TAUNTON — For Michael O’Handley, it has been an extended yr of uncertainty.

The longtime black belt teacher of East Taunton Kenpo Karate Studio wasn’t certain his enterprise would survive the COVID-19 outbreak.

He was compelled to shut his doorways for the primary time ever on March 13, 2020.

Now the 68-year-old former Taunton resident is lastly seeing a light-weight on the finish of the tunnel.

“That was actually a tricky time,” O’Handley mentioned in regards to the early months of the pandemic. “My employees and [I] needed to transition to Zoom. I had no thought what it was, however they did. Everybody stayed with me by way of all of it.”

O’Handley carried out his courses by way of Zoom conferences and fogeys even organized a GoFundMe that raised greater than $8,000, which allowed his store to remain afloat till he opened again up in July.

Extra:Dad and mom step as much as save East Taunton Kenpo Karate throughout coronavirus outbreak

Children drew photos within the parking zone of hearts and messages in chalk.

“Clearly, it labored,” he mentioned. “We transitioned to holding courses on Zoom for a number of months till July after we started to carry courses outdoors in our parking zone.”

O’Handley mentioned his studio is again to about 80% of the scholars they’d previous to the pandemic and the quantity continues to develop.

The studio went dwell at 10% capability and out of doors courses in July of 2020 however is now again as much as 50% capability. O’Handley’s courses are nonetheless working warm-ups outdoors.

Since reopening in July, East Taunton Kenpo Karate has promoted over 60 grownup black belts, and 101 junior black belts, with lots of them nonetheless on board.

O’Handley lately promoted 4 college students after a black belt check in his studio.

Jeff Besse moved as much as Sixth-degree black belt, which is the affiliate professor degree. He began in grownup courses in February 2005. Tiffany MacLean was promoted to 4th-degree black belt and is now a senior teacher.

She began within the kids’s courses in June 2004.

John Botelho superior to a Third-degree black belt, which is the Teacher degree. He started in April 2012.

Wealthy Desrochers is O’Handley’s latest 1st-degree black belt, the assistant teacher degree. He began in August 2015.

O’Handley, who started coaching in Boston in 1969 on the age of 17, is a Seventh-degree black belt. He can solely promote different folks to 1 degree under his current rank.

“Clearly to me, my college students and our group are crucial,” he mentioned.

East Taunton Kenpo Karate opened its doorways in Taunton in 1999 on Ingell Road.

Three years later, it moved to 103 Outdated Colony Ave. in East Taunton, its present location.

O’Handley, who has lived in Taunton for over 50 years, purchased his first house in East Taunton when coming back from service within the U.S. Air Drive.

He was the supervisor of the U.S. Postal Service mail processing middle in Brockton for 37 years.

East Taunton Kenpo Karate isn’t solely well-known in the local people, however is understood all through Massachusetts and throughout america and in addition to throughout the ocean to Eire, O’Handley mentioned.

He mentioned he is undecided how for much longer he’ll proceed within the enterprise earlier than retiring.

However for now, he is completely happy and can proceed to serve the residents of Taunton.