However I am NOT going to be the man to go on record and say karate guys can't fight. That completely depends on the individual and how that person trains. All I've ever said is that there are training methods that, in my opinion, are more functional than others. There are some things that are a complete waste of valuable, irreplaceable time. But that's just my opinion.

This summarises your position very well John.

However are you not prepared to concede that it is possible that some of the things you consider "a waste of valuable time" are done for reasons pertinent to karate tactics and goals that you don't fully understand?

For example, if you sparred with Morio Higaonna even now in his 70s I know you'd have to respect his extremely high level of effectiveness. You might be inclined to put that down to the training he does which is similar to boxing - and say that whatever else he's done has been a "complete waste of time". In fact, he does (and has always done) very traditional karate training - very little of his personal routine looks ANYTHING like boxing (this is in contrast to even my own approach). Ditto some of his top students such as Graham Ravey in the UK with whom I have trained with on and off for many years - an extremely formidable fighter by anyone's standards (very few people I know can dish out full power blows AND take them like Graham).

The fact is that karate has a fundamentally different approach to its tactics. I can tell that this is not something you have experienced (at least properly). Neither, it seems, has Chris - even though he's done some karate. Yes it takes a bit longer to master, but the reason Higaonna and others like him fight as well as they do (and don't take my word for it, try your luck as many have done) is because of their own particular approach and the methods they use. These might not be intuitively easy to understand for a Western-based fighter because they are so different. The "drills" you lampoon as ineffective actually serve a very different purpose than what you assume. Until you've done them and realised the benefits you are unlikely to appreciate that purpose.

I've tried (in good faith) to open up the karate paradigm to greater understanding by referring to some of the fundamentally different aims (just one being developing kime). However (and correct me if I'm wrong) it seems to me that my perspective (being just one here) is not accorded any serious attention. It is automatically seen by you and Chris as a "lame justification" rather than what it is; a sincere attempt to give you some insight into karate methodology. I was (rightly) criticised for using a condescending tone earlier on, yet it seems to me that you and Chris make no real attempt to be open to a VERY approach despite the fact that some of its adherents demonstrate an extremely high level of practicality (if you ever train with them directly - as opposed to joining in white belt basics - you'll see what I mean). You take the information I provide to explain how their approach (how they got to be able to do what they do) and interpret it as an attack, rather than a sincere attempt to expand the debate.

Butterfly said to me a little while ago that I "had no truck" with some of the guys I appeared to be implicitly criticising when I made some sweeping statement about combat sports. I had spoken rashly and immediately conceded his point. You criticise karate methods using very strong language ("complete waste of time" etc.), yet you have no truck with some seriously tough guys - who do no boxing style training at all and mostly do the "waste of time" stuff. The fact that karate has a large number of adherents who practise a very diluted recreational form does not invalidate its methodology; they are not the only examples of karate (even if they are in the majority).

In other words, "complete waste of time" is something I think you should revisit. On the other hand, you're unlikely to do so as long as you refuse to concede ANY ground in relation to your views and to open up to other possiblities (even if they are not what you would ever choose to do).