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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 & Yoga 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. At our Charlotte martial arts classes, 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 chiTai 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?

eight gates of tai chiTai 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 is the thirteen postures. The postures are comprised of 8 tai chi gates (energies) and 5 steps.

The eight gates of tai chi 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

How Can I Counteract the Negative Effects of Sitting at Work All Day?

It is common for today’s professionals to be required to sit for a majority of their day. Usually at a desk. And while sit/stand desks have provided tremendous benefits and you may even have a treadmill desk, there are still negative health risks that come with sitting and being still for so much of your day.

Serious Health Risks from Sitting All Day

The Mayo Clinic reports obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, metabolic syndrome, and excess body fat around the waste to be some of the negative results of sitting all day. It also increases your risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The Physical Toll

According to Aaptiv.com, sitting all day can also be associated with decreased core (abs and back) strength, stress on your spine (chronic back pain), weak legs and glutes, tight hips, and a stiff neck and shoulders. But all these challenges brought on by sitting at work can be counteracted with specific efforts.

Counteracting the Negative Physical Effects of a Desk Job

Martial Arts, Tai Chi, and Yoga are all extremely beneficial activities for counteracting the quintessential desk job. In fact, a large portion of our members come in from the I.T. and Banking industries. They DO sit all day. And they are seeking to learn an art that is physically and mentally engaging to counteract their career requirements. To counteract sitting all day you need to get active and fit while improving strength and flexibility.  Here is how a Peaceful Dragon membership can help:

Martial Arts Class Makes You Sweat

Practicing Kung Fu at the Peaceful Dragon will make you sweat. You will work hard, you will benefit from cardiovascular exercise and will gain strength and stamina all the while. While actively sweating you will engage your core for stability, your legs in forms and kicks, and your arms, shoulders, and neck in forms, blocks, and punches. Kung Fu is a total body workout to aid in reversing the effect of sitting all day long.

Tai Chi for Strengthening

A key component of Tai Chi is controlled slow movements. Over time, your body gains a great deal of strength, especially in the abdominals and back, and other stabilizing muscles such as your legs. Tai Chi is accessible to people who are out-of-shape, giving them an opportunity to combat pain and other negative health effects of sitting all day at work without the “No Pain, No Gain” intimidation.

Yoga for Stretching and Posture

One of the earliest signs you may experience most noticeably from sitting all day is a change in your posture and the weakening of the core. Is anyone hunched over their desk while reading this right now? Yoga classes are known to strengthen and lengthen the body in all the key areas for ideal posture, which you can then take back to work with you to practice good posture in your desk chair.

Being active and making sure you are fit from head to toe is one of the best ways you can counteract a sitting all day. In addition to classes at the Peaceful Dragon, make sure you take regular breaks from your chair at least every thirty minutes, stand when the work you are doing allows it, take the stairs instead of the elevator and try to fit in some walking where possible throughout your day (during meetings or breaks).

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 make the decision that is right for you. Call today: 704.504.8866

Wellness and Weight Loss for Life at The Peaceful Dragon Martial Arts and Yoga School

Tired of the treadmill?

Have you been on the annual regimen of making weight loss your New Year’s Resolution for as long as you can remember? Are you feeling discouraged when year-after-year you don’t see the results you want, or can’t maintain the progress you make? We’d like to offer you a fresh idea.

Searching for the best martial arts and yoga in Charlotte?

A membership at the Peaceful Dragon can help you change your lifestyle to meet weight-loss goals, gain health and wellness, and enjoy long-term benefits of reduced stress and good health.

And couldn’t we all use that after holiday indulgences?

What You Can Expect at The Peaceful Dragon – Charlotte Yoga, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Meditation

With a membership to the Peaceful Dragon – you’ll enjoy the ability to take part in all of our programs. Choose from Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Yoga, and Meditation. All four disciplines can help you lose weight and reduce stress for long-term health and wellness. And when you combine more than one – the results are amplified.

By offering classes in four related disciplines as well as training space you can use anytime you’d like, we keep it fun, exciting and engaging to keep you committed.

Can Yoga Help You Lose Weight?

Your instructors and classmates will hold you accountable for staying on track and making a habit of coming to class as often as possible. This encouragement will go a long way in keeping you focused on your goals for a healthy life long beyond when your ambition and motivation are at their peak.

Healthy Living Outside of the Studio

All of our classes promote healthy habits outside of class. From our highly-trained instructors to your classmates, healthy living permeates through our studio. You’ll pick up tips about healthy eating, lowering stress, gaining balance between work and your personal life, and positive encouragement for investing time and energy in self-care.

You’ll also feel encouraged to give up vices and bad habits that are holding back your progress towards weight loss and healthy living.

How to Lose Weight with Charlotte Martial Arts and Tai Chi

Our regularly scheduled martial arts, yoga, and meditation classes are complemented with seminars on building a healthy lifestyle. These classes, discussions, and lectures are free to all members and are sure to help you sort the myths from the facts when it comes to healthy eating and living.

We organize special off-campus retreats such as a meditation retreat and a trip to China, where our members can partake in a special educational and immersive getaway. And if you are so inclined, we encourage you to compete in tournaments around the country to show your skills and connect with other like-minded martial arts students.

Try something new for your 2019 weight loss resolution. For effective, long-term weight loss, join The Peaceful Dragon today. Take advantage of ALL of our classes with a single membership and become part of a community who values mind and body wellness. Start now with a free introductory class and tour. 704-504-8866

Tai Chi Class for Stress Management and Stress Reduction

The science is in! Tai Chi is great for stress management and stress reduction.

A recent neurological study began with people who had no meditation experience. Their brains were measured before and after an eight-week meditation regimen.

The post-eight-week brain scans revealed the science behind the stress reduction benefit of tai chi class. They found thickening of gray matter in the parts of the brain responsible for learning, memory, emotional regulation and regulatory neurotransmitter creation, and shrinking of the area of the brain where fear, anxiety, and aggression reside.

What does this mean?

Regular meditation (tai chi, yoga, or meditation) helps you better manage stress.

First, stress management is about your internal reaction to outside stressors. With the increased emotional regulation – a physiological response in your brain to tai chi – you’ll experience better control over your response.

While tai chi classes won’t remove the over-bearing boss in your life, or the busy schedule your family has, it does indeed help you better deal with it.

Tai Chi can reduce stress too!

Secondly, your improved focus, attention span, and memory will improve your ability to avoid creating stressful situations. Improved brain functions can improve work performance, time management, and inter-personal relationships – areas of life where stress can often reside.

Tai Chi classes make you feel better.

Lastly, by experiencing shrinking of the amygdala – where fear, anxiety, and depression reside in the brain – you’ll have an overall improved sense of well-being. By feeling good, you’re better able to react positively to whatever life throws your way. You’ll have more energy, be more active, and participate in more activities that bring you more happiness and joy.

Gaining an overall sense of well-being is often part of a cycle of taking better care of yourself. Feeling good is a great first step in making life changes that make you feel even better. Better eating habits, better lifestyle choices, and more can become yours by taking that first step into a tai chi class.

What makes tai chi a great choice for everyone is its accessibility. Where some may be stuck in a rut of having been too inactive or maybe injured to partake in more rigorous activities, tai chi can be practiced by virtually anyone. It is gentle on joints and focuses on slow steady moves that increase strength and balance while practicing important breathing techniques. Tai Chi truly is moving mediation, all the benefits of meditation as well as increased strength, flexibility, and balance.

If you’re ready to take control over the stress in your life, we recommend you give tai chi at The Peaceful Dragon a try. To help you do just that we are offering a free introductory class and tour, so you can find out if tai chi is a good fit for you. Call today to get started! 704-504-8866