Well, this was a tough year. First, I didn't start training hard for it as early as I usually do, because I was focused on my TCC Black Fringe test. I had just passed my CLF Brown Sash Test a few months before cutting back drastically on CLF for that TCC test. So I was cramming to get down the new forms for tournament. But I was feeling it was coming along and BAM- Last Sunday - out of the blue - horrible back spasms! And they just got worse. Thursday- the 4 medications hadn't worked and I was on my back because I couldn't even sit up for very long. Friday I could sit, but was in a lot of pain and on a lot of medications for it, I whined on my Facebook page - despondent that I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it. I wrote my Instructor. I am known at my school as one of the most gung ho about the value of our tournaments in bettering our martial arts skills. But Saturday, I was feeling a bit better. Lots of pain ,but not the wracking spasms. So I was - as my first instructor called it - martial stupid and decided to try. I was on a muscle relaxant, Tylenol with codeine, and Ibuprofen. And I am a wimp with medications, so honestly, I was pretty darn high on legal meds. But it was the only way I was going to make it. I gave up all expectations of medals, but just considered making it through my eight events a good showing of martial spirit and a win in my book. Success in tournaments is not all about the medals. So, Choy Li Fut - the age division was 18 to 49. Yikes! Guess who the 49 year old was? So I was competing against young spry ones. About a dozen competitors? Give or take a couple? -Weapon Techniques I scored just below average (14) -Hand form (Small Five Animal) - average (15) -Weapon form (Bot Gwa Butterfly Knives) - just above average (16)- but I was told I got fourth. Which is actually not bad considering. I considered it a victory that I did my new forms-on meds and all- without forgetting anything in the forms. That was a success! The weapon techniques I have known awhile. I was a bit disappointed and surprised they were my lowest score of the three. The instructor who told me I got fourth in Butterfly knives told me I had good use of the body and waist in that, and that I could have used more of that in the other events. I got better scores each time, so I think I was loosening up and feeling better that my back wasn't going to spasm the longer I went. I don't know if I would have done the same or better without the back problem. You never know in tournaments. This is getting long. So I am going to break it into parts.