I am currently researching kata and its relation to training. I used to hold the belief that training kata grew in popularity in karate over time, especially after it was open to the public. This belief was mainly due to the development of the Pinan/Heian and Taikyoku kata and their introduction as basic kata (to the public) to aid in learning the intermediate level kata. After more research, I am now of the belief that the opposite is actually true for the most part. It appears more believable that kata was originally the main focus of traditional Okinawan karate or te, and that the practice of kata actually was pushed more to the background as time progressed and karate spread. Opposing this, more sports aspects began to replace the kata practice, the strongest indication is the Japanese desire to turn karate into a sport very much like judo. The result was that less time was spent on training kata and bunkai transformed into isolated technique training and drills became more of a mainstream. Kumite was redirected to a low contact (sport) version which came to reflect application of drilled material rather than bunkai. So my question is: what is the defining aspect of the style(s) you currently train? How much do you focus on kata, bunkai, kumite, drilling, self-defense (as an isolated study), etc. What makes your style "yours" rather than simply another style with a different name? What is the essense of what you train?