WM’14 latest newsletter

Issue 4 – June 2013

Greetings from a very hot and sultry Hong Kong! Since our last newsletter when we announced thatWM ’14 had been granted ‘M mark status’ by the Major Sports Events Committee of the HK Government, we have been making steady progress in discussions with sponsors and in event planning.  Everything is on track for July 2014.   
In this newsletter, you can find out how the HKFC International PSA25 and the International 3’s tournaments unfolded at the Hong Kong Football Club, and learn from Mike Hall how a slow approach can benefit your squash – yes, slow

Another great week of international squash at the Hong Kong Football Club

From Monday 27th May through to Sunday 2nd June, there was a whole lot of squash going on at HKFC. For the second year, the club hosted the HKFC  PSA International 25 tournament, closely followed by the very popular International 3’s, now in its third year.Featuring Asia’s best male players and stars from around the world, the HKFC PSA International 25 culminated in a showdown between world #14 Alistair Walker and #17 Laurens Jan Anjema.  Walker prevailed in an excellent hard fought 3-0 final but the match of the tournament was arguably the QF between Alistair and Hong Kong’s Max Lee.   At 2-0 up, Lee battled to within 3 points of a famous victory only for Walker to demonstrate a champion’s focus under pressure to emerge the 3-2 winner.   For details of the final go to http://www.psaworldtour.com/news/20130602/walker-scores-hong-kong-fc-success_2281852_3197979

Picture by Bill Cox/The Epoch Times
Running parallel with the PSA event was the HKFC International 3’s for teams of 3 in Open, Ladies and Masters categories – always a fun tournament attracting teams from around the region. This year “Team 2020”, led by world #46 Leo Au took top Men’s Cup honours while player of the tournament was Singaporean squash legend (and WM’12 Bronze medalist), Zainal Abideen.  The Ladies Cup was won in emphatic style by Hong Kong’s Perrier KCC team.As one eminent masters player summed up at the closing champagne brunch – “It is always such a pleasure to come to Hong Kong and the Football Club.  Sign me up for next year!”

In Praise of Slow Squash by Mike Hall

How can squash, which was first played at Harrow School in the western hemisphere, benefit from traditional physical practices from the East? Read on …
“I wish I had met you earlier in my career” said Jonah Barrington, former World No 1 squash player.After hosting a ‘Barrington clinic’ at my local club, we both stood at the club bar, Jonah describing how in his day, “a severe” training regime had left him in later life suffering from severe chronic injury problems. Sadly, he isn’t the only one. Today, many of my contemporary competitors are beginning to queue up for the inevitable knee operation or retire from squash altogether.  

In my mid-thirties I decided that there must be a better way to train for squash. I embarked on a journey to thankfully discover that a game I loved and wished to play for the rest of my life did not have to leave me a cripple later in life.

In the mid 1990’s a coaching client aged 72 suggested from nowhere that I should look into the eastern form of exercise known as Chi Kung (Energy Work).

To my surprise, this soft gentle form of exercise actually makes you stronger and more supple. Blood flows to the limbs and circulation improves. I discovered that gentle postures were great for troubled knees, as vital nutrients can be delivered to the cartilage without the excessive force of many traditional forms of exercise.
In addition, huge benefits were brought to the spine by consciously thinking about and working through a sequence of postures refined over centuries for their health benefits. I also found that I was now able to ‘rotate’ the lower vertebrae in my spine, which is of great benefit when having to twist and rotate in squash. Conventional exercise does not allow this to happen. Now in my 50’s, I actually feel much healthier than I did in my 30’s.
Members at my local club still believe that playing squash will help them to lose weight, when in fact the opposite is true. At the end of a hard game of squash the body is full of adrenaline and cortisol. If these ‘fiery’ hormones aren’t dealt with correctly the body will store them as FAT, which in time, results in a gradual loss of bone density.

Integrating Chi Kung into a balanced squash training programme switches off the ‘fight or flight’ nervous system and  helps to ‘pour water on the fire’, allowing more calming, soothing hormones to enter the body after competitive performance. If only Jonah had known this eastern science and art of internal training during his competitive days, there would have been no need for him to place his knees in ice buckets in order to cool down after giving a squash clinic.  

Mike Hall is currently the Professional Squash Coach at the Grange Club Edinburgh www.grangesquash.co.uk He has been teaching and practising the Taoist arts of Tai Chi and Chi Kung since 1998.  His passion for introducing the Taoist arts to squash has resulted in his work being featured in New Scientist Magazine, BBC Radio 4 and in “In Praise of Slow” [Honere]  a book which reached the top ten best sellers list in The USA and UK. He can be contacted @surgeofchi@yahoo.com

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