This is something I've been thinking about for years, but even moreso after going to the boxing gym, and having another sort of paradigm shift in how I do things and teach.
Should we just let modern Karate styles die a little bit?
Case in point: number of kata
Kata are an amazing combative resource once they are understood (took me years with the right people to get comfortable, feeling like I understand them), but even having an intuitive grasp of just one kata's methods requires 1) a basic understanding of combat independent of the kata, enough that you know what you are training for, know what makes sense and what simply does not. and 2) time to focus on one or a few kata for years. Aside from this, I also think there are simply some Kata which are overall more practical than others, if practicality is a goal.
Modern styles (even Goju Ryu, where we have fewer kata) seem to encourage students to do the opposite, they end up encouraging long term memorization of patterns, possibly to the exclusion of other, much more important things.
If I had it to do over again I would teach Sanchin, Naihanchin, and no other Kata until someone had been with me for a long time, then maybe they could pick from the kata I teach most from these days - Saifa, Gekisai, Seuinchin, Kururunfa or seisan.
There is a lot of redundancy in Kata, often there are variations on variations, different ways of showing the same principle, etc. My thought is that many of these things can be understood quite well (perhaps even better) without neccessitating a new pattern. I know all the stories about people only teaching from one or two kata. I don't know their historical veracity but I do feel like the approach itself has more merit.
So, I'm stuck wondering whether it is really worth having someone know that many Kata, period. I see the longer term benefit of some people "archiving" them and passing them down, but it really seems like most students spend too much time simply learning patterns. I feel that it contribues to an underlying notion that complex bunkai sequences and patterns are somehow desirable, because of the emphasis on pattern and pattern anaylsis itself. I wonder if this is a real barrier towards applicable skills.