POWYS based martial arts instructor Lee Taylor has shared insights into the impact of lockdown on the sport.

Speaking to Iwan Blakeway, the instructor revealed the past 11 months had hit the sport hard.

Before the pandemic Taylor ran clubs in Presteigne, Llanidloes, Rhayader and Weobley in Herefordshire.

He said: “I’ve been a full time karate teacher for 13 and a half years now.

“I’ve always been interested in the sport since I was a kid but only dabbled with the odd session growing up.

“It began to stick more in the back of my mind on trying to make it a full time career when I was doing leisure management, first at Brecon College, then Buckinghamshire University.”

Since then, Lee has built up a highly popular brand in his local area and graded many black belts across all clubs.

However in March 2020 the world changed forever when the pandemic broke out in China – leading to rolling global lockdowns.

“It turned everything on its head,” said Lee. “I knew that if the schools closed then the sports centres would close.

“I had to quickly find what the best thing to do was.

“I looked into Zoom as that was the most popular form of online teaching at the time.

“I did a couple of trial sessions the following week, one for juniors, one for seniors.”

However, Zoom did not permit hour long weekly lessons which Lee would usually do – so he went for the maximum 40 minute long plan.

“I scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 40 minutes each until late July when restrictions were eased.

“It was a big learning curve, doing it in my living room instead of a hall or leisure centre.”

Lee revealed the biggest impact had been the loss of students and hopes the day will soon come when he is permitted to return to sports halls and welcome back students old and new.

He said: “Before lockdown, I had between 190 to 200 students across all clubs.

“The peak numbers we would have a week on zoom was 50 to 60 which would mean I lost over 50 per cent income.

“This was down to a lot of people not having a camera or computer.

“When we returned to face-to-face, I was missing 30-40 students that were here before lockdown but I gained a few as well.”