As per usual, I will start by mentioning I am a karate ignoramus. I don't have that much experience with it, though I do have an interest in it.
Cord mentioned something on the Muay Thai/Kickboxing/Boxing forum about yoga being used to help correct imbalances that boxers develop due to the way they stand and move while training.
I noticed something similar in Karate classes when people were sparring/doing kumite.
Now, having also done some Qi Gong too, I was wondering if Kata, be in Japanese or Okinawan (or whatever), was beneficial in helping correct imbalances built up in a karate-ka's body due to sparring?
There is not doubt sparring/kumite can be harmful to a person if they attempt to move at speed while their body is out of synch. I had a friend who did TKD who did terrible damage to his knee trying to kick someone sparring. The doctor told him it was due to the pressure he was putting on the joint by the way he was sparring in TKD.
You guys would know better than me. I'll bet good money though more people inflict self-injuries (that is to say, injuring themselves without their sparring partner/opponent doing it for them) while sparring/doing kumite than people doing kata.
I read an interesting article about a gentleman who said doing Okinawan Karate has helped him with health problems he had, so this got me thinking on the whole issue and Katas relevance to developing good posture and healthy alignment.
I know the theory is that a person should maintain balance and good postural structure during sparring, but that doesn't really happen in my experience. And as I said, people tend to adopt stances were the body is out of synch once sparring/kumite begins.
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food"