The "Three K's" of Karate (Kihon, Kata & Kumite)... obviously Kihon is the foundation upon which everything else is built. But here is where most "traditional" schools fall short (IMHO). They see the perfection of kata & kumite as the goal of physical training. Such training is for competition-based schools.
I believe that kihon needs to be constantly trained during kata & kumite because kata & kumite are training tools, not the goal. The basics of the self-defense element are much different than those within tournament related skills. The reason many people fall is because they haven't mastered the Kihon of movement (stances).
Try to tell someone that stance training is important & they'll roll their eyes and ask you if you can do a jumping-spinning kick. Guess who lands on their butt the most?
(I'm baa-aack... heh-heh-heh)
Ed Ichihara Smith - Shukokai