Gimme-Some-Sole is our annual community service project, giving rain boots and shoe drive to help underprivileged kids in our community.

Each year Grandmaster Azad, and his students help hundreds of school-age children in Butte county with sturdy new shoes before the rainy season starts.

The public can donate new shoes of all sizes for School-age girls and boys throughout October. 

All donations can be dropped off at:
Azad’s Martial Arts Center
313 walnut street suite 150 Chico ca. 95928, Monday’s- Friday’s 9-12:30 pm and 3-6 pm.

This year’s sponsors are:
Action News 12/24, Chico Enterprise-Record,, and Chico Noon Exchange Club.
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Chico EnterpriseRecord News Azads Martial Arts Center wins national Make a Difference Day award

By: Mary Nugent, Chico Enterprise-Record
POSTED: 05/18/17, 11:45 AM PDT | UPDATED: ON 05/18/2017
Chico >> Last fall, Farshad Azad decided to make “Gimme Some Sole” a project for Make a Difference Day. The project provided shoes and rainboots to elementary-age children at McManus School and the Torres Shelter.

Azad was surprised to hear Gimme Some Sole was one of 10 National Honorees chosen by the National Make a Difference organizers to receive a $10,000 grant for the nonprofit of their choice.

He chose the Chico Community Shelter Partnership, which manages the Torres Shelter. He was excited to tell the news to Brad Montgomery, executive director at the shelter, which serves families as well as homeless adults.
“I was so surprised by this award ... I did not do it all myself. I had a lot of help. My students and staff here, volunteers from the community, a lot of people were interested, donated and helped.”

Azad, owner of Azad’s Martial Arts Family Center, realized the specific need for shoes when he attended a school principals’ meeting last fall. “Kids come to school in shoes with holes, or in flip-flops in the middle of winter ... And it turned out to be a wet winter.”

Tina Keene, principal at McManus, said Azad’s help for her school was beneficial. “Regardless of economic background, kids go through shoes. They’re often too small, or hand-me-downs, or falling apart. Soles split, they get wet in the rain,” she said.

Gimme Some Sole’s results were more than Keene imagined. “At the end of October, Farshad called and said I should have a couple of kids with me to meet him in the parking lot. His car was full of shoes, gently used to brand new, from private people to Pay Less Shoe Source. And lots of boots, and that was just the beginning. We had enough, with some left over for next year.”

Besides Keene at McManus, Azad also worked with Brad Montgomery, executive director of the Torres Shelter.

“This award is a really big deal for Farshad, because literally thousands and thousands of people participate in Make a Difference Day, and only 10 in the entire country were acknowledged with this award,” said Montgomery.

“We were very pleased when they said this national recognition comes with $10,000. Farshad wanted the money to go to families, so we decided to earmark these funds to go to 10 family members. We spend about $1,000 per person here.”

Montgomery also said the Gimme Some Sole shoe drive is really an extension of what Azad does frequently. “He has been doing things like this, year after year. He does a lot for us and for other groups.”

Azad realized a connection to his own family during this year’s project. “My grandfather had orphanages in Iran, and he used to collect all kinds of things for kids there. There were a lot of poor kids, and he would load up a truck full of stuff.

“I was talking to my mom about Gimme Some Sole, and she cried — not because of the award, but because what I’m doing is similar to what my grandfather did. I dedicated this award to his spirit.”

Contact reporter Mary Nugent at 896-7764.

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Consider Tai Chi for Back Pain

Evidence suggests these gentle, meditative moves can help alleviate aches and lift your spirits
By Teresa Carr
March 12, 2017
New guidelines released by the American College of Physicians suggest that an ancient Chinese martial art can be an effective defense against back pain.
Tai chi combines slow, gentle movements with deep breathing and mental focus. It’s one of several nondrug measures—including yoga, chiropractic care, and massage—that the new guidelines recommend back-pain sufferers try before resorting to over-the-counter or prescription pain medications.

A new, nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of more than 3,500 adults who've had back pain in the last three years confirms that tai chi helps provide relief. Nearly 90 percent of respondents who used tai chi for back pain (or yoga or a similar exercise) found it helpful. In comparison, only 64 percent of people thought the advice and treatment they got from a primary-care physician or orthopedic surgeon gave them relief.

“Tai chi helps with back pain in several ways,” says Benjamin Kligler, M.D., national director of the Integrative Health Coordinating Center at the Veteran’s Health Administration. “It strengthens the muscles in your abdomen and pelvic area that are crucial to supporting the lower back; it improves your balance and flexibility; and it makes you more aware of your posture when you sit, stand, and walk.”

This gentle exercise is sometimes called “moving meditation” and the mindfulness aspects are also key to deriving benefits. You are encouraged to focus on your breathing and visualize the movement of energy or “chi” through your body.

“Stress and tension worsen pain,” says Kligler. “Any practice such as yoga or tai chi that induces relaxation and gives you some mental distance from your physical problems can help with pain.”

A Long-Term Strategy to Protect Your Back
The research used as a basis for the new guidelines involved chronic pain patients, whose pain lingered for three months or longer.

Tai chi can also help alleviate shorter-term pain as well, says Kligler, but be aware that it takes at least a few weeks to start seeing results. “Massage or acupuncture may provide more immediate relief,” he says.

When you first hurt your back is probably not the best time to start a new class in tai chi. If you are familiar with the moves, it's okay to do a few of them at home if it's comfortable for you. Otherwise, Kligler recommends just doing some gentle stretches and walking, even if it’s just around your living room. After two to four weeks, or as soon as you can stand and walk reasonably comfortably, you can try out a class.

Even if back pain recedes on its own, Kligler still encourages patients to check out tai chi if it interests them. “Back pain tends to recur unless you take steps such as strengthening your back and improving your posture,” he says. “Tai chi is a great prevention strategy.”

A Tai Chi Success Story
Thomas Sells, of Culver City, Calif., first injured his back carrying heavy packs as a combat soldier in the Vietnam War. “By 2009, my low-back pain had become so bad I could barely walk,” he says. “My surgical prognosis wasn’t great, but that was beginning to look like my only option.”

That’s when staffers at the local Veteran’s Affairs (VA) facility persuaded him to join a twice-weekly class in tai chi. “Three months in, I started to get more fluid and had far less pain,” says Sells. “I carried myself differently and began to view obstacles differently. I became calmer and less stressed.”

Today, at the age of 72, Sells studies with a grandmaster practitioner of tai chi and leads classes. Most days he describes his pain as mild to nonexistent. He’s added other exercises to his routine, including Zumba classes and hiking, but credits tai chi as the core element of his recovery.
“It’s given me back my life,” says Sells.
If you’ve recently suffered a back injury, it’s a good idea to get checked out by your doctor before participating in any exercise class, says Linda Huang.
If you try tai chi for back pain, Huang advises that you talk to your instructor before class about what hurts. He or she can advise you on how to make the moves comfortable for you. And listen to your body. “Tai chi’s slow, gentle movements are very safe, but if certain postures causes tension or pain, don’t do them,” says Huang.

To get the most benefit, you should be doing the movements at least twice weekly for about 45 minutes to one hour says Huang. If the class only meets once a week, she advises practicing on your own between sessions. Ask your instructor if he or she can recommend an online video or a DVD that you can follow at home.

Finding About Tai Chi Classes:
Azad's Martial Arts Center (313 Walnut Street Suite 150 Chico Ca. 95928,, 530-892-AZAD) offers in person and online Tai Chi and energy classes 5 days a week in Chico California for all age groups. 

Please take advantage of our exclusive short trial Introductory Course. This program allows you to test drive the program first hand and experience the great benefits of Tai Chi training at Azad's. Grandmaster Azad (Sifu) is a 10th Degree Black Belt with over 45 years of experience in teaching martial arts such as Tai Chi and Qigong.

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Chico Pet Owners and Pets Safety vs. Coronavirus!

Can animals get the new coronavirus?
To date, very few animals have been reported to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 worldwide, and most have been in animals that had close contact with a person with COVID-19. We are still learning about this virus, but we know that it is zoonotic and it appears that it can spread from people to animals in some situations. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by SARS-CoV-2. 
The first case of an animal testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the United States was a tiger with a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. Samples from this tiger were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed signs of respiratory illness. Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus. This investigation is ongoing. USDA is working with CDC and other human and animal health partners to monitor this situation and will continue to provide updates as information becomes available. We encourage anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 to isolate themselves from other people and animals, including pets, during their illness until we know more about how this virus affects animals. People who are showing symptoms of the virus and who must be around animals while sick, should take proper precautions (as outlined by CDC) to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

Will animals be tested for coronavirus?
This is an evolving situation, however, CDC and USDA do not recommend routine testing of animals for this virus at this time. Public health and animal health officials may decide to test certain animals that are showing signs and that are known to have been exposed to the virus out of an abundance of caution. The decision to test will be made collaboratively between local, state or federal public health and animal health officials. The guidance is available online at: Who will collect the samples from animals? 
After the decision is made to test, the state animal health officials will designate a the state animal health official(s) will identify the appropriate person to collect the sample. to collect the sample using appropriate personal protective equipment and sample collection methods. State animal health laboratories can conduct animal testing, but any positive samples would need to be confirmed through additional testing by USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL). Document Issued/Accurate as of: April 22, 2020 Performing animal testing should not reduce the availability of tests for people. Testing performed on animals may be based on the published tests used in people, however, reagents are available that are not required for testing people. 
The NVSL and National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) laboratories are using reagents for testing animals that are not required for testing in people. What should I do if I think my animal has the new strain of coronavirus? Consult your veterinarian with any questions about your animal’s health. Make sure to tell your veterinarian if your animal has been around a person with COVID-19, and if your animal is showing any signs of illness. Call ahead and arrange the veterinary hospital or clinic visit. If you are sick with COVID-19 and your pet becomes sick, do not take your pet to the veterinary clinic yourself. Call your veterinarian and let them know you have been sick with COVID-19. 
Some veterinarians may offer telemedicine consultations or other alternate plans for seeing sick pets. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and determine the next steps for your pet’s treatment and care. Veterinarians who believe an animal should be tested will contact state animal health officials, who will work with public and animal health authorities to decide whether samples should be collected and tested. Members of the public or licensed rehabilitators should contact the state wildlife agency about potential cases in wildlife that may warrant testing. The state wildlife agency will consult with the state public health and animal health officials for a decision on whether testing should proceed. 

Can I test my animal through a private veterinary laboratory? We recommend working through your local, state or federal public health and animal health officials to determine whether testing is appropriate. USDA is aware of private veterinary laboratories that are conducting SARS-CoV-2 testing on animal samples. Any positive samples require confirmation testing at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories. In accordance with international reporting guidelines, collecting additional samples and background information may be required to complete confirmatory testing of cases from private laboratories. 

Additional resources: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the best source for information about COVID-19 in people and risks to animals. CDC information about COVID-19 in animals may be found at There are several additional resources for information about this virus in animals: U.S. Department of Agriculture - The World Organization for Animal Health –

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Covid-19 Relief Acts

Last updated April 22, 2020.
As of April 16, 2020, funding for CARES Act PPP loans has been depleted.
As of April 22, 2020, more PPP funding is on the way! Last night, Congress passed a bill that provides an additional $331 billion for the now-depleted PPP program. The House votes on the bill next (as soon as today), to be signed into law by the president shortly after.
It's being reported that PPP applications and funding could reopen as soon as Friday!
The $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on Friday, March 27. 
The legislation includes a number of business-boosting relief programs, the largest of which is the Small Business Association's (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.
As of Wednesday night (April 15), the SBA is reporting that 1,562,000 PPP applications have been approved, totaling over $329 billion.
The good news is that loan applications have officially been approved by the SBA, and money should be in the accounts of more than 1.5 million small business owners shortly.
One PPP loan tracker puts the total estimated loan disbursement figure at $16.4 billion as of Wednesday night. Stories have begun to emerge of small business owners receiving funds already, such as:
  • A dental office in Iowa received $114,000 on April 13
  • A snack food supplier in New Jersey received $83,700 on April 10
  • A fitness equipment seller in Texas received $412,000 on April 10
Hopefully, if you've applied, money will be deposited into your business account in the coming days as approved loans are processed.
If you'd like to read up on these loans and other relief available through the $2 trillion CARES Act, continue reading...
The text of the bill can be read on the official Congress website right now.
Here's what we know about how this will affect small businesses, and how to take action asap.
So far, reporting on the bill indicates that it includes:
  • $349 billion for small business loans 
  • $50 billion for companies who retain employees on payroll to cover 50% of workers' paychecks
  • SSA payroll tax deferment (6.2%) for companies
  • $500 billion in loans for larger distressed companies
  • $130 billion for hospital funding
  • $150 billion for state and local governments 
The CARES Act primarily provides relief to small business owners through SBA loans. There are essentially two types of loans. We created a helpful chart to breakdown each loan, their differences and what those differences might mean to you...

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History of Tai Chi Chuan

A Brief History of Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi (also pronounced Taiji) is a system of Chinese internal martial arts created around 14th Century by a man named Cheng. There are a few different schools of Tai Chi Chuan known as Chen, Woo, Sun, Yang and Shaolin Styles. These systems have given life to many smaller branches around the world. In 1800 Yang, Ban-Hou altered the form taught to him by his father, Yang Lu-Chan to protect it from Manchurian rulers. Yang, Ban-Hou taught the original form to one of his disciples Wang, Chiao-Yu who later taught the original system to Kuo, Lien-Ying (1895-1984). After inheriting the lineage from Wang, Kuo applied his lifelong Shaolin, Hsing Yi Chuan, and Pakua Chuan experiences elevating his Tai Chi system to another level. He became the undefeated martial arts champion of China and an undisputed master of Chinese internal arts and the foremost authority in the Chin school which offers the closest blend of soft and hard style of martial arts. This system became a major combative course with the United States secret service and various branches of military. Kuo, Lien-Ying taught the system in its full original form with his new fighting system to Lenny Vavalette (1922-2011). Lenny Vavalette brought a new advance level, and fighting spirit, training regiments, internal Chi building, and musculoskeletal conditioning to the system making it a more advance style of Shaolin Tai Chi Chuan. 

The Great Grandmaster Lenny Vavalette, also known as “Sifu Lenny” was one of the highest rank Tai Chi Chuan masters and a respected authority of the system. He received his training from China’s martial arts legends such as China’s all-time undefeated boxing champion and undisputed master of Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing Yi, and Pakua Chang, Sifu Kuo Lien-Ying, Hong Kong’s all-time Kung Fu and Tai Chi Chuan Sifu Gey Chang, and the Chinese Kung Fu legend and the President of Northern Kung Fu Association, Sifu Y.C. Wong of San Francisco to name a few. 

Sifu Lenny’s extensive teaching and understanding of multiple systems of martial arts have allowed him to be one of the foremost authorities of Tai Chi Chuan and Chinese martial arts. Sifu Vavalett was also an expert in the arts of Chi Kung, Wu Gong, and Tai Ket Kuen. He received most of his training in China, Hong Kong and then in the United States. Sifu Vavalette’s background outside of being a Great martial arts Grandmaster included being a Jade Miner, a United States Air Force Pilot, a leading Air Force Acrobatic Instructor, and a successful Businessman. 

In mid-1980’s when Farshad Azad was a Master’s student at California State University, Chico he met the Great Grandmaster Sifu Lenny Vavalette. Right away Sifu recognized Mr. Azad’s talents and knowledge of martial arts and fighting systems and started sharing martial arts experiences. Mr. Azad an already accomplished martial artist and a martial arts black belt master in multiple arts was accepted by Sifu Lenny as a personal student. 

Azad began learning Sifu’s Tai Chi system as well as special combative methods directly under Grandmaster’s teachings since then. Soon they conducted multitudes of martial arts demonstrations all across Northern California together. Master Azad created a martial arts retreat and specialized outdoor martial arts training camp known as “Warrior Training Camp” at Sifu’s property in the mountains where they had a large number of students of all ages show up annually to train in various systems of martial arts and get empowered mentally and physically. A large number of martial arts Masters and Grandmasters from many different Chinese, Japanese, Okinawan, Korean and Southeast Asian systems were also invited as guest speakers and instructors. 

At age 86 Sifu Vavalette decided that it was time for him to transfer his knowledge, authority and the true understanding of his Tai Chi Chuan to Grandmaster Farshad Azad. An intense training regimen began for Master Azad. Averaging 7-8 hours of one on one lessons per day where Sifu and Master Azad would train at any given time. 

“I had to be ready at all times. I would get a call at any given time of the day to train. Even at 3 am Sifu would call to meet him right away for hours of highly intense training in the streets, in the hills of northern California or at the dojo.” Said Mr. Azad. 
Training was conducted anywhere and anytime and under any circumstance when Sifu would call on Master Azad. “After many decades of training in various systems of martial arts, 21 years of which was also training with Sifu Vavalette, I once again felt like a beginner student and learned the true essence of Sifu’s moves and techniques that he had kept very close to his heart. Hundreds of hours of intense internal and external martial arts training with Sifu was simply exhilarating and challenging mentally and physically. But also a true joy and honor for me”, Said Azad.

 Sifu Valvalette promoted Master Azad to the rank of Grandmaster “Sifu”, and his only “Successor” to his style of Tai Chi Chuan system. Master Azad was also charged with the responsibility to promote the art at all levels and to maintain the true secrets and essence of the art as kept by the Great Grandmaster Lenny Vavalette and transfer it to the next in line of lineage.  The tradition of passing the flag to the next Grandmaster is not an easy one but an important one for all martial arts Great Grandmasters. 
Sifu Vavalette had predicted that he would pass away on December 25th, 2011. 

That is exactly what happened. Sifu passed away on the morning of Christmas day, December 25th, 2011 at Oakmont Retirement Center, leaving his art to the new 10th-degree black belt, “Sifu Grandmaster” of the system, Farshad Azad who resides in Chico, California in the United States. 

“I am very proud and honored to have been promoted to the rank of Grandmaster Sifu by the late Great Grandmaster Lenny Vavalette and to be the torch bearer of his system. However, I am even more touched and honored by Sifu calling me his “true brother” and “true friend”. I will miss Sifu, his laughter, his teachings, his humor, his candidness, his love, and presence, as well as his friendship forever and I, hope I join his spirit someday so we can once again practice martial arts together. His energy is with me every day and I am grateful for being so lucky as to have a friend and brother like Sifu Lenny”, Grandmaster Sifu Azad.

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Now Offering Series of Selfdefense Classes for Adults Teens and Kids in Chico Personal Defense Training (PDT)

ADULT PDT is entirely FREE* and open to the general public. PDT is designed to make students and the public more aware, prepared, and ready for any hostile situation anywhere.
NEW: Teens PDT (ages 13-19) and Kids PDT (ages 8-12)!

One week of each month Azad's Martial Arts have dedicated a one-hour class Monday-Friday from 3:00pm-4:00pm for their self defense training. Teens can now learn and train 5 days a week at Azad's Martial Arts Family Center. The first session runs February 20-25, call Azad's at 530 892-2923 to register.

Each ADULT PDT session is twice a week for three weeks and will be offered every month. Classes will be held at Azad’s Martial Arts Center located at 313 Walnut Street Suite 150 in Chico.
>>> No prior experience is needed. <<<

Taking pre-registration for 2018 CLASSES*

PDT will address basic defense against common attacks. You will learn:
  1. Cutting edge personal safety tips for men and women known as Safety Awareness Skills (SAS).
  2. The single most important step you must take to handle an attacker.
  3. The fastest get-away techniques from any type of grab or hold.
  4. Ten most effective disabling targets you must know.
  5. Six defensive skills that can make a life or death difference when under attack.
  6. No nonsense, simple, street-proven techniques you must know.
*Pre-registration is required. For more information please visit our website at or visit us at our Facebook page, Azad’s Martial Arts. There is limited space, so to guarantee your spot please contact Azad’s Martial Arts Center today at (530) 892-AZAD (2923) or 896-0777.

 PDT is Supported by the following Local Organizations:
Chico Police Department | Office of Diversity & Inclusion at Chico State | Butte College Safe Places | Stonewall Alliance Center | Catalyst Domestic Violence Services | North Valley Community Foundation | Chico Unified School District | Butte County Sheriff's Office | Chico State Safe Places | Downtown Chico Business Association | Butte College

PDT is Sponsored by the following Businesses Partners:
Azad's Martial Arts Family Center | Mix 95.1 | 103.5 The Blaze | News-Talk 1290 KPAY | Radio Mexico 97.7 KHHZ | Deer Creek Broadcasting | Chico Enterprise Record | CBS TV12 | NBC TV24 | The CW | Telemundo | Action News Now

CLICK HERE to view original KPAY1290 NewsTalk article!

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Azads Martial Arts Wins Make A Difference Award

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Martial Arts World News Article

By editor - January 10, 2019018 Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter
Martial Arts World News magazine is your #1 source for Martial Arts Business News
We are profiling martial arts schools and organizations of all types from all over the World; whether small, moderate or large, 20 students or thousands of students; independent schools or organizations, regardless of style or demographics. will keep you up to date on Martial Arts Business News, Martial Arts Marketing Systems, Martial Arts Instruction Strategies, Tips, Tactics and much more! If you would like to have your school or organization featured in the MAWnews Magazine, call 1-800-275-1600 or visit
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29th Annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade

Thanksgiving Basket Brigade is a program at Azad's Martial Arts Center created by Grandmaster Azad over two decades ago to help deserving local families with kids. Each year Grandmaster Azad and his students help over 200 families in Butte County with a gift basket of Thanksgiving Meal. Each gift basket provides dinner for up to 15 people. A basket carries a complete Thanksgiving meal with items such as Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Pie, Stuffing, etc.

General public is invited to take part in various aspects of this event. These are a few ways you can assist:
  1. Financial donation. You may sponsor a gift basket for a family at only $40. Every dollar helps the program to help those in need.
  2. Put us in touch with a family in need. To qualify a family MUST:
  3. Be a first time recipient of the basket.
  4. Be in financial need.
  5. Have school age children.
  6. Live locally in Chico area.
  7. Names should be submitted to Azad's Martial Arts Center by November 10th.
  8. Enlist as a driver to deliver a few dinner baskets on the night of the event on November 24th, 2020. You must register to be a volunteer driver by November 10th.
  9. Have your company become a business sponsor of the event and get the company logo on our social media platforms, etc.

This year's sponsors are: Chico Enterprise-Record, Deer Creek Stations: KPAY, KMXI, The Blaze, KZAP, Concourse Elite, Stratti, KNVN TV, Action News, CW, Telemundo, Reptile Natural Stones, Chico Noon Exchange Club, KPAY Sport, Jeff & Kim Dufour
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Azads Tai Chi in Chico Can Reduce Your Chances of Falls By 50!

Azad's Martial Arts Center has been teaching people of all ages methods to become stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. One of the methods Grandmaster Azad has used to bring strength back to seniors is through our ever popular Tai Chi program at Azad's. This program has proven to be effective for thousands of people who have trained at Azad's. Perhaps the number one issue we all face at higher age is prevention of falling down. Our Tai Chi program will strengthen your entire body without any impact to your joints. You will also learn to correctly fall if you ever lose balance so you minimize potential damage to your body. You will be training on Olympic Training Mats at Azad's. Your safety is of number of priority to us as we build your strength and balance back. Here is a great scientific study proving that programs like our Tai Chi at Azad's can reduce potential of your falls by 50%! 
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Azads Tai Chi Saves Students Life!

Azad’s Tai Chi Saves Life!

"Last Saturday, while at the theater, I had a heart attack.  Massive chest pains that spread up to my face. I told my husband that we needed to go to the hospital.  As soon as I could walk, he got me to our car, and took me to Enloe Emergency. In the car I remembered the triangular breathing that Mr. Gantt had taught us in Tai Chi, and did it for the entire car ride, and continued in the ER.  They kept me over the weekend and ran a chemical stress test, which makes your heart race like crazy, so again I used Triangular breathing.  
They found no damage to my heart, thank goodness. My cardiac doctor aid that the Tai Chi breathing likely saved me from further complications and praised the practice highly.  

"I am so grateful to be a part of this [Azad’s Martial Arts] program. Thank you"

Carol Kelly
Azad's Martial Arts Tai Chi Student

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Action News Now Video Chico Students Learn Tai Chi

Chico elementary school students take a lesson in Tai Chi

Students at Citrus Elementary School in Chico had an unusual lesson this afternoon.

Posted: Dec. 8, 2017 4:49 PM
Updated: Dec. 8, 2017 4:49 PM
Posted By: Heidi Rene
Students at Citrus Elementary School in Chico had an unusual lesson this afternoon.

Martial arts grandmaster Farshad Azad spent about 45 minutes teaching 4th and 5th graders the art of Tai Chi.

The school's counselor has been working with the students all year teaching them to be mindful of each other and less self-centered.

In today's exercise the kids learned movements and breathing techniques in what's called the slowest of all the martial arts.

Azad says he would like to do more lessons like this in the future.

He said his goal is to create some sort of a sustainable program where the kids would benefit from very simple things that are within their grasp, within their cognitive realization, so they can change the course of their life.

After the lesson Azad spent time showing the kids other forms of martial arts and had a question and answer time.
 CLICK HERE to view original Action News Now article!

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Solid As A Rock Azads Martial Arts Rock Solid Teen Program

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Heart and Sole Martial Arts Teacher Rallies Community of Chico to Collect Shoes and Rain Boots for Kids in Need

By Points of Light Staff
October 23, 2017

Farshad Azad
Points of Light Number: 
Chico, California

Farshad Azad is today’s Daily Point of Light Award honoree, and one of the winners of the 2016 Make A Difference Day Awards. Each year, TEGNA recognizes 14 outstanding leaders of Make A Difference Day projects, awarding $140,000 in grants that are donated to the charities related to the winning projects. Learn more about Make A Difference Day and register a 2017 project at

Farshad Azad (back row, right in photo) and student participants in the "Gimme Some Sole" shoe drive deliver donations to John McManus Elementary School in Chico, California, after Make A Difference Day 2016.

Each year, Farshad Azad meets with 29 public school principals, representing nearly 14,000 students in Chico, California, to see what the kids need most. The answer last year: shoes.

Farshad, who is the grandmaster at Azad’s Martial Arts Center in Chico, responded with a month-long donation drive – which he called “Gimme Some Sole” – to collect new and gently used shoes and rain boots for children from low-income families, whose flip flops, beat-up sandals and hand-me-down shoes would offer no protection or warmth from cold and rainy winter weather. He recruited students from his martial arts center to participate, along with their family and friends, members of the community, and worked out a partnership with the local Payless Shoe Source. The initiative included Make A Difference Day 2016, when more than 50 pairs of shoes and rain boots were donated in a single day. In the end, shoes and rain boots were donated to local elementary school students and homeless children.

In recognition of his efforts on Make A Difference Day, Farshad was awarded a $10,000 grant that he donated to the Chico Community Shelter Partnership, , which manages the Torres Community Shelter – a little extra money to do a lot more good for homeless families in the community. We asked Farshad to tell us more about last year’s project and what he has planned for Make A Difference Day this year.

What was the inspiration behind the “Gimme Some Sole” project?

Every winter I get calls from various community members, teachers, counselors or principals to help purchase a pair of shoes or rain boots for a child from a low-income family, whose feet are soaked in rainwater due to damaged or worn out shoes.

Last year, I attended a meeting of school principals in our district. I asked the group what would be their most urgent need for kids. Tina Keene, principal at John McManus Elementary School, told me that they needed a lot of rain boots for kids. In another meeting, with the executive director of Torres Community Shelter, I found out that they also needed rain boots and good shoes for homeless children in our community.

Thinking about young children and their health and safety became the inspiration for me to choose it as the 2016 Make A Difference Day project. So, I called it Gimme Some Sole! The idea was to not only collect much-needed shoes, but to encourage the community to reach into their own heart and share their love and compassion with disadvantaged kids in Chico.

Donation bins at Azad's Martial Arts Center, where students and community members could drop off new or gently used shoes and rain boots during the month-long donation drive.

Tell us a little more about what you did on Make A Difference Day 2016.

We collected a few hundred pairs of used and new rain boots for disadvantaged kids in our community.

The project took place at my business, Azad’s Martial Arts Center. It was a community service event for all students, and an opportunity to get hundreds of people in our community volunteering to make a difference. Azad’s students and their friends and family members looked in their own closets for lightly used shoes to donate, and many purchased new shoes with their saved piggy bank money. As we registered the event on the Make A Difference Day website, Gimme Some Sole quickly became a community-wide project, with people stepping forward to help and dropping off rain boots at the center.

I personally approached the general manager of the local Payless Shoe Source, asking him to set aside or order shoes for our project in a very rainy season. Once he heard what the project aimed to do, he provided us with a deep discount to help us out in purchasing more rain boots for kids. That was highly unexpected and much appreciated!

During an unusually rainy season in Chico, California, rain boots were a top priority for the donation drive, which served students from low-income families.

What was the most rewarding part of the experience? A favorite memory?

The most rewarding part of this project was the smiles on children’s face when we delivered the shoes to them! Absolutely heart-warming and fun. Many of them wanted to wear the shoes right there and then. Also, the fact that with the help of your organization and our team’s effort we got the community rallied to make a positive impact in a child’s life. Children are the future and if we guide them appropriately they will become great contributing members of their community in the future.

Why do you think it’s important for others to get involved and make a difference in their community?

A community is only as great as its citizens. Make A Difference Day is a great platform for people of all backgrounds to unite and help with whatever needs to be attended to or improved in a community. One day a year, the entire country can put their differences aside and join each other to benefit others. This is a great resource and opportunity.

I have a formula! When we inspire an individual to give of their heart and soul and resources, we begin to improve the world.

To positively impact our country, each city must take charge of its problems with visionary action-oriented solutions. To improve each city, we must strive to beautify our neighborhoods. To impact each neighborhood, we must first take care of the look and feel of our own residence. To beautify our place of residence, we must take pride and exercise daily attention to each part of the place. To take care of the residence, each one of residents must practice mindfulness in making ourselves better. What better way to take steps toward mindful action than to take charge of our own life and meanwhile actively help others!

I believe Make A Difference Day and any occasion to volunteer is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to step forward and take positive measurable actions to make a difference in themselves and in their community.

As a 2016 Make A Difference Day Award Winner, you were awarded a $10,000 grant to donate to a charity of your choice. What will that money go toward?

I decided to give the money to the Chico Community Shelter Partnership, with the stipulation that the funds be used to help children and their mothers get off the streets and moving toward independence. The shelter is frequently visited by homeless mothers with children of all ages. Each year, the shelter helps many homeless men and women find jobs and get their independence back. According to the center, it takes about $1,000 to get each family back on regular track. I am excited to know that the Make A Difference Day award will help at least 10 families this year to become independent.

Farshad's car overflowed with shoes and boots collected through "Gimme Some Sole."

What do you want people to learn from your story?

I hope those who read this story will realize that each one of us can truly make a difference in each other’s day. Whether we know it or not, we are all role models. Whatever we do can affect others in a positive or negative way. Why not choose the positive way? Find what is dear to your heart that can benefit everyone in the community non-discriminately and with full inclusiveness. Then take positive action! Start with a simple warm smile at someone, to whatever you can contribute. To influence this world in a positive way we have to start looking to our abilities as opposed to our limited thoughts. From that point on, your vision will take you forward. We have a saying at Azad’s Martial Arts Center: “If sky is the limit, then reach for the stars!”

What are your plans for Make A Difference Day 2017?

This has been a year of natural disasters, from floods to fires to hurricanes. I was contacted by a friend who has relatives working at a school in a low-income area of Houston. This school was in an area hit by Hurricane Harvey last month, and they lost everything including all their school supplies for the year. We have decided to dedicate this year’s Make A Difference Day to collecting and purchasing supplies for the school, so kids can go back to school knowing they are covered for their basics, from paper and pencils to tissues for the cold season. This school also lost a family of six to the floods caused by Harvey; we are happy to be a part of their healing process.

Volunteers across the nation will come together again on Saturday, Oct. 28, to improve their communities for Make A Difference Day. Project organizers are encouraged to register at to be eligible to win a $10,000 grant to donate to a charity related to their Make A Difference Day project.
CLICK HERE to view original Points of Light article!

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Azads Annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade in Chico

By: growingupchico
Posted: October 27, 2017

If you live in the Chico, area you might have heard of a great community service project called, Azad’s Thanksgiving Basket Brigade. This program was created by Grandmaster Farshad Azad, the owner of Azad’s Martial Arts Center in Chico, California. This year, Azad’s is celebrating the 26th anniversary of this community-wide event in Chico. Each fall, Azad leads his students and the community in providing a complete Thanksgiving dinner basket for over 250 deserving families. This project began with one meal for one family and soon grew to help 200-250 families, annually. The program has reached over 35,000 people over the last quarter of a century!
When he was a student at Chico State, Azad overheard a conversation between a parent and her kids about why they could not have a traditional Thanksgiving meal that year. The children were a little upset and confused why they were not going to have a traditional meal. The mother had lost her job and explained to the kids that they were down to their last pennies. This touched Azad’s heart, and that is when he decided to provide a meal for a deserving family the first chance he had. A few years later, when he had opened up his successful martial arts business, he provided a single family with a great Thanksgiving dinner. This further impacted him and reinforced his thoughts to reach out to more families in the coming years.
The mission of the Basket Brigade is to unite the community in helping average families who are experiencing very difficult financial challenges with a gift from the community. Azad and his team of community supporters will provide the families with a complete Thanksgiving dinner on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving day. Each meal is designed for a family of up to eight people, and includes; a turkey, bread, baked goods, vegetables, gravy, pie, olives, pumpkin pie, rolls, a roasting pan, and all other items needed to make a fantastic and memorable Thanksgiving dinner.
Many of the recipients have lost their employment, or have been faced with enormous health issues and hospital bills. Each year, hundreds of people in the community gather around Thanksgiving Basket Brigade and extend a helping hand to those in need. Many of those who contribute their time, money, and energy are the previous recipients of the baskets. “We want to send a clear message to our local families in need that this community cares for them, and will not forget them during difficult times. We extend Thanksgiving meals to families as our way of saying we sympathize with their predicament. Our message is, let’s be hopeful and take positive action so that next year, not only will you not need this basket, but you may join us in helping others in need!” says Azad.
What qualifies a family for a gift basket from Azad’s Thanksgiving Basket Brigade?
  • They must live in the Chico area.
  • They must be financially deserving.
  • They must be a first-time recipient. A family may not receive a basket more than once.
  • They must have school age children.

This year, on November 21st, Azad’s Martial Arts Center will morph into a massive operational headquarters for the Thanksgiving Basket Brigade volunteers to organize, assemble dinner baskets, wrap them as a gift, and drive and deliver them to the recipients.

After the deliveries are finished, Azad’s Martial Arts Center throws a massive party for the volunteers and all those who take part in the event. Volunteers will get together, eat a home-made Thanksgiving meal and celebrate the results of their hard work in making the community a better place. There will be a ton of fun, including live music from the Blue Hippies, a favorite local band in Chico.

There are many ways for you and your family to get involved with the Basket Brigade this year. Here is how you can get involved:

Make cash donations so that dinners can be purchased for more families. It takes only $40 to provide a complete basket of Thanksgiving dinner for a family of 8. Much of the success of this project depends on your cash donations toward the purchase of these basket dinners. You may even sponsor a family in need, with whom you are familiar. You may identify a deserving family and put Azad’s Martial Arts Center in touch with them to get on this year’s list. Make sure they meet the qualifications stated earlier. You may volunteer your time during the event, helping to organize the food products, or putting the gift baskets together on Tuesday, November 21st, 2017, starting at 5pm at Azad’s Martial Arts Center, located at 313 Walnut Street, Suite 150 in Chico. You may sign up ahead of time to be a driver to deliver a few dinners to local families on November 21st. You may even deliver a basket of dinner to a family you have already put us in touch with or that you have sponsored. You may sign up ahead of time to assist during the volunteer dinner festivities, and much more.

“I think Thanksgiving can be about a lot more than just eating Turkey and stuffing. This is a great opportunity to teach children the value of peaceful coexistence, caring for others regardless of our differences, empathy and compassion, mindfulness, acknowledging that we all have an impact in our society, and that each one of us can make this a better world. This is a great time to be grateful for all that we have been blessed with: our health, our strengths, and all that is good about this world. This is a time to not forget those less fortunate than us and pay homage to all those who have been source of positive change in our lives. To me, this is the deeper message of Thanksgiving, as we gather around our loved ones or new friends to have a delicious meal! It makes my heart smile when I see a five-year-old child bring her pennies to my school because she wants to reach out and help a family. Together, we can make a positive difference!” Says Grandmaster Azad.

2017 Thanksgiving Basket Brigade is also sponsored by hundreds of local community minded individuals, Chico Noon Exchange Club, and the Blue Hippies.

Please join Grandmaster Azad in helping to make this year’s Thanksgiving Basket Brigade another incredibly successful event, and making our community a better place for everyone. For more information, please contact Grandmaster at . You may call Azad’s Martial Arts Center at 892-AZAD (2923) and/or 896-0777.

Sponsorship levels:
Platinum Sponsor: $1000-$2000
Platinum Sponsors will be included in all media announcements, promotions, social media, posters, fliers, night of the event posters, thank you at the volunteer dinner, and the sponsor’s name will be mentioned in a letter accompanied with each gift basket delivered to recipients.

Gold Sponsor: $750-$999
Gold Sponsors will be included in social media, posters, fliers, night of the event posters, thank you at the volunteer dinner, and the sponsor’s name will be mentioned in a letter accompanied with each gift basket delivered to recipients.

Silver Sponsor: $500-$749
Silver Sponsors will be included in social media, fliers, night of the event posters, thank you at the volunteer dinner, and the sponsor’s name will be mentioned in a letter accompanied with each gift basket delivered to recipients.

Bronze Sponsor: $250-499
Bronze Sponsors will be included in night of the event posters, thank you at the volunteer dinner, and the sponsor’s name will be mentioned in a letter accompanied with each gift basket delivered to recipients.
CLICK HERE to view original Growing Up Chico Magazine article!

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Azads Thanksgiving Basket Brigade


Two months after losing her mother to cancer, thirteen-year-old “Emily” lay on her bed, wrapped in blankets of sorrow too heavy to lift. She switched on the radio and heard Grandmaster Azad’s voice floating through the air, inviting volunteers to help at his annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade. As he described packing and delivering Thanksgiving meals to families in need, Emily thought of her mom’s countless hours of volunteer work. A new energy seeped into her veins. Before the announcement ended, Emily bounded out of her room to tell her dad where she wanted to spend the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. 
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29th Annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade at Azads Martial Arts Center

Azad's Martial Arts Center is holding its 29th annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade on Tuesday, November 24th, 2020. This event will help 200 local families with a gift basket of complete Thanksgiving dinner. Each dinner basket provides meal for up to 15 people in the family. Each year Grandmaster Azad and his team of students help raise funds to purchase all that is needed for a great holiday meal (Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potato, Pumpkin Pie, etc) for over 200 local families. This program so far has assisted over 35,000 people in the Chico and Butte County area. How can you be a part of this great tradition in Chico?
  1. Financial donations: Only $40 will provide a complete Thanksgiving meal for a family of up to 15.
  2. Help us identify local families in need. (We need this information by November 10th)
  3. They must live locally.
  4. They must have school age kids.
  5. They must be a FIRST TIME recipient. This is a one-time gift basket only.
  6. They must be deserving. (Financially in need)
  7. Volunteer to deliver a dinner or two to the recipient's home on the night of the event.
  8. To be a driver you must contact us at by November 10th.
Thank you to this year's Thanksgiving Basket Brigade sponsors:
Chico Noon Exchange Club
KNVN TV, Action News, Telemundo, CW
Deer Creek Stations: KMXI, KPAY, KZAP, The Blaze, KPAY Sport
North State Parent Magazine
Concourse Elite
Bell-Carter Foods Inc
Transfer Flow Inc.
The Palms
Lindsay Olives
Reptile Natural Stones
Chico Enterprise Record
Growing up Chico
Azad's Martial Arts Center

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