I have enjoyed the threads here and youtube videos on this topic. Thank you for this content! I am particularly interested in the 3k analysis and find it to be insightful and accurate. There is one aspect of 3k karate that is sometimes addressed but possibly not given the critique that it deserves. It is the following. In 3K karate I do not think its practitioners believe they are practicing 3k karate for merely health, discipline, self-improvement, character development, fitness, etc. People practice something like yoga for those reasons. But unlike yoga, 3k practitioners honestly believe that there is a transferrence of skill from 3k karate to combat effectiveness. They honestly believe that the voluminous number of kata details, refinements, and so forth do in fact carry over to combat to a worthwhile degree. I think they will refuse to acknowledge that all of the tedious corrections of kata techniques over the years primarily serve the purpose of improving kata, and have little or nothing to do with actual combat effectiveness.
Jesse Enkamp's youtube video about "Why Karate Doesn't Work" provides an informative history lesson on the differences between different versions of karate over the years. However, I think he spins the often heard question or complaint that "Karate Doesn't Work" into a misunderstanding over the different versions of karate. The inquirer is not an idiot and in need of a basic history lesson. The person asking this question is inquiring whether or not sport kumite skills would actually be effective in real combat. The person asking this question is inquiring whether or not incessant focus on kata details would be effective in real combat. I don't think there is a hidden meaning or mystery in the phrase "Karate doesn't work". The playfulness over the semantics is entertaining but it dances around the core of the question and leaves it unanswered. If you're going to seriously tackle it, answer whether or not excellence in kata transfers to combat skills, and so forth.
Ian's stated position in his youtube video on 3k karate is careful and perhaps too polite towards 3k practitioners so as to not offend. He clearly says in conclusion that there's nothing wrong with 3k karate as long as it is done for health, enjoyment, culture, but then says that it's a different matter if one says that 3k is practical (which it is not).
The elephant in the room is that 3k practitioners do think their karate is practical. They do think there is significant transferrence of skill to combat effectiveness. Please, someone correct me if I am wrong but I do not see 3k folks willing to concede that their practice is merely for health, enjoyment, culture, fitness and related reasons. Practicality in the form of transferrence of skill to combat is one of those reasons they will give. It might not be worded in precisely that way from the average person when asked. Usually you'll here a few descriptors of self-defense in their list of reasons. I think it is at the point where a necessary component of 3k karate is the view that its practitioners believe it is practical, but it isn't. It is impractical. And it's adherents are wrong when they think it is practical.
I'm bringing this up not to be mean but because I think it should be called out. It is dangerous to propagate a misleading confidence that one's hours and years of practice amount to practical combat skills when they do not. I'm at a loss for a catchy acronym to replace 3k karate. There ought to be something that does a better job of capturing the fact that it is impractical, or ineffective for combat. I appreciate the full description of "3K's and never the 3 shall meet" but it's just too nice and leaves out too much. As a consequence, karate which is done differently with a focus on bunkai and combat effectiveness does not get the credit that it deserves.