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6 Ways to Improve Physical Balance and Limit Risk of a Dangerous Fall

Gaining and maintaining good physical balance is an important part of keeping yourself healthy and well. Good balance requires decent muscle strength in your core, back, and stabilizing leg muscles. As you begin to get older, balance is vital in avoiding falls that can lead to major injuries such as broken hips, pelvises, wrists, and head injuries. AARP reported that deaths from falls in adults 65 years and older had gone up 31%!

There are several activities you can begin today to improve your balance and help you maintain it. Check out these six awesome ideas:

Balance on One Leg

Stand near a chair or wall to catch yourself if you lose balance. Put your feet together. Pick up one foot. Hold it with your eyes open and then closed. Try this 4 times with each foot.

Squats or Sit n’ Stands

With your feet shoulder-width apart, push your hips back and your arms out front, slowly down into a sitting position (without actually sitting). Come back up again. Repeat 10 times. Make sure your knees do not go out past your toes.

Swing Your Legs

Stand up straight. Lift one leg off the floor between three to six inches. Keep your arms at your side and swing your leg forward and backward while keeping your body straight. Repeat. Switch legs and do it again.

Close Your Eyes

Stand within reach of a chair or wall to catch yourself if you lose balance. Close your eyes. If you maintain balance, try it again, standing on one leg.

One-Legged Squats

Once you’ve perfected the regular squat. Do the same but balancing on one leg. Achieve this by putting one leg out front with just the tip of your toe resting on the floor for balance. Then squat with just the other leg. Be sure your knee does not pass your toe by pressing your hips backward and hold your arms out front for more balance.

Charlotte Tai Chi Classes

One of the most proven benefits of Tai Chi practice is improved balance. The slow, purposeful movements of Tai Chi builds muscle and provides practitioners with a better awareness of their bodies in space. Many Tai Chi movements work your glutes and quadriceps, which play a huge role in your balance when standing. The myriad of other stabilizing muscles that get stronger also decreases your chances of falling. But perhaps what really makes a difference for many, is that Tai Chi is accessible to everyone. Your fitness level and mobility are not of importance for practicing Tai Chi.

If you’d like to improve your balance and stability, consider Tai Chi one of the best methods of doing so. If you come out to The Peaceful Dragon, you can enjoy a complimentary semi-private lesson to give Tai Chi a try before you commit. Call today to schedule your free visit.

A Look Ahead to the Peaceful Dragon Japan & China trip 2019

From October 15th through October 27th we will be embarking on our fourth group tour of Asia! The two-week tour was designed specifically for The Peaceful Dragon and our affiliated schools.

The tour will include both China and Japan and will be packed with educational, historical, and cultural experiences. We are thrilled to see some of the most exciting and famous sites in both countries and also practice tai chi, kung fu, and meditation with a variety of local experts and instructors.

As we travel the two countries, we look forward to our adventures in each of the following cities:

Tokyo

Enjoying all the must-see attractions in Tokyo, we will visit the Imperial Palace and take a cruise down the Sumida River! We are especially excited to immerse ourselves in the culture by exploring the old Edo District to sample the local cuisine. Hopping on the bullet train to head out to Kyoto will be the exclamation point on our time in Tokyo!

Kyoto

Known as the “Golden Pavilion,” our first stop in Kyoto will be a tour of the Kinkakuji Temple. It is covered in gold! Other amazing sites in Kyoto will include the Kiyomizu Temple to experience Zazen, (sitting meditation) and a walking tour of Kyoto. Our first night in Kyoto will be spent soaking in the famous hot springs of the Biwako Hotel!

Nara/Osaka

Osaka Castle Park is the largest castle in Japan, and we will get to explore it. We will also visit one of Japan’s largest bronze Buddha statues at the Todaiji Temple. In Shinsaibashi, the largest shopping district in Osaka, we will get to enjoy some free time to wander the shops and enjoy the scene.

Shanghai

Our visit to Shanghai will feature a famous Chinese acrobatic show. Shanghai is one of the most vibrant and modern cities in China, offering a unique experience at every turn.

Nanjing

Another high-speed train ride to Nanjing from Shanghai will transport us from the most modern to the most ancient. The Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum honors the modern father of China. We’ll also get to see the Confucius Temple, the Imperial Museum, and the Niushou Mountain Forestal Park full of modern temples and pagodas.

Suzhou

Full of water gardens and canals, “the Venice of China” will be an experience we will never forget. We will visit the famous Lingering Gardens – one of the most famous classical Chinese gardens. Then it is back to Shanghai for our last few days.

They say investing in experiences is a better path to happiness than investing in possessions, and we couldn’t agree more. As we prepare to embark on this magnificent journey to Asia, we hope that you’ll begin planning for your next big adventure. Whether with us on our next sponsored tour or with friends and family, remember, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

The Benefits of Martial Arts Classes for ADHD and Hyperactivity

Martial Arts for ADHDMartial Arts are an ancient practice. While many consider it a form of self-defense or fighting, today’s martial artists often practice it to build and maintain health and wellness. Martial arts increases physical strength and flexibility while improving mental and emotional health.

Many of our parents enroll their children in martial arts classes for the myriad of non-physical benefits. Martial arts practice can increase confidence, improve self-control, and lengthen attention spans. While these skills benefit everyone, they are especially beneficial to children with ADHD and hyperactivity.

It can be hard for children with ADHD to find an extracurricular activity that is right for them – which can leave them feeling excluded and full of energy. Martial arts are accessible to everyone. No matter your coordination, strength, or stamina, martial arts focuses on individual growth and goal setting so anyone can jump in and get started.

The Benefits of Martial Arts for ADHD

Martial arts classes offer many opportunities for children with ADHD to find their niche. Here are a few reasons why children’s martial arts classes are a good choice for kids with attention issues:

An accepting, supportive, communal environment.

Our studio offers a supportive, friendly community built on mutual respect. Your child will always feel welcome, supported, and encouraged.

A safe outlet for expending excess energy.

Exercise is a great way to use extra energy and release built-up tension. Kicking and punching can be specifically helpful in releasing excess energy for a child who has been maintaining the required behavior for school all day long. And with pads and proper guidance, safety is fully maintained.

Structure and clear expectations.

The rules in martial arts class are built around tradition, clearly outlined, and constantly reinforced. We emphasize good behavior in and out of class and use positive reinforcement for achieving and maintaining structure in the classroom.

Clear, individual, attainable goals.

Kids work at their own pace in martial arts class. They are not trying to live up to any specific standard that might be placed on others. There is no superstar in class. Each child is supported and motivated to reach his/her full potential. As they attain the next color sash through hard work and determination, they build confidence and self-esteem to last a lifetime.

Focus on individual growth.

Martial arts is not a team sport. The pressure that kids can feel from competing with others can be too much, and that is where martial arts is different. Your child will get a great physical workout and enjoy the social benefits of the classroom setting, all while avoiding the pressures of a team.

Build self-control, lengthen focus, and improve concentration.

Ready stance. With a simple command by the instructor, children are brought back to center and are ready to focus on the task at hand. Martial arts classes, by nature, require and teach self-discipline and control. Instructors are well versed in peacefully maintaining that focus with routines, tradition, structure, and kindness.

Improved coordination.

Muscle memory is an important part of martial arts. Deliberate and repetitive movements improve children’s motor skills, coordination, and balance.

Have Fun!

Martial arts classes are fun. Fun is a key feature in keeping children with ADHD engaged and willing to participate. We always keep it fun, even when we are working hard and staying focused.

If you think your child could benefit from martial arts classes in Charlotte, call today 704-504-8866 to schedule a FREE introductory class. This trial class will help you meet instructors, understand the atmosphere and community and see if children’s martial arts class at The Peaceful Dragon is right for your child.

Martial Arts in Charlotte: The Key to Happiness?

Practicing martial arts has long been known to improve a person’s mental health. But can Martial Arts classes in Charlotte actually make you happier?

“Money Can’t Buy You Happiness” is a common phrase; you may or may not agree with. But what if science supported the argument? Researchers at Yale and Oxford worked on figuring out the link between happiness and exercise while also taking into consideration income. The findings were quite detailed, and they might surprise you.

The Study

The researchers collected a large data set from over 1.2 million Americans and discovered some enlightening trends in regards to the question, “How many times have you felt mentally unwell in the past 30 days, for example, due to stress, depression, or emotional problems?” Here is what they uncovered:

Exercise Can Increase Happiness

ALL types of exercise resulted in fewer days of poor mental health versus those who do NOT exercise and fit the same sociodemographic profile. Those who regularly exercised suffered 18 fewer days per year on average than those who were non-active.

Optimizing your Activity for Happiness

The widest margins for improvement of happiness were from popular team sports, cycling, and aerobic/gym activities. The best results are attributed to sports where socializing with others is an additional benefit of participating.

The optimal duration and frequency for peak happiness were shown to be 3-5 times per week for 45 minutes. They even go so far as to say that TOO MUCH exercise can have the opposite effect. So, it is ideal not to over-do it.

Does Money Buy Happiness?

When comparing the happiness level between different income groups. It was discovered that the magic number is $25,000/year. A person would need to earn $25,000 more per year to achieve the same happiness benefits gained by exercising.

Ideally, a person with a higher income would continue to exercise and achieve exponential benefits to their mental wellness.

So, in theory, money can buy happiness, but it takes a lot of money and exercising regularly is certainly more accessible to a larger portion of the population who do not have such flexible control over their earnings.

Charlotte Martial Arts Classes Provide Optimal Happiness Benefits

Martial Arts training is a great choice for optimal happiness benefits from exercising. With our group classes, welcoming atmosphere, and convenient class schedules, we fit the mold. The additional benefits of improved stress management only strengthen the results and the availability of Tai Chi, meditation, and Yoga classes for our members provide further support for mental health and wellness.

When it comes to Martial Arts classes in Charlotte, The Peaceful Dragon is the best choice. Start today with a free introductory tour and semi-private lesson. Call today 704-504-8866 or sign up here.

 

Kids Karate in Charlotte Could Mean Kids Kung Fu in Charlotte Instead

Karate vs. Kung Fu. What is the difference? How is a parent to choose?

If you’re looking for a children’s Karate class in Charlotte, you’re finding a long list of choices across a variety of martial arts disciplines. Children’s martial arts covers a large array of styles. For children, Karate and Kung Fu are the most popular choices. But what is the difference between the two, and how can a parent make the best choice for their child?

The Look

Karate and Kung Fu will look different, visually speaking. If you walk into a studio for either discipline, you can observe some clear differences.

Shoes: Kung Fu students wear shoes. Karate students practice in bare feet.

Uniforms: Kung Fu uniforms feature a variety of colors, their tops feature frog buttons, and they wear a colored sash based on skill level.  Karate uniforms are usually a white jacket and pants with a colored belt according to skill level.

Origin

Karate was developed in Japan. The term means “empty hand” in Japanese for the weaponless style of fighting. It started with a martial arts practice centered around hand movements, call “te,” but was later influenced by Chinese martial arts.

Kung Fu is an ancient Chinese martial arts form originating with the Shaolin monks over 1,500 years ago. They focus on the inseparable connection between the mind, body, and spirit. Therefore practice includes physical (martial arts and qigong), mental (meditation), and spiritual components.

Both disciplines include kicking, punching, and defensive maneuvers with both the arms and legs, with emphasis on controlling each movement to focus power and efficacy. Both martial arts also focus on self-discipline, traditions, costumes, rituals, and mental attitude.

How to Choose Between Children’s Karate & Kung Fu

While we can be very biased and tell you to choose Kung Fu, the reality is that it is a personal choice.

We highly recommend you find recommended dojos in your area and inquire about a free introductory class. This trial class will help you meet instructors, understand what the atmosphere and community are like, and see what is involved in the actual martial arts movements themselves. Don’t stop at one. Make sure you visit both a Charlotte Children’s Karate studio and a Kung Fu studio before deciding.

Read our popular story How to Choose a Studio, Instructor and Karate Classes for Kids for more details about making this important decision for your child.

Instill Healthiness in Your Children From a Young Age with More Exercise, More Sleep, and Less Screen Time

You’ve heard about it in the news for years now, how children under a certain age should have limited screen time. It can be hard to know what to do when the options for television, streaming video, and handheld gaming are so plentiful, accessible, and desirable.

In April of this year, the World Health Organization released its guideline for children under five. They say:

• Children under 1 should have ZERO exposure to electronic screens
• Children from 2 – 4 years old should have less than 1 hour of screen time each day

A variety of studies have shown a connection between screen time and developmental delays, behavioral issues, and issues with memory, attention span, social, and communication skills.

They go on to remind us that it is not just about the screens, but about their habits as well. Children under 5 should have more exercise and more sleep to develop healthy habits and decrease chances for obesity and diseases.

Enrolling your child in an extracurricular sport is a great way to keep them active in a fun environment. We absolutely recommend our children’s martial arts classes as not only a great way to get exercise, but with our full character development program, your child will learn that choosing healthy habits is the cool thing to do for better health and happiness.

Limit Screen Time in Older Kids Too

The National Institute of Health (NIH) is in the midst of a study about the effects of screen time on children’s brains. They’ve conducted brain scans of 11,000 nine and ten-year-old kids over the course of 10 years.

Still in progress, preliminary findings seem to suggest a thinning of the cortex (the part of the brain that processes information from the five senses) in children who spend more than 7 hours a day on their screens.

They have also found that children using screens for two or more hours a day have lower scores on language and thinking tests.

The NIH study is still in progress and is also aiming to find out if screens are addictive. A question many a Fortnite and Minecraft parents have asked themselves daily.

Children’s Martial Arts Class Instead of Screen Time

While the research is still being conducted, it is safe to conclude that screens are mostly utilized in a sedentary fashion. And a sedentary lifestyle is bad for everyone’s health, not just children.

If you’re ready to encourage your child to get moving, get off the screens, and develop good habits for a lifelong dedication to healthy living, consider enrolling them in Charlotte kids martial arts classes at The Peaceful Dragon today. Call 704-504-8866 today to schedule your FREE introductory tour, orientation, and first lesson.

Charlotte Martial Arts Classes at The Peaceful Dragon: The Difference is Remarkable

We’ve overheard people say that “all martial arts schools are the same” – but what we know to be true is that none are the same. We strive to differentiate ourselves in several key categories as our goals are not the same as the goals of other martial arts studios. Some might focus on competition and sparring; some might focus on children and after-school programs, still, others are all-in for Tai Chi and meditation practice.

The Peaceful Dragon Offers a Closely Guarded Martial Arts Program for Full Mind and Body Wellness

The difference between martial arts schools is important to note. In fact, we will refer you to other schools if your goals are not aligned with ours. We are not shy about helping our prospective members find the right fit elsewhere as we truly believe martial arts are for everyone, but, The Peaceful Dragon might not be.

Our focus on mind and body wellness is observable by several of our key actions and offerings:

  1. We provide classes in multiple disciplines and give our members full access. Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Meditation, and Yoga are extremely complementary disciplines, and we’d love our members to experience the joy and benefits of them all. Stress management, weight loss, increased strength, and improved balance can be achieved that much better with multiple practices.
  2. Our classes are authentic and traditional.
  3. We’ve built a beautiful 10,000 square foot school on 12 serene wooded acres. When you spend time here practicing martial arts or yoga, the environment plays a role in setting the atmosphere for achieving your goals of lowering stress and finding mental and spiritual wellness.
  4. We offer seminars, roundtables, and discussions about a variety of topics that further member goals to improve mental, spiritual, and physical health. Topics around eating habits, leadership skills, and Zen philosophy are just a few.
  5. We also have special guests such as Shaolin’s former head coach Shi Guolin or 7-time world champion Grandmaster Jeff Smith, and we organize off-site retreats.
  6. Our members advocate health and wellness through shared interest and values. When you’re taking the path of healthy thinking and actions, it is supremely helpful to spend time with those who are not only like-minded but supportive as well.
  7. At the Peaceful Dragon, we are like family. Throughout the year there are many events for members to participate in to further develop those relationships such as our famous Chinese New Year Festival, Quarterly Cleanups, and Member Appreciation Barbecue.
  8. We encourage our interested kung fu and tai chi students to compete in tournaments and competitions. There is something special about meeting up with other martial artists and sharing the skills you’re developing.

If you’re looking for a life change at a state-of-the-art facility with like-minded people and the best instructors, look no further. When it comes to Martial Arts classes in Charlotte, The Peaceful Dragon is the best choice. Start today with a free introductory tour and semi-private lesson. Call today 704-504-8866 or sign up here.

Millennials Say “No” to Stress: Why Tai Chi and Meditation are Rising in Popularity

Tai Chi used to have a reputation as an exercise for “old” people. A fitness routine your grandma and grandpa could do, regardless of their physical ailments. It’s long been known to improve balance and help the aging population avoid falls and remain strong and healthy.

But now. Now, Tai Chi is getting the credit it deserves as an exercise everyone “should” do. Not just an exercise everyone “can” do.

Why Now?

As the world continues to speed up, become more automated, become more digitally connected and less personally connected, stress is mounting. The generation of young people known as Millennials is actively seeking ways to reduce their stress and create a life for themselves that is balanced.

Tai Chi has been getting more media attention over the last ten years due to excellent studies by Harvard and other top institutions.

The attention has resulted in increased interest from Millennials to find the best way to manage stress and reconnect their mind, body, and spirit for improved health and wellness.

With the benefits of Tai Chi being backed by science as not only stress reducing but improving strength and flexibility – it is an easy decision to give Tai Chi classes a try.

Charlotte Tai Chi Classes

Once in class, Millennials have mentioned they enjoy additional benefits from Tai Chi such as increased patience, stronger muscles, the ability to slow down, and the ability to stop, breathe, and re-center themselves during tense situations. Having a single practice that reduces stress and is a good source of exercises is concise and effective which provides additional benefits for today’s busy schedules.

Often dubbed “Moving Meditation,” research about the benefits of Tai Chi continues worldwide. There are ongoing studies testing the benefits of Tai Chi for Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, chronic pain and more. So, while it is gaining momentum for its overall health and wellness benefits, we only see the tip of the ice burg for how Tai Chi transforms the lives of people with specific ailments.

If you’re ready to feel better, improve your health, and keep your career thriving, give The Peaceful Dragon a try today. We offer a free introductory semi-private lesson and tour of the school so you can find out for yourself what all the fuss over Tai Chi is all about. Call today: 704.504.8866

What are the Eight Gates of Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is also known as Tai Chi Chuan or Taijiquan. Built within the name itself is the idea of balance. Starting with the internal balance between the mind and body. Then outwardly, as you use those skills to study and affect your opponent.

Today, Tai Chi is mainly practiced for increased health and wellness. It is known for its accessibility as people of varying abilities benefit from better stress management, improved focus, increased physical health, and more.

The foundation of Tai Chi are the thirteen postures. The postures are comprised of 8 gates (energies) and 5 steps.

The eight gates are

Peng – Ward Off
Lui – Roll Back
Ji – Press
An – Push
Tsai – Pluck or Grasp
Lieh – Split
Chou – Elbow Stroke
Kao – Shoulder Stroke

When practiced with a partner as in push-hands, the gates are utilized to determine the intensity and direction of the opponent’s force to properly counteract it by adjusting actions accordingly. The reaction to their reaction is how to maintain an advantageous position against an opponent if it were an actual physical conflict.

While Tai Chi is a gentle, meditative practice, it is, in fact, extremely valuable in self-defense and combat. The practitioner becomes sensitive to the energy of their opponent and maintains complete control over the body and mind for precise and appropriate responses that are most effective.

Practicing Tai Chi for good health and better stress management are why most people take Tai Chi classes, but if you want to improve your self-defense and combat skills, adding Tai Chi to the mix is beneficial.

Try Tai Chi today with a free semi-private class and introductory tour. Call now! 704.504.8866

 

Why Practice Martial Arts as a Family?

Did you know we now offer a family martial arts program?

The family program is a concept we have been working on for a long time and we are pleased to offer it to our members. The idea is that families truly are looking for activities they can participate in together. Depending on the age of your children, this can be a challenge. Younger kids are too small to participate in some rigorous adult activities, and older children might not share the same interests. This is where our family membership comes in.

The family that kicks together sticks together.

Family Martial Arts for Children

Too often parents drive their child to a class, or an activity, and sit and watch, or read, or wait in the car when they could be utilizing that time to their personal benefit too. By offering a family membership, the parents can now participate in martial arts training with their child. The benefits are immense:

  1. Family Fun!
  2. Younger children enjoy having their parent in class with them while it becomes a way to stay connected to older children who are asserting their independence.
  3. Kids love having permission to punch or kick their parents. (and vice versa)
  4. The parents get to enjoy the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of practicing Kung Fu too.
  5. The family motivates, encourages, and holds each other accountable for practicing.
  6. The whole family can train together so that no one is left on the sideline.
  7. Parents exhibit healthy behavior – teaching their children that lifelong healthy habits are important.

Family Martial Arts for Adults

How does our family program work for the adults? Well, you get a bonus! Not only can you participate in the family class with your child and reap all the benefits listed above, but you can also join any of the adult classes we offer.

Our family classes are offered on afternoons, Saturday mornings, and a few weeknights for those families who need a later class time.

If our family classes sound interesting to you, give the Peaceful Dragon a try today. We offer a free introductory semi-private lesson and tour of the school so you can make the decision that is right for your family. Call today: 704.504.8866