I haven't had much time lately for visiting the forum (I'm in a busy phase of my PhD research), but I wanted to share that I passed my second exam this weekend and have made it to 7th kyu in Shotokan! My performance wasn't quite as good as I wanted. My knees were hurting and it affected my kicks, but it was passable! I'm glad I decided to tape my knees, too. Our exams are held after a full day seminar, and the very last session had a ton of kicks and squatting, which in retrospect, I should have excused myself from, but the tape definitely saved me so I could do my exam. My knee issues that I was dealing with all summer resolved for about 5 days in September, then came back with a vengeance after class one night. So I headed to the sports doc after two weeks of no improvement, who confirmed some patellar tendonitis and suspected a meniscus injury. However, I don't really have the full symptoms of a meniscus tear (and the two tests they do for it were a negative). So I've been visiting a physical therapist who has done wonderful things for my knees. I have some muscle imbalance and tightness issues that are causing the tendonitis - foam rolling and rolling pin work has been a real help. Those icy hot patches meant for your back are also surprisingly effective in reducing tendon pain temporarily!