I was watching the film "The karate kid 3" with my wife the other day and had to smile at perhaps the worst illustration ever of how kata is supposed to work as a training method. It is a hollywood film from the 80s and perhaps a realistic depiction is too much to expect but the sheer misguidedness of it was impressive.
We see Daniel, the hero of the film, practicing the opening line of the goju ryu kata seiyunchin at various points during the film, sometimes alone and sometimes synchronised with his teacher. He is also imparted with the dubious wisdom that when it comes to the crunch he should just trust his instincts to do what is needed.
In the final confrontation at a karate tournament (which has many other flaws as a scene but that is beside the point) after all his other tournament point-stop style techniques appear to have failed, Daniel starts performing the solo kata moving towards his understandably confused opponent who then attacks and is countered with an aikido type technique, winning the match!!
This teaches us that repetition of the solo kata alone gives you unconcious fighting ability (and in methods you haven't even trained in no less!), and is deliberately contrasted with the "bad" karateka who actually spar in their training.
Anyone got any other shockers?!