I am still chipping away at translating Mabuni and Nakasone’s Karate-do Nyumon and wanted to share the following few paragraphs on Karate “styles”. I find what they said on this topic, over 80 years ago, still relevant today and hope Karateka will take their words to heart.
Therefore, for people who study Karate it is important to study as many kata as possible without focusing on any particular style so that they can know that there are a variety of techniques. Those who know only kata from one style are often surprised to see that there are other valuable techniques when they see Karate kata from another style. The Karate kata of each style and lineage should be comprehensively studied in order to gain the correct understanding of Karate. Without that you will not be able to understand or evaluate kata. Those who are willing to study Karate should never take a narrow point of view and should consider practicing not only their own style, but also comprehensively studying Karate kata as a whole. Without knowing other styles, you cannot know your style’s strengths and weaknesses. Failing to do this you will fall into a kind of twisted pride and you will never be able to understand your own style. With such an attitude, you cannot hope for any kind of success in Karate-do. Please keep this in mind.
From Section 27 – Kata Meaning & Comprehensive Research, Karate-do Nyumon, pg. 76.