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How Does Martial Arts Help with Anxiety?

Anxiety is a state of uneasiness or worries, typically about an impending event, past trauma, or an uncertain outcome. It is a normal emotion that when triggered during a threatening situation or event is necessary for survival. Anxiety is the correlating feeling one gets when our fight-or-flight response arises in the face of danger.

However, severe anxiety that is out of proportion to the initial trigger is harmful to one’s health. The recurring and intrusive worry can interfere with daily function, cause increased blood pressure, nausea, and other harmful side-effects. It is important to control the level and duration of anxiety to safeguard your health and wellness.

The regular practice of martial arts is a great way to manage anxiety.

Managing Anxiety with Martial Arts Training

Authentic Kung Fu training has always been about so much more than the physical practice. A discipline built on the mind and body connection – mental strength and perseverance have always been among the many benefits of martial arts training.

While discipline and self-control might be what you immediately think of, the mindfulness of martial arts practice itself forces you to be mentally present. That required presence prohibits the wandering of the mind. Anxiety can’t thrive in a mind that is focused on the here and now. A mind that is focused on precise posture, movements, and breathing.

Martial Arts classes also provide the physical outlet delivering several mental health benefits.

First, the act of aerobic exercise stimulates your body to produce endorphins. The feel-good hormone, endorphins lift your mood and energize you.

Secondly, the physical outlet of releasing the tension, stress, and anxiety of the day in a class where you can kick, punch, and scream in a safe and supportive environment is invaluable. After class, you’ll feel the day’s worries have weakened and your outlook will be clearer.

Cumulative Benefits

The mental strength and fortitude, the focus and mindfulness, and the regular release of endorphins achieved in martial arts class will spill over into the rest of your days and weeks improving your ability to manage anxiety as it presents itself. With time, your fight-or-flight response will require different, more appropriate triggers and your general anxiety will decrease.

We recommend children and adults alike try our martial arts classes to help lower anxiety.

If you’d like to give it a try, start today with a free introductory tour and semi-private lesson. 704-505-8866

10 Ways to Ease Holiday Stress that You May Not Have Considered

Stress is a fact of life for most Charlotte residents. While levels of stress vary, the causes of stress are plentiful. Work, traffic, kids, traffic, money, traffic, personal relationships, and more. The most wonderful time of the year happens to also come with additional stress for some.

Holiday stress is no joke, as our normal schedules are altered to fit in holiday parties, visits with family, volunteering for our favorite charities, shopping for gifts, school events, and more! Not to mention the financial stress that can occur in an effort to purchase said gifts or travel to visit out-of-town families.

It is important for your health to combat the stress you may feel from the holidays with active stress management. WebMD notes that stress can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, elevated blood pressure, upset stomach, and even chest pain. Check out these ideas for helping you manage your stress during the busy holiday season:

Time to Yourself

Schedule some time for yourself to unwind. Read a book, watch a movie, listen to music, take a bath. Spend some time alone to re-center yourself and get a break from the chaos of the season.

Sunlight

Spend time outdoors or near a bright window daily. Sunlight is an important factor in relieving the effects of the cold, cloudy winter weather.

Regular exercise

Increase serotonin production and let off some steam with regular exercise. The holidays are a time of year it can be easy to set fitness aside. It is important to make exercise a priority. We recommend trying an exercise with additional stress-reducing qualities such as Yoga, Tai Chi, and Martial Arts.

 

Limit Comfort Food

Don’t over-indulge in comfort foods. Throwing your balanced diet out of whack with a large intake of caffeine, sugar, or alcohol can exacerbate the negative effects of stress on the body. Everything in moderation.

Meditation

Again, WebMD promotes meditation as an effective form of stress management in as little as 10 minutes per day! It can decrease anxiety and improve cardiovascular health – a benefit all year long!

Hoku – Pressure Point Relief

The fleshy area between your thumb and pointer finger, known as the “Hoku point” or “hand valley point” is a pressure point for stress relief in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Squeeze it for 30 seconds and take a deep breath to calm yourself during stressful moments.

Forget Perfection

Focus on the people in your life rather than worrying about maintaining a perfectly tidy home, doing it all, or cooking every single thing from scratch. This is the season for enjoying each other, let go of the small stuff, and you can better enjoy the holidays.

Don’t overschedule

Say no to some events. You are not obligated to be at every party. Keep your focus on the events and people closest to your heart to ensure you maintain balance in your life.

Be generous

Be generous with compliments, service, and gratitude towards family, friends, and coworkers to boost your mood and lower your stress during the holidays. This can also apply on a broader level in volunteering time to charity.

Walk it off

The rhythm of a walk can be calming for your brain. Take a walk to decrease anxiety and improve sleep. (A two-for, as better sleep, also improves stress management too!)

If you’d like to add stress-relieving exercise to your routine during this holiday season, start today with a free introductory tour and semi-private lesson. 704-505-8866

Traditional Kung Fu & TCM Remedies for Injuries and Illness

We are not medical professionals, nor should any of this be taken as medical advice above your doctor’s recommendations.

In our school, we discuss and share Kung Fu and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as it relates to common remedies for injuries and illness. At a recent Mastery Roundtable, we discussed how practicing Kung Fu can benefit illnesses and injuries in a variety of ways, as well as popular TCM remedies.

How Does Kung Fu and Martial Arts Help Heal and Prevent Injury and Illness?

The general health benefits of practicing martial arts are plentiful. While some are specific to martial arts, others are secondary as a benefit of regular exercise. The cardiovascular workout and strength-building moves are great for heart health, high blood pressure prevention, lowering cholesterol, increasing lung capacity, strengthening muscles for bone structure support, weight management, and improved diabetic conditions.

Optimizing your metabolic function boosts your immune system! Aerobic exercise stimulates the natural production of antibodies and reduces inflammation. These benefits make you less susceptible to colds and flu.

Since Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Qigong focus very closely on movement and functionality of the body, they all have proven themselves effective against chronic pain, especially in bones and joints. Practitioners will increase mobility, improve posture, and gain a better range of motion. The major and minor muscles strengthened in Martial Arts training are much more widespread than in other popular forms of exercise, maximizing the benefits for everyday movements.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Health

The ancient healing system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) features a variety of methods and theories to address both mental and physical wellness. As we apply TCM to physical illness and injury, we explore the four main healing methods.

The healing properties of food are embraced entirely by TCM. What you put in your body every single day supports or doesn’t support your health and wellness. Beyond calories and nutritional content, TCM knows the essence of each food and uses the Five Element theory mapping the interrelationship of all things. The theory assigns specific foods and tastes with each season of the year. Our bodies benefit from feeding them the right foods in the right season. Each food’s essence also heals particular organs, so TCM practitioners may prescribe specific foods for specific ailments. Eating for Healing.

Herbal therapy has been utilized in healing for thousands of years. Throughout time, TCM has identified and classified how thousands of herbs affect the body, mind, and spirit. TCM uses a combination of various herbs to create healing substances that achieve a specific objective. With thousands of years of knowledge, and thousands of herbs to combine, herbal remedies are available for many ailments and illnesses.

Acupuncture is probably one of the most well-known TCM methods. The theory behind acupuncture is that the needles are used at key acupoints to relieve energy (Qi) blockages. The Qi in your body flows through invisible paths known as meridians. Unblocking meridians with acupuncture needles restores the internal balance and harmony within your body. Acupuncture can be used for relief from a variety of pains, injuries, and illnesses.

Acupressure is very similar to acupuncture, but it utilizes hand techniques at specific acupoints and meridians to unblock energy flow. Acupressure is more popular than acupuncture for sports injuries and sprains and can be just as effective.

When it comes to practicing Kung Fu and Traditional Chinese Medicine for various preventative and healing measures, we encourage you to always check in with your physician first. It is important to coordinate efforts and ensure any potential risks with other medications or existing ailments are avoided.

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.