I like this thread, hi guys!
Kata when put on paper has little meaning to me, it`s like explaining the colour blue without having seen it. However, we can discuss where the colour blue would look good or what other colours go with it. Even better still shades of blue...soft and harsh
Kata IMO was meant to be eventually weaved into your person, much like different "styles" became the Uechi hybrid. Learning it by observation is only the first layer of the onion, the next layer is guidance from the instructor, the next layer discussion with your peers (much as we do in forums) and once we hopefully reach deeper layers the outside skin may often change appearance somewhat. Example of this is watch the same kata performed by two individuals that have gone deep into the onion such as Dave Mott and James Maloney (just two individuals of many)
You may imitate the exterior of thier "onion" but unless you have ventured in (often with tears
) the onion will lack flavour.
Rick, I fully agree that all we have is the kata and fortunately we have the guidance of others (including ourselves, lets not sell ourselves short) who know it is layered