Martial arts master teaches Tai Chi to stressed Chico State


Students move their arms and bodies during class. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

The stress and anxiety of adulting can take a serious toll on a person’s mind and body.

Grandmaster Azad, a Chico State instructor and owner of Azad’s Martial Arts Center, helps students practice self care by using the art of Tai Chi Chuan.

Grandmaster Azad has been teaching Tai Chi at Chico State for 10 years. Photo credit: Matthew Ferreira

Azad has a tenth degree black belt in Tai Chi Chuan and Hapkido and has been teaching Tai Chi at Chico State for over 10 years.

“Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese exercise that really helps you balance yourself mentally, physically and spiritually,” Azad said.

Tai Chi
Students in Acker Gym 202 demonstrate their Tai Chi. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

When doing Tai Chi, the practitioner performs slow and controlled movements to achieve balance. While Tai Chi is used by most as a relaxing activity, the skills learned can also help with self defense, wrestling and hand-to-hand combat.

“The founder of Tai Chi aimed to create an internal system of martial arts that was fluid, soft and gentle, but yet at the same time useful as an absolutely vicious method of self defense,” Azad said.

Along with learning self-defense, Azad’s students also gain mental and physical benefits from practicing Tai Chi.

Off to the Side
The teacher pulls a student to the side to guide her movements. Photo credit: Melissa Herrera

“When practicing Tai Chi, you get to really understand what’s going on inside of you; in your mind, in your spirit and your emotions; to give you an immense depth in understanding what your part is in this world,” Azad said.

On top of the mental benefits, Tai Chi works wonders for your body and physical wellness.

“Tai Chi can help you get in great shape,” he said. “It’s is a no-contact, very low-impact, internal system of martial arts that is designed to help boost your physical and mental health regardless of age and/or ability.”

Azad’s class enables students to work toward personal health and wellness goals.

“It helps with breathing and makes you feel really centered and calm,” Student David McCarr said. “It feels like a whole body healing process.”

“It also helps with anxiety and stress. For example: if I feel anxious at night, I can just practice my Tai Chi and find some relief.”

The class has helped McCarr and many like him who have taken the class for their personal well-being.

“I love what students get out of my class,” Azad said. “My entire purpose of teaching at Chico State is for students to benefit.”

Matthew Ferreira can be reached at [email protected] or @MattFerreira__ on Twitter.