A LOCAL karate association has found a new way to provide classes to its members during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Seiken Ryu Karate Association (SRKA), which runs multiple classes throughout Tynedale and Northumberland, wanted to explore ways of continuing to provide a service to students and their parents during the crisis.

The SRKA found the social media virtual meeting app Zoom and now runs video classes live, three times a day, so that all members have the opportunity to maintain their training, after the Government imposed a lockdown of all non-essential businesses.

Chief instructor, Sensei Chris Yates, said the classes had already proven to be a great success, with virtual attendances at classes being often as high as its usual classes held in venues.

“They are also a great way for everyone to keep in touch and train together,” he said.

Prudhoe-based instructor Wayne Bond has relished the chance to teach lessons online.

“I have been getting messages asking why people are in their gardens in karate gear,” he said. “We have all been practising our techniques by kicking toilet rolls into the air.”

By taking sessions online, Wayne said there had been an influx of new people, of all ages, taking part in karate.

He said: “We’re all taking part and trying to find fun ways of delivering our sessions. It’s bringing families of the North-East together.

Despite the Seiken Ryu Association’s sessions containing a large amount of one-to-one training, this hasn’t stopped the SRKA in their tracks.

Wayne added: “We’re adapting and we’re all doing well. The karate sessions that we do involve lots of children with some groups involving 30 people.

“We’re not turning our back on anyone and we’re determined to keep it going. People who are looking for something new to do, to take part in karate all you need is a bit of space in the garden or in your house.”

Last month, the SRKA hosted its annual War on the Floor event, which showcased its top talent in as series of competitions and presentations.

More information on how to get involved can be found at www.seikenryu.co.uk.