I am 100 % sure that my Kata has made me a much better combatant.

Paul, this is where I think the problem may lie. I have met numerous karate-ka who have exchanged their kata driven programs for those that take a step toward a more "modern" approach sans kata, which they seemed to have granted more merit than the kata-centric style they formerly enjoyed.

So the problem for me is in two parts: 1) That the kata these people, whom I have met, have chosen to "disengage" from may not be the kata or the type of kata that you talk about; and 2) That I have never seen a reversal of roles where a MMA type, or kickboxer, would change into a kata-centric training program to promote better fighting ability.

Here again there may be some point of contention as what some would say is an SD technique or that a sport oriented athelete is not doing self-defense, but I side with the application concept: That a punch, kick, throw, or choke is intrinsically what it is regardless of the sporting context in which it might be utilized. These things don't change from SD to Sport and back again, only intent changes...not application. If this is the case, then training more closely to apply these techniques in this type of resistive venue would seem to warrant more consideration, even at slower and lighter pacing, than rigid kata work.

So, from where I stand, the problem is that you have indicated that kata has helped you, but that this is a subjective relationship between your practice and yourself. As I understand it, you have not trained exclusively in a non-kata program and then later accepted kata as a benediction to your abilities.

I think a better consideration for an experiment would be to have two similar individuals train in two different methodologies and then set one against the other to determine the effectiveness and the efficiency of one training paradigm over the other.

Unfortunantely, we will still only be playing mind games since this type of experiment seems not to be in the offing.

In any case, I do think there are other more modern groups of karate that yet practice tai-sabaki as foundational skill of their respective styles.

As an aside, I am somewhat between a more traditional (Japanese) style and the more modern kick boxing type of karate. I respect both, and whatever floats your boat is cool with me, but you have my opinion, if nothing else.

Warmest regards,