How much can I chop

I picked up this Azelea at the nusery on accident since it was half off as it just finished flowering. The proportion of the foliage to the trunk (trunks?) is off. So I’m curious if there are any guidelines for how much foliage can be removed and when ok times to do it are?

This is a tricky one because it looks like 3 separate trucks braided, so trying to balance energy on a species that is basally dominant will be a challenge. My wife has a tropical hibiscus that has this braided trunk setup (not a bonsai tree though). It was very leggy when she bought it and I have slowly been “chasing” the buds back down. Through partial defoliation and removing a 1/3 or so at a time, letting it grow strong 4-5 new pairs of leaves and this stimulates some back budding on the interior of the leggiest of branches. Be it the one I have been experimenting on is a much larger container so that has pro’s and con’s. So all that , to say I would go slow 1/3-1/5 reduction at a time while leaving enough energy in the branch for the tee not to abort the growth and toss out a new branch. I would also aim to leave some green behind the cutback in the way you would with a conifer.

I also dont know if this is the best way to go about this just a way I have used in a similar situation (with a totally different species but both being sheen based)