Problem is that I'm not sure that I really diagree with you.
In my view "most" problems with kata are, at base, really just poor understanding, poor application and poor instruction.
Kata are often improperly used--again in MY VIEW, by people that don't understand the process.
1-Kata is only a PART of training regimen that involves strenth training, hard, resistant partner drills, hitting various bags and striking tools, grappling, endurence training etc.
"Back in the day" that is how it was done.
Kata should only be PART of persons training.
Since I'm sure that you don't have problem with strentgh training or resistive drills---then that only leaves part of the training for folks to complain about.
So what your really discussing is bare percentages---I think its going to be pretty hard to argue about that.
2-Most people have it backwards---the kata should be simple meumonics to keep freash skills and lessons YOU ALREADY PRACTICE ON THE HEAVY BAG AND WITH RESISTANT PARTNERS.
Its a way to practice when you have no bag or partner---much as a boxer shadowboxes as part of his/her workout.
3-As to its ultility as a methed of training, kata, in various forms is probably the most widely used method of training extent--almost everybody, almost everywhere made use of some form of it.
4- Self defense is utterly situational/results focused thing.
If my training worked in a SD situation--then it worked--period.
Arguements about what "could" have been done "better" are nothing more than "what if" post-hoc rationaliztion.
If your training methods kept you in one piece, or enabled you to escape with your life--or just helped you survive--then they worked.
As an example, say I train totally kata based--you training without any kata at all.
We BOTH walk away from an violent encounter--more or less intact.
Then BOTH methods worked----the result is ONLY thing that counts--outside of an e-debate that is.
I certianly don't consider kata to the end all and be all lof practice--I personally get value out of it-so I practice it.
People should not use any form of practice that does not show gains.
Just my opinion, and that, just like my opinion of kata, will vary considerably person to person.