The way of uniting Mind, Body & Spirit

Kung fu means “to strive.” Hapkido means “the art of concentrating energy.” Karate means “empty hand.” At Azad’s Martial Arts in Chico, CA, students learn Jong Shin Do, a martial arts style that means “the way of uniting mind, body, and spirit.” Founded by Grandmaster Azad, Jong Shin Do approaches martial arts as a physical tool for mental and spiritual growth. As a branch of Hapkido, Jong Shin Do provides a complete physical workout tailored to the needs of the student. For kids especially, Jong Shin Do teaches fundamental life skills that enrich home lives, school experiences, and students’ views of themselves and others. “We empower students regardless of background or abilities,” says Grandmaster Azad. “Jong Shin Do is for anybody with the desire to become stronger in any aspect of life.”
On a purely physical level, Azad’s students learn self-defense and get a full-body workout that develops strength, flexibility, coordination, and other abilities they can use throughout their lives. Jong Shin Do uses moves like kick-punching from Kung Fu, Karate, and kickboxing, as well as grappling techniques from wrestling and Jujitsu, strengthening muscles in the core, back, arms, and legs. Linda Patterson, whose daughter Iris has been an Azad’s student for four years, loves how the instructors “require respect from the students and also show respect to the students in return. They treat kids as individuals; they know Iris is going to learn differently than the child next to her.” Because they know each child’s abilities, Azad’s instructors never settle for second best, urging and supporting kids to show genuine effort.

Regular practice builds stamina and endurance. Azad’s creates the perfect opportunity for athletic kids who enjoy exercise but feel intimidated by high-stakes rivalries. While “mainstream” sports place kids against each other in a competitive way, Azad’s focuses on personal progress.
Since students often practice in pairs, they still gain valuable teamwork experience while receiving lessons uniquely tailored to meet age, learning styles, and physical capabilities. In a society increasingly faced with childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, Azad’s trains kids to fight for their own health and fitness while having fun.

As kids strengthen their physical muscles through Jong Shin Do, they also strengthen their mental muscles. Azad’s lessons help kids concentrate, follow directions, and develop constructive thinking patterns in all areas of life. Linda has seen Iris’s “focus and attentiveness grow” since starting Jong Shin Do. “She is not just learning a form or a martial arts technique, she’s learning how to use [her skills] and in what situations to use them,” says Linda.
Azad’s instructors clearly present their expectations, giving students structure and the responsibility to listen carefully and act accordingly. In this consistent, cause-and-effect-based environment, kids develop focus, discipline, and follow-through—attributes that naturally spill into their behavior at home and at school. Instructors offer specific encouragement and feedback, while also requiring kids to evaluate their own strengths and growth areas. “With a positive mental attitude, they have everything it takes to succeed and to become better in their lives,” says Grandmaster Azad. “The way they see things in the world will change their behavior and their achievement in school and at home.”

Azad’s also shapes kids emotionally and spiritually, cultivating confidence, modesty, and mindfulness. Instead of seeking fights, Azad’s students learn to control their emotions, de-escalate, and use non-violent conflict resolution techniques. To begin with, Jong Shin Do develops kids’ awareness of their internal environments—their feelings and responses to people and situations. Students learn how to lower personal stress levels and manage their mindsets using Jong Shin Do’s specialized, age-appropriate calming exercises. For Azad’s students, physical aggression is the last resort because knowing they have the physical ability to defend themselves lays a foundation of confidence, giving kids the inner strength to stand up for themselves.
Colton Burkett, a high school freshman, took Jong Shin Do to defend himself. He says he quickly learned that martial arts with Grandmaster Azad was about “more than defending myself. It’s about being a good person.” Since enrolling at Azad’s in May 2018, Colton has “changed leaps and bounds,” according to his mother, Alisha. “He wasn’t a bad kid before,” Alisha says, “but there were some behavior issues I couldn’t fix. His body has changed a lot, but he before,” Alisha says,

“But there were some behavior issues I couldn’t fix. His body has changed a lot, but he has also gained respect [for others] at home. He doesn’t fight when he is asked to do something, and he has gained confidence. He wasn’t exactly afraid before, but he’s truly bold now.”
As a martial art that focuses on the connection between body, mind, and spirit, Jong Shin Do shows children how our choices never occur in a vacuum, but rather affect every part of our lives. Even the youngest students at Azad’s learn nine tenets that spill from martial arts into all areas of life: courtesy, integrity, self-control, indomitable spirit, courage, compassion, modesty, and victory. Six-year-old Harrison Bamlet, who has only studied at Azad’s for a year, can already recite these virtues from memory, a testimony to how frequently his lessons focus on these attributes. Sabrina, Harrison’s mother, says she selected Azad’s from other martial arts schools because Azad’s was the only one “who really asked about Harrison. They wanted to know about Harrison’s strengths and weaknesses, and what we wanted to get out of the lessons. We were looking for a place where Harrison could learn self-control, focus, and respect.” Azad’s proved the perfect answer.
Over 10,000 students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds have trained with Grandmaster Azad since 1985. As he reflects on Jong Shin Do’s impact over the decades, Grandmaster Azad says his system brings out the best in students, from developing physical strength and stamina to establishing self-confidence and respect for others. “We love to be part of that personal growth,” he says. Over the years, Grandmaster Azad has seen how confidence gives people the power to be kind. By building students’ confidence from the inside out, Jong Shin Do at Azad’s makes the world kinder, one student at a time.

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