children’s Instructor.  Make sure to say hi to her as you see her around the school!

Chinese New Year Festival and Banquet

Thank you to all of our students and families who worked so hard to make our Chinese New Year celebrations a great success.  Everyone had a wonderful time!

Happy Year of the Dog!

“American dog say, ‘Woof, woof.’ Korean dog say, ‘Mung, mung.’ Polish dog say, ‘How, how.’ So which dog barking is correct? That is human beings’ barking, not ‘dog’ barking. If dog and you become one hundred percent one, then you know sound of barking. This is Zen teaching. Boom! Become one.”

 Seung Sahn

Send Us Your Event Photos or Short Video Clips

If you get some nice shots of Peaceful Dragon events please send them to Holly@thepeacefuldragon.com for display in our newsletter, social media pages and our lobby-area TV!

Did You Know…

  • Each of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac are further divided into the five elements, so it takes 60 years to complete each animal-element combination and return to the combination you were born into? This is why the 60th birthday is such a big deal in Chinese culture!
  • Last year again, the number one benefit people coming to programs at The Peaceful Dragon were seeking was Stress Management?

Children’s Program News

A Message from Mr. George

During the Leadership class, I often remind the kids that a good leader is always leading by example.  The reason for the Older Brothers and Older Sisters lines up in front of the class is so they can set the example for the rest of the class to follow.  When a new White Sash student sees everyone bows and lines up in the class, the new student follows and lines up with the group.  When the front row students demonstrate their best during the warm up, the back row students also push to do their best.  Although the Leadership reading chapter is about the momentum in our attitude; however, having the Lead By Example attitude all the time is part of the “Big Mo.”  Keep up the hard work!

This Month’s Powerful Word

This month’s word is Self-Reliance.  Self-Reliance means doing things by yourself, relying on your own judgements, powers, or abilities to get things done.  Dr. Robyn’s letter to the parents discusses how to encourage independence in your child, even if they have developmental delays.

Student of the Month Recognition

Adult Student of the Month— Theodore Japit
1st runner up— Linda McLendon
2nd runner up— Jarrett Jackson

Theodore quietly, consistently always shows up for class.  He is always trying his best, which sets a good example for his classmates.  Good job, Theodore!

Child Student of the Month— Gabriel Jugan
1st runner up— Davidson Pierce
2nd runner up—Kasen Anderson

Gabriel works harder and harder, even after hearing constructive criticism.  He always tries his best and doesn’t quit when it gets difficult. Keep up the great work, Gabriel!

Student Promotions and Awards

Congratulations to all of our many testing promotions!

Tai Chi
Block A to Block B: Anthony Cicora
Block B to Block C: David Brashear       Nicole Miller
Low C to High C: Kathy Campanelli        Ingrid Lombardino      Gina Granda Huaylinos
Block C to Block D: Troyce Docherty

Kung Fu
Block A to Block B: David Mullin                       Linda Mullin                Sophia Hosseini
Low B to High B: Jose Cardoza               John Viner

4-7 Years Old
Orange Sash Brown Stripe: Kyle Hoellein
Orange Sash Yellow Stripe: Kaleb Anderson     Raymond Rutzell
Yellow Sash Black Stripe: Hurditya Katta          Raghav Karthik
Yellow Sash Blue Stripe: Aditya Vetury
Yellow Sash Purple Stripe: Kaashvi Sanjay        Summer Tan
Yellow Sash Orange Stripe: Jacob Finney          Brenda Rizzo
Yellow Sash White Stripe: Gloria Sadowski       Keira Gentry                Maddie Rutzell
  Emanuel Ngo              Davidson Pierce
Yellow Sash: Serena Cai              Annabelle Burke         Victoria Burke
  Annalise Turner          Lily Galloway
White Sash Yellow Stripe: Jase Francis

8-12 Years Old
Brown Sash Level 4: Colin Barber
Blue Sash Level 4: Cardon Hawley         Sophia Mullis
Blue Sash Level 2: Nathan D’Costa
Blue Sash: Jordan Baker              Zeke Anderson            Kasen Anderson
Purple Sash Level 2: Balamir Sahin        Myra Hoellein             Sahana Sanjay
Green Sash Level 2: Kyle Elhardt                        Benjamin Mullis          Michelle Tan         Max Tan
Green Sash: PJ Campanelli
Yellow Sash Level 2: Caya Barefield
Yellow Sash: Shamar Singh         Joseph Collier
White Sash Level 2: Gonzalo Cadrecha

Congratulations to our family tree promotions!  If you are newly added to our family tree or if you moved up this year, make sure to look for your name on the display near the hall.

Shaolin Family Tree

Lao Shr
Jason Field

Gao Shou
Philip Kelly                         Cheryl Telk                  Christine Lwin

Disciple
Myra Hoellein                   Cardon Hawley           Preston Hawley           Ingrid Lombardino
Gabriel Jugan                    Wayne Johnson           Colin Barber                Troyce Docherty
Nathan D’Costa                 Chip Payet

Students
Summer Tan                     Issac Cuthberson         Nicole Hallak               Paul Studenovsky
David Brashear                 Reade DeCurtins         Angela Mack               Jacob Finney
Brenda Rizzo                     Jose Cardoza               Andre’ Washington     Trish Ahles
Gregg Slaughter                Daniel Buck                 Christopher Hughey    Madeline Rutzell
Syd McIntyre                     Caya Barefield                        Keira Gentry                Paul Campanelli III
Samir Masih                      Tameka Carpenter      Gretchen Kelly                        Olivia Kelly
Davidson Pierce                Richard Serbin                        Emanuel Ngo              Thomas Gearing
Katarzyna Hallman           Hannah Jackson          Jarrett Jackson

Yoga Family Tree

Instructors
Dale Saufley                Carolyn Newell                   Charles Denhart

Students
Rodney Hale                      Hanna Ramirez           Troyce Docherty         Milena Minkova
Gabriela Upham               Nicole Hallak               Paul Studenovsky        Bree Sorrell
Jose Cardoza                     Solange Perret

Merit Awards

Hardest Training in Adult Classes – Troyce Docherty
 Runner up:  David Brashear              Paul Campanelli

Most Improved in Adult Classes – Kieyanna Morgan
 Runner up:  Paul Studenovsky           Kathy Campanelli

Most Promising Under 1 Year – Jose Cardoza
 Runner up:  Samir Masih                   Tameka Carpenter

Best Display of Wu-De – Alexandra Hoellein
 Runner up: John Chandler                Wayne Johnson

Hardest Training in Children’s Classes – Sophia Mullis
 Runner up: Gabriel Jugan                 Hurditya Katta

Most Improved in Children’s Classes – Jordan Baker
 Runner up: Raymond Rutzell                        Kyle Elhardt

Most Positive Attitude in Children’s Classes – Brenda Rizzo
 Runner up: Kyle Hoellein                  Dhatreyi Katta

Most Improved in Yoga – Bree Sorrell

Most Consistent in Yoga – Solange Perret

Role Model of Vairagya – Patricia Rosa

Role Model of Karuna – Troyce Docherty

Role Model of Tapas – Kate Lyons

Sadhaka Recognition – Carolyn Newell             Charles Denhart          B. Dale Saufley

Students Ask Master Sbarge

Question: I’m seriously interested in joining The Peaceful Dragon’s Asia tour next fall, but I wondered how my kids can come since it’s in October and they have school, and also whether my wife can come since she’s never done martial arts.

Answer:  The tour is open to any interested and nice people, not just our students, so of course your wife is welcome. She can join us for our morning tai chi, kung fu and yoga practice, too – no experience is necessary. As for the kids, we’ve always had some kids join our past tours – in my mind the lessons and experiences they get on this trip will last a lifetime, far more than anything they will miss in school for a couple of weeks – and most teachers are willing to let the kids make up any missed assignments.

Mission Statement for The Peaceful Dragon

Our mission is to help each of our students reach his or her fullest potential for physical, mental and spiritual development through the teaching of traditional Asian health arts and martial arts.  We accomplish this by offering the most authentic and effective curriculum, by providing the best possible service to our students and their families, and by maintaining a warm and caring family environment in which every student, guest, and staff member is treated with respect, dignity and love.

Charlotte Martial Arts Newsletter February 2018

The Peaceful Dragon Newsletter – February 2018

February Holidays
Great American Pie Month

3rd   Feed the Birds Day                                     16th Chinese New Year’s Day
6th   National Chopsticks Day                            20th Love Your Pet Day
11th   Make a Friend Day                                    26th  Tell a Fairy Tale Day
14th   Valentine’s Day                                         28th   Mardi Gras

Message from Mastery Eric Sbarge

Body, Breath and Mind

In my very first lesson with new students, I point out that each art taught at The Peaceful Dragon – tai chi, yoga, all the kung fu styles – focuses equally on the development of body, breath and mind.

Like the three legs of a stool, the three components of body, breath and mind support all of your development and progress in learning these arts.

That’s not to say that the goal is to develop the body and mind to the same level – a developed body with an undeveloped mind is of little value, while a weak body is not necessarily a barrier to someone with a strong mind.

But in terms of getting to a strong mind, the breath and body serve as important tools, and so should be paid attention to as equal legs of the stool.

Some people totally focus on their body development in these arts, wanting to have a great physique or wanting to be strong athletes, leaving the greatest prize from these arts – mental awakening – on the table.

Others become intrigued with meditation and the mental practices, but don’t build a strong and healthy enough body to support these practices, or don’t realize how the body and breath can be used as tools to strengthen the mind.

But in my observations, the leg of the stool most neglected by the majority of practitioners is the breath component. Sure, you may do a couple of minutes of breathing exercises at your every-other-day yoga or martial arts class if the instructor fits it in, but then you ignore breathing the rest of the time.

When you regularly work on the three categories of breathing exercises – greater volume of air, greater endurance to hold the air, cleaner air – you are directly working on improving your energy (chi, prana). Chinese and Indian masters discovered millennia ago how breathing not only gives you energy for physical fitness and health, but also how the breath impacts your mental fitness and health.

So I highly recommend that you take the various breathing methods you learn in your classes, and create a systematic routine of daily breathing practices that you make as routine as brushing your teeth or eating lunch. You don’t need to spend hours on this – a few minutes of dedicated breathing exercises is all that’s needed to see tremendous benefits.

Sure, everyone breathes all day. But do you just breathe, or do you really breathe?

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”                         ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

If you are not a current student of The Peaceful Dragon, there are many ways to improve your mind, body and spirit through the programs available at The Peaceful Dragon. Visit www.ThePeacefulDragon.com and click on Adult Classes or Children’s Classes.  You can then register for a Free Semi-Private, No-Obligation Introductory Class and an Introductory Tour.

Upcoming Events

Chinese New Year Festival
Saturday, February 10th, 11am-2pm

The Peaceful Dragon is hosting its 21st annual Chinese New Year’s Festival on Saturday, February 10, from 11am to 2pm. Admission is just $5 per family, or FREE with a donation of a non-perishable food item for Loaves and Fishes charity.

Fun for the entire family, come celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Dog! The festival will begin with the colorful ceremonial Lion Dance and Dragon Dance, said to bring good luck to everyone for the coming year. Then throughout the festival you can enjoy exciting demonstrations of Chinese martial arts and health arts including Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Yoga, and performing arts such as traditional Chinese dance and music.

Local experts will be on hand to exhibit various Asian arts and cultural practices such as feng shui, calligraphy, acupuncture and Chinese medicine. There will be a fun game room for kids, a bounce house, plus face painting, arts & crafts and more.

Free introductory mini-classes in tai chi, yoga and kung fu will be offered for both children and adults, and there will be special festival-day discounts to enroll in The Peaceful Dragon’s ongoing classes. Catered Chinese noodles will be available to purchase for lunch.

Additional festival highlights include ongoing raffle drawings and door prizes, and FREE shuttle parking. The festivities are all held indoors so the festival takes place rain or shine.

Chinese New Year Banquet
Saturday, February 17th, 6:30pm

Open to Peaceful Dragon students and their families, this is the most important event of the year at our school. In accord with wu-de and the customs of a traditional Chinese martial arts and health arts school, this banquet affords our entire martial arts and yoga family the chance to welcome the new year together to show support and bring good luck to each other.

This always-exciting annual banquet includes Student, Disciple and Teacher-level promotions; special awards ceremonies; raffle prizes and more. Family and friends are welcome! The banquet dinner will be catered and held this year right here at The Peaceful Dragon, and will include appetizers, multiple entrees, dessert, and soft drinks. For spirits it’s BYOB.

Tickets are on sale now at our front counter on a first come, first served basis. Seating is limited and tickets may sell out so don’t wait. Last day for purchase is Wednesday, February 14th – sorry, no exceptions for latecomers.

Adults tickets $49, children 12 and under half price.

Tensegrity and Tristana for Transformation
Quarterly Yoga Workshop
Saturday, February 24th, 1-5pm

Yoga is a spiritual practice cleverly disguised as a physical workout. Do it for your body and you will get fit. But do it for your mind, and your body automatically follows expanding your experience beyond your current physical capacity. This workshop is about discovering the link between your physical and subtle body, between your mental issues and your physical tissues.

We will explore binding the senses, the body and the mind,  so that you can create a safe harbor for practice, reverse the consumption of your mind (pratyhara) and begin to control the trajectory of your practice.  Lecture will be followed by a two hour practice. Perfect for beginners.

CACMA Tournament
Saturday, March 10th, 9am

Sifu encourages all students to compete or attend the CACMA Queen’s Cup Tournament. There are divisions for all age and skill levels, so even beginners should try. Many of your instructors will be judging the competitions. This is an excellent opportunity to see other school’s martial arts styles. For more details about the competition including divisions, rules, and pre-registration, please see the official CACMA website at http://mhkungfu.com/CACMA/ .

NOTE: BECAUSE ALL OF OUR INSTRUCTORS AND MOST OF OUR STUDENTS WILL BE PARTICIPATING, THE PEACEFUL DRAGON WILL BE CLOSED FOR CLASSES ON THE DAY OF THE TOURNAMENT.

Our updated 2018 Special Events Calendar is available at https://thepeacefuldragon.com/specialevents.shtml.

Mark your planning calendar now!

FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS

5th        David Mullin                          19th      Jessica Webb
5th        Bryan Tan                               21st      Rick Towell
13th      Susan Smith                           22nd      Kieyanna Morgan
14th      Gretchen Kelly                       22nd      Aditya Vetury
16th      Jared Harris                            23rd      Jason Price
16th      Danielle Sanders                    25th      Micheal Heflin
18th      Madeline Rutzell                    27th      Alexander Japit

Monthly Classes, Seminars, and Discussion Groups

Yoga Seminar – Thursday, February 1, 6:30-8:30pm
Topic: Intro to Ashtanga – Surya Namaskara B and Standing Postures
Presented by Yogini Mara Healy.
Open to all teens and adults:  FREE for Peaceful Dragon students, $29 for guests.
Note: There will be no regular yoga classes on the evenings of the monthly yoga seminars.

Jr. Mastery Program Seminar – Saturday, February 3, 12-1pm
Topic:  Time Management
Open only to Junior Mastery Program students.

Mastery Roundtable Discussion – Tuesday, February 6, 8-9pm
Topic:  Mastering Your Time to Master Yourself
Open only to Mastery Program students.

Lecture and Discussion – Thursday, February 15, 6:30pm
Topic:  Meditations from Venerable Sheng Yen, Our “Meditation Grandmaster”
Presented by Master Eric Sbarge.
Open to all adult and teen students.

Future Instructors – Saturday, February 17, 11am
Open only to Junior Mastery Program students.

Mandala Cross-Mat Yoga Class – Sunday, February 25, 11am-2pm
Open to all adult students with a suggested donation of $10.  Open to the public for $25

Equipment Needed for Classes

Adults
Shaolin   Full Sparring Equipment
Tai Chi none

Kids
4-12 year olds: White, Yellow, and Orange Sash:       Single Short Stick
8-12 year olds: Green Sash and above:                       Double Short Stick

Peaceful Dragon School News (All Real!)

Plan and Start Saving NOW for The Peaceful Dragon’s 2019 China and Japan Tour!

The Peaceful Dragon is sponsoring an Asia tour for our students, family members and friends in October of 2019 – two years from now.

This two-week tour promises to be a fantastic trip that will include practice in meditation and martial arts with locals, sightseeing, cultural excursions and events, and much more. Our tentative itinerary includes Japan for the first time – Tokyo and Kyoto (with its ancient Zen temples) – and the beautiful Chinese cities of Suzhou (called China’s Venice with the picturesque canals), Hangzhou (the lake city), the spiritual Yellow Mountains, and the cosmopolitan heart of China, Shanghai.

The estimated cost for this all-inclusive custom tour with 4 and 5 star accommodations, all travel and excellent meals, admissions to cultural events, and the service of highly-professional English-speaking guides is around $4000. If you can set aside $40 a week starting now, you can go – it’s a great investment for a lifetime of memories!

Send Us Your Event Photos or Short Video Clips

If you get some nice shots of Peaceful Dragon events please send them to Holly@thepeacefuldragon.com for display in our newsletter, social media pages and our lobby-area TV!

Did You Know…

  • For Chinese New Year (which is not called Chinese New Year in China – it’s called Spring Festival) the whole country virtually shuts down for nearly a whole week while family members travel across the country to be together to celebrate, and the actual celebration goes on for 15 days?
  • According to the scholar Mark Singleton, many of the asanas (postures) of modern yoga were borrowed from martial arts and gymnastics? So if you want to improve your strength and flexibility for martial arts, do yoga!
  • One of the best ways you can help keep your school, The Peaceful Dragon, strong and viable is to help us promote it to others in the community? And one of the best ways to do that is to post your positive 5-star reviews online at sites such as Yelp and Google, or on our Facebook page. If you haven’t done so in the past, we truly appreciate if you’ll take a few moments to do so!

Children’s Program News

A Message from Mr. George

I hope everyone is having a great 2018!  This month the advanced students will continue working on their Kenpo Two Person Set.  Other forms are performed by one student.  The individual demonstrate his or her ability to evade and counter-attack the invisible opponent.  In the two person set, if one student miss a block, he or she will get hit by the partner.  Of course we start with very slow speed and no contact.  At the top level, the strikes and kicks will have real power behind them; however, the skill of “getting out of the way” will neutralize all of the attacks.

The beginners group will be focusing on sidekicks and roundhouse kicks.  These basic but very effective kicks will require a flexible body.  During class time we will go over proper stretching and kicking techniques.  Students are required to go home and practice their stretching along with kicking drills, minimal of 15 minutes every day.  Just like any skills in life: practice makes perfect!

Student of the Month Recognition

Adult Student of the Month— Carolyn Newell
1st runner up— Linda Mullin
2nd runner up— David Mullin

Carolyn shows up consistently.  She does her best in every class and always tries to make new people feel welcome.  Good job, Carolyn!

Child Student of the Month— Hurditya Katta
1st runner up— Annalise Turner
2nd runner up—Victoria Burke

Hurditya has been a good example to the newer students with good focusing skills, and trying his best on the difficult kung fu drills. Keep up the great work, Hurditya!

Students Ask Master Sbarge

Question: I’m seriously interested in joining The Peaceful Dragon’s Asia tour next fall, but I wondered how my kids can come since it’s in October and they have school, and also whether my wife can come since she’s never done martial arts.

Answer:  The tour is open to any interested and nice people, not just our students, so of course your wife is welcome. She can join us for our morning tai chi, kung fu and yoga practice, too – no experience is necessary. As for the kids, we’ve always had some kids join our past tours – in my mind the lessons and experiences they get on this trip will last a lifetime, far more than anything they will miss in school for a couple of weeks – and most teachers are willing to let the kids make up any missed assignments.

Mission Statement for The Peaceful Dragon

Our mission is to help each of our students reach his or her fullest potential for physical, mental and spiritual development through the teaching of traditional Asian health arts and martial arts.  We accomplish this by offering the most authentic and effective curriculum, by providing the best possible service to our students and their families, and by maintaining a warm and caring family environment in which every student, guest, and staff member is treated with respect, dignity and love.

Charlotte Martial Arts Newsletter January 2018

 The Peaceful Dragon Newsletter: January 2018

January Holidays!

National Blood Donor Month

3rd Festival of Sleep Day                          16th Appreciate a Dragon Day
6th Cuddle Up Day                                     20th National Cheese Lover Day
10th Houseplant Appreciation Day      24th Compliment Day
13th International Skeptics Day            31st Inspire your Heart with Art Day

Message from Master Eric Sbarge

Happy New Year! If you’re like many people, you want to make positive changes to yourself, so you set resolutions and vow to follow through on them.

But statistics show that only 10% of resolutions are completed at year end, and 25% have been dropped after just ten days!

So how do you really achieve your goals? Several strategies and tactics are helpful:

  1. Break your goals into smaller, measurable “sub-goals”. If you want to lose 50 lbs., for example, aim to lose one pound a week – and weigh yourself weekly.
  2. Visually remind yourself of the desired outcome. Picture yourself in your “finished state” on a daily basis – creating what’s called a Vision Board is helpful for this.
  3. Wishes and prayers are not plans. Create an actual plan, with specific and realistic procedures, to attain your goal.
  4. Forgive yourself for the occasional slip-ups – we all have them. They’re not a reason to give up on yourself, but rather a reason to re-visit your Vision Board.
  5. Have a support group. Being a student at The Peaceful Dragon is an example of a support group – you likely train harder and accomplish more when surrounded by like-minded people in your classes than you would at home on your own.
  6. Realize that most goals don’t really have an end date – you must allow the lifestyle changes to continue. If you do lose 50 lbs. by the end of the year, they will go back on next year if you don’t adhere to – and learn to enjoy – your new lifestyle habits.

This list is hardly exhaustive, but it’s a start. The real start though is deciding to make changes to yourself, so if you’ve done that, congratulations. Now go make those changes happen – I am confident you can be successful.

“Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.”
―Goran Persson

If you are not a current student of The Peaceful Dragon, there are many ways to improve your mind, body and spirit through the programs available at The Peaceful Dragon. Visit www.ThePeacefulDragon.com and click on Adult Classes or Children’s Classes.  You can then register for a Free Semi-Private, No-Obligation Introductory Class and an Introductory Tour.

Upcoming Events

Meditation Course Level One Begins
Wednesday, January 10th, 8-9:15pm

This 10-week Level One meditation course will be led by Master Sbarge every Wednesday night from 8-9:15pm beginning on January 10th.  Discover the traditional Chan (Zen) and Taoist approaches to developing greater focus and awareness, reducing stress and worry, and boosting health and overall happiness.  This course will blend both discussion and theory with actual practice.

The fee is $149 for the public, $69 for family members of our students, free for Peaceful Dragon students.  Please register for the course ahead of time at our front counter or by calling us at 704-504-8866. Bring your meditation cushion or bench of choice or we have some available for purchase or limited numbers that you can borrow.

Children’s Promotion Ceremony
Saturday, January 13th, 11am
makeup Thursday, January 25th, 5:30pm

Congratulations to all of our promoting Young Dragons.  Please fill out your promotion application and return it to the front counter no later than one week before your chosen promotion date.

Blood Drive
Saturday, January 13th, 9am-1pm

Please consider giving this precious gift.  If you choose to donate, please sign up for a time slot at the front counter.

Parents Night Out
Friday, January 19th, 6:30-9pm

This month’s Parents Night Out is Sword Fight Night! Sword Fight Night is open to children 4 and above.  This event will teach your child the self-defense and responsibility necessary to be a master of the sword.  Your child will receive a class in the necessary drills for combat, then take their acquired skills and put them to the test against each other.  Each child will need a sparring helmet and padded action bat.  If you don’t have one, we have a few to share.  All friends of Peaceful Dragon Students must have a permission slip filled out by their parents.  Please register by no later than Thursday, January 18th so we can properly staff this event.

Adult All Block Promotional Testing
Saturday, January 20th, 11am
Makeup Wednesday, February 7th, 6:30pm

Good luck to all of our testing adults.  Hank and other instructors are offering a test prep class on Tuesdays at 6:30pm to help you prepare for this testing.  Please be sure to fill out your testing application and return it to the front desk by no later that one week before your chosen test date.

Quarterly Cleanup Day
Saturday, January 27th, 9am-1pm

Join us as we work to make our school sparkle!  We need all volunteers, whether it is for five minutes before or after your class or if you decide to come out all day.  Thank you for all your help!

Chinese New Year Festival
Saturday, February 10th, 11am-2pm

The Peaceful Dragon is hosting its 21st annual Chinese New Year’s Festival on Saturday, February 10, from 11am to 2pm.  Admission is just $5 per family or free with a donation of a non-perishable food item for Loaves and Fishes charity.

Fun for the entire family, come celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Dog!  The festival will begin with a colorful ceremonial Lion Dance and Dragon Dance, said to bring good luck to everyone for the coming year.  Then throughout the festival you can enjoy exciting demonstrations of Chinese martial arts and health arts including Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Yoga, and performing arts such as traditional Chinese dance and music.

Local experts will be on had to exhibit various Asian arts and cultural practices such as feng shui, calligraphy, acupuncture and Chinese medicine.  There will be a fun game room for kids, a bounce house weather permitting, plus face painting, arts & crafts and more.

Free introductory mini-classes in tai chi and kung fu will be offered for children and adults, and there will be special festival-day discounts to enroll in The Peaceful Dragon’s ongoing classes.  Catered Chinese noodles will be available to purchase for lunch.

Additional festival highlights include ongoing raffle drawings and door prizes, and FREE shuttle parking.  The festivities are all held indoors so the festival takes place rain or shine.

Chinese New Year Banquet
Saturday, February 17th, 6:30pm

Open to Peaceful Dragon students and their families, this is the most important event of the year at our school.  In accord with wu-de and the customs of a traditional Chinese martial arts and health arts school, this banquet affords our entire martial arts and yoga family the chance to welcome the new year together to show support and bring good luck to each other.

This always-exciting annual banquet includes Student, Disciple, and Teacher-level promotions; special awards ceremonies; raffle prizes and more.  Family and friends are welcome! The banquet dinner will be catered and held this year right here at The Peaceful Dragon, and will include appetizers, multiple entrees, dessert, and soft drinks. For spirits it’s BYOB.

Tickets are on sale now at our front counter on a first come, first served basis.  Seating is limited and tickets may sell out so don’t wait.  Last day for purchase is Wednesday, February 14th – sorry, no exceptions for latecomers.

Adults tickets $49, children 12 and under half price.

Our updated 2018 Special Events Calendar is available at https://thepeacefuldragon.com/specialevents.shtml.  Mark your planning calendar now!

January Birthdays

1st Hank Kadel                        21st Emmy Verheecke
4th Sahana Sanjay                  25th Nikki Anderson
5th Mathew Martin                25th Karthik Kannan
9th Keira Gentry                     26th Daniel Smith
13th Preston Hawley             27th Brandon Miles
17th Jyoti Nath                       29th Annabelle Burke

Monthly Classes, Seminars, and Discussion Groups

Mastery Roundtable Discussion – Tuesday, January 2, 8-9pm
Topic: Making your Goals and Resolutions Stick
Open only to Mastery Program Students.

Yoga Seminar – Thursday, January 4, 6:30-8:30pm
Topic: Mastery of Belly Down Vinyasa – Safety in Chaturanga (low push-up position)
Presented by Yogini Mara Healy
Open to all teen and adults: FREE for Peaceful Dragon students, $29 for guests
Note: There will be no regular yoga classes on the evenings of the monthly yoga seminars.

Jr. Mastery Program Seminar – Saturday, January 6, 12-1pm
Topic: Speaking and Presenting with Confidence and Authority
Open only to Junior Mastery Program Students

Lecture and Discussion – Thursday, January 18, 6:30pm
Topic: Wu-De (Martial Virtue): The Foundation of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts
Presented by Master Eric Sbarge
Open to all adult and teen students.

Future Instructors – Saturday, January 27, 11am
Open only to Junior Mastery Program students.

Mandala Cross-Mat Yoga Class – Saturday, January 28, 11am-2pm
Open to all adult students with a suggested donation of $10. Open to the public for $25.

Equipment Needed for Classes

Adult Shaolin: none
Tai Chi: none
4-12 year olds: White Sash and Above: Full Sparring Equipment

Peaceful Dragon School News (All Real!)

Plan and Start Saving NOW for The Peaceful Dragon’s 2019 China and Japan Tour

The Peaceful Dragon is sponsoring an Asian tour for our students, family members, and friends in October of 2019 – two years from now.

This two week tour promises to be a fantastic trip that will include practice in meditation and martial arts with locals, sightseeing, cultural excursions and events, and much more.  Our tentative itinerary includes Japan for the first time – Tokyo and Kyoto (with its ancient Zen temples) – and the beautiful Chinese cities of Suzhou (called China’s Venice with the picturesque canals), Hangshou (the lake city), the spiritual Yellow Mountains, and the cosmopolitan heart of China, Shanghai.

The estimated cost for this all-inclusive custom tour with 4 and 5 star accommodations, all travel and excellent meals, admissions to cultural events, and the service of highly-professional English-speaking guides is around $4000.  If you can set aside $40 a week starting now, you can go – it’s a great investment for a lifetime of memories!

Send Us Your Event Photos or Short Video Clips

If you get some nice shots of Peaceful Dragon events, please send them to Holly@thepeacefuldragon.com for display in our newsletter, social media pages and our new upcoming lobby area TV!

Did You Know…

  • None of the original authentic yoga texts talk about how flexible you are – in fact they barely even mention the physical body at all?  Real yoga is about cultivating the mind and spirit (regardless of the type of body you have) so EVERYONE can participate in and benefit from its practice.
  • Chinese is the most common first language in the world? (English is second)

Children’s Program News

A Message from Mr. George

Happy New Years and I hope everyone had a wonderful 2017. This year we will have the honor of having Master Guolin coming to do a workshop with us.  I met Master Guolin when I was a teenager during a summer camp.  Over the year he became friends with our family and he was at our Grand Opening in 1997.  He was the formal Head Instructor at the Shaolin Temple and represented Shaolin Kung Fu worldwide.  He now lives in New York and teaches classes at multiple locations.  Master Guolin jokingly said he does not travel to teach Kung Fu anywhere, bu he says he enjoys to come to our school.  Wishing everyone a great 2018!

Student of the Month Recognition

Adult Student of the Month – Patricia Rosa
1st runner up – Alan Aronoff
2nd runner up – Samir Masih

Patricia is a very consistent student.  She always puts her best effort into every class.  Good job, Patricia!

Child Student of the Month – Ben Mullis
1st runner up – Annabelle Burke
2nd runner up – Joseph Collier

Ben has been a good example to the newer students with good focusing skills and trying his best on the difficult kung fu drills.  Keep up the great work Ben!

Disciple’s Forum

It Takes More than Just Going to Class
By Disciple Jason Field

Training outside of class is an essential part of our martial arts or yoga growth. If you wish to improve in your study just showing up for class 2, 3 or 10 times a week is not enough. Yes the more classes that you show up to the quicker your growth will be but just showing up for classes is not enough. During class you will get corrections and learn new things but it is during your personal training that habits are formed and growth really happens. It is obvious to any of the instructors which students are putting in the time outside of class and which are not.

All personal training is not equal. It takes work and planning before you even start to get the most out of your time and effort. 30 minutes of focused intense training will generate more results than an hour of unfocused training. To make sure that you are getting the most out of your effort you have to have some goals in mind. If you do not have a goal in mind your training will be disorganized and less progress will be made. You first have to determine what you wish to accomplish with your training and where you want to take it. Once you have a long term goal in mind you can then start to work backwards and set monthly and weekly targets to help focus your training sessions.

To help keep each training session focused you should enter it with a plan. Before you even start you should know what you are going to work on and the order that you are going to do it in. If you have to spend time during your training session figuring out what
you are going to do next that is when you can start to lose focus on what you are trying to accomplish and that 30 minute session turns into a 60 minute session and you do not feel like you really accomplished much. If you have your session planned out beforehand you can know what equipment you will need and can have it prepared before you begin. You are not going to be spending time looking for your Yoga blocks or stretch bands during your session. You can smoothly transition from one workout to another.

After your workout ends you need to evaluate your session and see what worked well and what can be improved upon. Did you stay focused the entire session? If not why not? Can you determine what was distracting you and make a change for the next workout? Did the session fit into your long term goals? If your sessions are not working to your goals you might have to go back to the planning stage and make sure that you are staying on the path your desire. The other option is that maybe you realize your long term goals have changed and you need to re-evaluate them. If your long term goals change every month that is not good but you might realize that what you started a year ago is not the same thing that you desire now.

Getting to Know This Month’s Disciple

Each month, we will be asking our Disciple’s Forum writer to answer a few questions. Here are this month’s Disciple’s questions and answers:

What do you do in your free time?
A little bit of everything. I kinda go through spurts of doing different things. Right now I’m doing some 3D printing. In the past I’ve worked on chainmaille jewelry. I’m starting to learn about lathe work. A good book is always a good idea.

What type of music do you listen to?
I don’t listen to much beyond a radio station in the car. If I did listen more often, I like instrumentalmusic like David Arkenstone and the soundtrack to Gettysburg.

What would I find in your fridge right now?
A lot of milk and baby food for my baby and leftovers from yesterday’s dinner for us.

What vacation location is on your bucket list?
I’d like to spend some time traveling around the Asian Pacific region. I really enjoyed the four months that I spent in the Philippines and would like to return and visit the surrounding countries.

If you won the lottery, what business would you open?
I’d like to open up a cross between a Hackerspace and a gallery. Somewhere that artists could go to have a workshop, as well as space to sell their work.

Students Ask Master Sbarge

Question: I took up tai chi to lose weight, but a year into it I haven’t lost any weight. What am I doing wrong?
Answer: Despite not losing weight, you’ve already told me you’re feeling much healthier and more energetic, so that’s a nice benefit from you tai chi. But to seriously lose weight, you HAVE TO implement dietary changes: Switch from soda/juice to water/tea (without sugar) and drink more of it; reduce eating processed and packaged foods and eating out a lot; switch to eating primarily fruits and vegetables and whole grains; don’t completely eliminate desserts or “comfort foods” which might cause feelings of deprivation, but rather reduce them and make them special treats; eat mindfully and remember this: Food is meant to nourish the body, not the mind–fuel your mind and emotions with positive and uplifting thoughts and activities, not food.

Mission Statement for The Peaceful Dragon

Our mission is to help each of our students reach his or her fullest potential for physical, mental and spiritual development through the teaching of traditional Asian health arts and martial arts. We accomplish this by offering the most authentic and effective curriculum, by providing the best possible service to our students and their families, and by maintaining a warm and caring family environment in which every student, guest, and staff member is treated with respect, dignity and love.

Thoughtful Habits

By Master Eric Sbarge

Years ago I heard a psychology report that said that the average person has roughly 60,000 thoughts per day, and all but a few of those thoughts are the same thoughts as the day before. So if that report was right, it seems we think a lot but we aren’t particularly original thinkers.

Our thoughts fall into a handful of repeating categories, which are deeply imbedded in our habits.

For example, I’m sure you’ve noticed that some of your Facebook and social media friends always post about the same things, and when you meet these friends in person (if such a thing still happens) they again talk about the exact same things.

I’ve noticed for example that I have several Facebook friends that seem mostly to post pictures of what they’re about to eat, or wish they were about to eat. Clearly, they think about food a lot. I remember way back in high school I had a friend whose whole family were big eaters. They went on a vacation to Las Vegas, and when they returned and I asked them how their vacation was, they proceeded to tell me about every meal at every restaurant they’d gone to. That was all they seemed to remember about the trip, or at least all they thought it worth talking about.

Or others on social media always rail about politics in the hopes of either converting or annoying us. Whether conservative or liberal, you pretty much know what these people’s next post will be about. It makes you glad not to have to talk to them in person.

Still others are one-trick ponies when it comes to their activities: The martial artist who shows you pictures of yet another broken brick (or hand); the yogi who has become so flexible he can take selfies of every pose without having to switch the camera to selfie mode (he can and he does show you every pose possible); the new parents who share every wonder of their baby’s burping or falling down or getting up again.

These kinds of posts are harmless, and I use them only as examples of our habit of repetitive thought. What isn’t so harmless, to ourselves or to others, is when our repetitive thoughts are hurtful or dangerous.

When our thoughts are continually self-loathing, or demeaning towards others, or hostile and angry, or intolerant, or arrogant and boastful – then it makes sense to change these thoughts. The best way to change our thought habits is by learning to first observe and monitor them through meditation, and second through cultivating mindfulness and awareness throughout the day.

The opportunities to observe and change our thoughts are plenty – 60,000 times a day to be exact. So go ahead, think about babies or politics or yoga poses or whatever you like all day, but think about them with thoughts of joy, love, compassion, peace and humor and we’ll all benefit from your thoughtful habits.

(NOTE: If I’ve repeated this topic here many times before, my sincere apologies.)

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
 Mark Twain

On Competition in Martial Arts

By Master Eric Sbarge

The martial arts didn’t originate in antiquity as competitive sports but rather as practical means of defense, both for individuals and communities.  Over the last two to three thousand years they’ve evolved to include spiritual practices for self-cultivation, and competitive sport for personal development and community pride.

Today there is ample room for all three categories to flourish:  Self-defense, spiritual cultivation, and competition.  While I personally find the greatest value in the spiritual aspects of my martial arts training, I also appreciate the security and confidence of self-defense training, and I’ve gained several benefits from having competed in various venues for almost twenty years.

Here I want to offer some thoughts specifically on the competition aspect of martial arts training.

I’m sure you’ve frequently heard the expression in martial arts, “Your toughest opponent is yourself.”  However true that may be, it too often stands alone as a yang without a yin.  Missing is the counterpart, “Your greatest ally is yourself.”

You are both your own opponent and your own ally, and competition offers a great opportunity to help defeat your negative thoughts and habits while allying with and building on the positive.

A few of the qualities we most often need to battle within ourselves include fear, arrogance, timidity, doubt, laziness and boastfulness.  Competing, whether in the fighting ring or on the performance floor, forces us to confront and check these negative emotions and impulses.

The qualities we want to build and strengthen in ourselves often include confidence, fitness, respect, bravery, humility and good sportsmanship, and competition gives us a great chance to cultivate these traits.

At good martial arts competitions, when a competitor fails to display positive qualities and reveals negative ones – arrogantly criticizing judges, lazily failing to come prepared for an event, boasting over one’s victories – that competitor sticks out like a sore thumb.  But with continued training and feedback from instructors and officials, to switch metaphors to an apt Japanese expression, eventually that nail that sticks up gets hammered down.

Now granted, at poor martial arts competitions – and there are many of them now days especially at the professional level – the very qualities that we are trying to temper are often fed:  Big egos and arrogance, disrespectfulness, poor sportsmanship.  But I am confident you can distinguish between the good and bad.

Among the many good competitive venues that are out there are the Kuoshu-affiliated CACMA tournament that we hold here in Charlotte, and the other Kuoshu tournaments around the country and the world.  I believe they exemplify the positive aspects of competition and will benefit any serious martial arts student, which is why The Peaceful Dragon supports them and takes part in them.

I want to congratulate all of our Peaceful Dragon students who have competed and collectively had a great showing at past CACMA tournaments.  Next up is the International Kuoshu Tournament in Baltimore later this month.  All are welcome to compete, or come and support our competitors and learn by observing.

While sometimes the nail that sticks up needs to be hammered down, on the flip side if you stick your head up and compete you will see much broader horizons and no hammer will await you (though a friendly fist or two might).

Sweeping Away your Vexations

By Master Eric Sbarge

The cultivation of compassion is a process that is fundamental to the philosophies of the three primary arts we teach at The Peaceful Dragon:  The Buddhist philosophy underlying our Shaolin kung fu practices, the Taoist philosophy at the core of our tai chi practices, and to classical yoga philosophy.

The Buddha urged us to “Have compassion for all beings, for each has their suffering.”  The Taoist sage Lao Tzu humbly declared, “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion.”  And in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras we are advised that, ‘Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy.”

Of course compassion and loving-kindness are qualities that are also esteemed in nearly all of the world’s major religions. When we demonstrate compassion we help to aid and heal those who are suffering or facing misfortune, and such help fosters the spiritual connections that we all have with each other.

But what is easy for us to overlook is the fact that compassion doesn’t just benefit others, but also benefits our own personal growth and well-being. The sages such as Patanjali, Buddha and Lao Tzu understood that being compassionate not only improves the welfare of others in society, but also is an essential part of the process to benefit and liberate ourselves.

When we develop empathy for others and want to help mitigate their pain and suffering, we become less attached to our own needs and desires, and less bound by our egos.  As we lessen our attachments and soften our egos, we have fewer vexations and can eventually reach the state described by Patanjali above as “undisturbed calmness of mind.”  Such calmness of mind is what brings the inner peace that yoga, kung fu and tai chi were in fact originally created to help us achieve.

So how and where can we begin to cultivate and demonstrate more compassion?  You’ve surely heard the expression, “Charity starts at home.”  Begin by acting more compassionately and charitably towards your own family and loved ones. Then let your compassion spread to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, strangers and finally yes, even to your enemies (you will eventually see that with compassion you can’t really have enemies).

Don’t feel like you have to begin with monumental acts of compassion. Rather than initially setting out to cure cancer or eliminate all the world’s wars, start with simple little things: a smile, a greeting, a hug, or maybe a compliment. Then greater acts such as community service, donating to the less fortunate, and volunteerism can follow.  As a final step, please do go ahead and put an end to cancer and wars!

Here at The Peaceful Dragon we have certain traditions whose purpose is to help our students, particularly newer students, have an opportunity to shed some of their attachments and egos, and humbly and compassionately serve fellow-students and the school as a whole.

Sweeping the floors before and after class; cleaning the bathrooms; maintaining the gardens and landscaping; quarterly cleanup days; and other opportunities to volunteer for special events and AOL desktop gold support phone number activities all benefit others and demonstrate selflessness and compassion.  Even if our school could afford to hire janitors and landscapers – which it cannot – we would not do so for the simple reason that it would deprive our students of the important tradition, originally a monastic tradition, of serving fellow-students and the school as a whole.

This tradition of practical tasks fostering our own spiritual growth can be inferred from the following well-known Zen parable:

A new monk proclaims to the master Zhaozhou, “I’ve just entered the monastery. Please teach me.” The master inquires, “Have you eaten your breakfast?” to which the monk replies, “Yes I have.” The master continues, “Then you had better go wash your bowl.”

If you come to our yoga, kung fu or tai chi class and ask our instructors to teach you how to lessen your vexations and increase your peace of mind, we won’t suggest that you go wash your bowl.  But that’s only because we don’t serve breakfast.  We definitely will urge you to go sweep the floors!

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
 ~Dalai Lama

Summer Break

A Message from Mr. George

Summer break is almost here! By the middle of this month, all the kids will be on summer break. Many of them will go on vacations, visit relatives, attend summer camps and other fun events. While the kids are away, they are still expected to keep up their respect, control, manners and kung fu practice!

I’m looking forward to the new additions to the children’s program. We will have more fun drills and game for the kids. More reinforcement and practice will equal better results. Leadership training will include reading and role playing. Many classes now have at least 1 or more Class Assistants (big brother/big sister) helping the younger students. These little improvements will help the kids’ development and leadership skills.

Searching for Happiness

By Master Eric Sbarge

The Chinese have a saying, “The height of stupidity is to search for the donkey that you’re riding on.”

You’re of course too smart for them to be talking about you. But have you ever found yourself searching for happiness? If happiness had big ears, it just might be the donkey you’re riding on.

You can travel around the world searching for happiness, but it’s not listed on any map or navigation system. And that’s because there is no place to go to find happiness.

Lots of people are stuck wallowing in misery or unhappiness, but they’re standing right next to people and doing the exact same things as people who are joyful and very happy. It’s really not about going other places or doing other things – happiness has to be found right where you are, and within yourself.

Why are some people seemingly always happy regardless of place or circumstance? Awareness, and attitude. Be aware of the potential beauty and happiness that surrounds you at every place, in every moment. Have an attitude of appreciation for that beauty that is always there.

Like discovering you are already on the donkey, when you discover you already have all the ingredients for happiness within you then you can stop searching, and enjoy the ride.