Since 1997, The Peaceful Dragon has grown into one of the largest and most successful martial arts and health arts schools in the country. Both children and adults enjoy our authentic and traditional classes in Kung Fu, Kenpo Karate, Tai Chi, Yoga, Zen Meditation and more.
The Peaceful Dragon has been featured in The Charlotte Observer, Lake Wylie Living, Creative Loafing, Today’s Charlotte Woman, Ft. Mill Times, Natural Awakenings and over a dozen other publications. These articles have praised us for our high-quality instruction and the positive results that our students are achieving.
Our students achieve life-changing positive results because we focus on the inner teachings of traditional martial arts: The development of a clear mind, healthy body and positive spirit.
In keeping with the 1500-year-old traditions of Chinese Kung Fu—the same style that Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan made famous and that gave rise to the popular Kung Fu Panda movies —our school emphasizes the cultivation of:
Of course our Martial Arts Program also teaches kids great self-defense and combat skills. Many of our students are top medal winners every year at one of the world’s largest and most competitive tournaments, the International Kuoshu Kung Fu Tournament held in Baltimore, MD.
But at The Peaceful Dragon combat skills are never regarded as more important than the cultivation and improvement of one’s character. We teach our students never to use or display their self-defense skills unnecessarily.
As head instructor I’m often asked if I’ve ever had to use my martial arts skills. My answer? I use my martial arts skills every day! No, not the fighting part. I haven’t had a physical confrontation outside of the ring since I took up martial arts over 40 years ago.
But each day I enjoy reduced stress, greater relaxation, improved physical fitness, better tolerance and understanding, a more positive and generous spirit, and so much more. And these skills are a direct result of my martial arts training.
Here’s a short Chinese story that we teach our students to help them understand how and when to use their skills correctly:
One day a famous kung fu master was visited by another famous master. The visiting master asked how his friend’s three sons were progressing in their kung fu training. The host decided to let his sons display their skills for the visitor, one at a time starting with the youngest son. The host took a huge clay pot that weighed close to a hundred pounds and hid it propped up above the half-opened door. When the door would open the pot would fall, testing the son’s reflexes and response. The father called out, “Youngest son, I have a visitor I would like you to come meet.”
“Yes father,” replied the youngest son. He came running into the room, swinging the door wide open. The huge pot came crashing down towards him, but just at the last moment the son saw it. He jumped in the air, spun around and hit the pot with a fancy spinning kick, breaking it into dozens of pieces. “Very impressive,” said the visiting master. “Now let’s see how your middle son is doing.”
They cleaned up the pieces of the pot and set a new one atop the door. “Middle son,” called the father, “Please come greet my guest.” “Yes father,” replied the middle son. He too came running into the room, and like the youngest son he saw the pot falling at just the last moment. His response was swift and graceful: He stepped back, caught the large pot in his arms, gently set it down and while bowing said, “I’m please to meet you, sir.”
“Ah,” said the visiting master, “An excellent display of martial arts skill. I hope your youngest son will also achieve that level some day. Now, let us test your eldest son’s skill.”
At that point they put the big clay pot back up atop the door. The father called out, “Eldest son, I have a visitor I want you to come meet.” There was no reply. “Eldest son,” he repeated, “do not be rude. Come greet my guest right now.
Suddenly from behind the two masters a voice responded, “Pleased to meet you, sir.” As the two masters turned around, the eldest son was bowing politely. He had come in through the window, avoiding the pot altogether.
“Now there,” said the visitor, “is a true master in the making.”
This story teaches that fighting and self-defense skills are not to be displayed arrogantly or unnecessarily, and that the wisdom and sensitivity one learns from martial arts training can help avoid conflicts before they even arise.
We teach our students many stories like this one because the children love stories—and they learn valuable lessons that stay with them for life.
“Kenneth was extremely shy when he first started one year ago. He has demonstrated a complete turn around, He is not intimidated by any situation anymore.” —Tara and Kenneth, parents of Kenneth White, 5, Charlotte
“The Peaceful Dragon’s instructors encourage the children to do their best without making them feel inadequate when they can’t do certain aspects. They are friendly to the students and the curriculum challenges them on an ongoing basis. The parents and students who stick with the program seem to have similar qualities. They all seem to be honest, hardworking, with positive attitudes and are dedicated to improving the quality of their lives.” —Sam and Marcia, parents of Melissa Ilardo, Charlotte
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One of the top martial arts programs in the United States
By any measure – curriculum, facilities, quality of students, success of our students – The Peaceful Dragon ranks among the top martial arts schools in the country.
Our Teaching Approach
Though all martial arts schools teach kids how to kick, punch, block and grapple we focus on the inner teachings of martial arts: the development of a strong mind, body and spirit.
I’ve been in the education field almost as long as I’ve been in martial arts, as a school teacher and as an executive with McGraw-Hill and other leading educational companies. I can speak with some authority when I say that your child’s biggest challenge likely doesn’t come from physical threats at school or in the neighborhood (although our martial arts classes will give your child the confidence and skills to cope with that).
The biggest challenge comes instead from battling the forces within. Often your child’s greatest enemy is his or her own lack of confidence, self-discipline and self-esteem.
I’ve watched more than one student start out painfully shy and insecure, eyes glued to the floor, afraid to make a move. As they’re guided and nurtured over the days and weeks and months, as they start to achieve real progress and feel their own strength, they’re like butterflies emerging from cocoons. In fact, two of our most popular young instructors were themselves once hopelessly shy students in our children’s program!
Take a look at this list of just some of the important lessons that your child will learn in our program:
- The difference between discipline and self-discipline, and the secret to getting your child to WANT to do what you want her to do
- Five key actions that every child must know to protect against predators and strangers
- Our six proven steps for shy and timid children to turn into brave and confident go-getters
- Why it never works to just ignore bullies—and the strategies that do work most often
- The 11 Essential Principles for becoming a successful leader in school and in life
- The hidden reason that 1/3 of children struggle to get good grades in school, and a simple strategy that will help your child overcome those struggles
- The behavioral habits that nearly all top athletes share, and how they can become your family’s habits
- The common strategic errors that even many martial artists make in a real self-defense situation—putting their lives or the lives of loved ones at serious risk
- The 12-step Shaolin path to cultivation of greater wisdom and compassion that has been practiced by Zen masters for centuries
- How to turn a disrespectful child into an angel—or at least into a respectful child—in 60 days or less
Optimal Class Structure
Our Family classes are divided by age groups and by level of experience to ensure that each child (and participating parent!) progresses at an optimum pace: Little Dragons classes for 3-6 year olds and their parents; and Young Dragons classes for 7-12 year olds and their parents (13 and up – see our Teen and Adult classes). Classes are conveniently offered throughout the week and weekends for you to choose from.
Top Martial Arts Styles
The styles we teach include China’s 1500-year-old Shaolin Kung Fu which is the grand daddy of East Asian martial arts, as well as Kenpo Karate and grappling. If you’ve seen martial arts action movies with Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, or some of the breathtaking martial arts dramas such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Jet Li’s Fearless then you’re already aware of the power and beauty of Kung Fu.
A recent Discovery Channel documentary on martial arts styles chose Shaolin Kung Fu as the Number One style in existence!
Today nearly every strip mall has a commercial Tae Kwon Do or Karate school, but it remains difficult to find authentic and traditional Kung Fu training with its rich history and true mind, body and spirit emphasis. The Peaceful Dragon is one of the few schools in the Carolinas to offer such genuine Shaolin Kung Fu.
“Jonathan is much more excited about everything since starting classes. He is much more active and has more willingness to do different things and he really enjoys getting to meet new people and make new friends.
“The instructors here are very positive and I think that they are teaching the qualities that our children can take into adulthood.
“It takes a village to raise a child! We like to think of the Peaceful Dragon as our village.”
—LaToya and Nathaniel, parents of Jonathan Butler, 6 Charlotte
“Timmy has a hard time focusing and likes to be the class clown, but he takes this class very seriously and has become more disciplined. Jarreth was shy and easily picked on, but he has learned confidence and improved his self esteem.
“The motivation of The Peaceful Dragon’s instructors is the best. They push just a little past the students’ performance so when the kids accomplish the task they get a great sense of pride and confidence. The instructors also know what each child’s abilities are and help them get to the next level at their own pace. Sifu Eric, Debra, George and everyone are very nice and easy to talk to. Everyone is always wanting to help and make you feel at home.
“Everyone is very kind and like family. I have made several friendships here. I am shy, but the people here are so friendly, you can’t help but make friends.”
—Terri and Randy, parents of Jareth Brown, 12 & Timmy Brown, 10, Charlotte
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FREE Introductory Tour, Orientation and Two Lessons, or call us at 704-504-8866!