Kata practice is plenty of people who say you shouldn't practice it at all and others who believe that kata practice is absolutely essential. Personally I think in many cases the nay sayers don't really understand what kata has to offer if taught and practiced with the right mind.
I think this post helps to clarify the pro kata opinion. The full post may be read here.
No one really takes the time and effort to explain all that can be learned from the kata as the accumulation of kata, in regards to an ability to perform the kata, seems to be the gaol especially since it is tied directly to grading and rank awards.
Kata are taught as a means of assessing what the person knows, i.e., I know sixteen kata and I have a black belt in four styles or systems of martial arts, etc. I had to know, in other words perform pretty kata, eight empty hand kata and two weapons kata to be graded/awarded a black belt yet if you looked hard and deep you would find that most of that kata lacked “substance.”
Substance is what kata are all about, i.e., a mode or model to transfer knowledge of the physiokinetic and technique aspects provided by kata, a symbolic stylized memory efficient method of transferring such a physical discipline, where in lieu of the snap of the uniform and the perfection of the bodily formations made in kata is paramount over learning such things as breathing, posture, structure, centerline, spinal alignment, structure, power and more.
Kata are a means, a tool, to convey such esoteric teachings that cover those principles that without kata simply remain a tool for grading and ranking along with a means to accumulate perceived knowledge to validate the rankings awarded. It seems to have lost its true essence over egoistic pride driven accumulation of kata.
Then there is the whole gambit of actually transferring the knowledge conveyed through kata training and practice to actual self-defense applications that are reality based stress induced adrenal flood affected applications that also remain within the standards and acceptable levels of force application in self-defense of life or great bodily harm.