Re: Aikido vs. Escrima/Kali
The point Jean is trying to make is that you don't believe in kata so why argue their relevance.
Paraphrasing a few diffrent sources, here is what I have come up with as to the puropse of kata:
1. Instill a clear mindedness during a crisis.
2. Develop the student's ability to use mushin.
3. Help build unity between though and action.
4. Provide a technical and physical foundation.
5. Train large numbers of students rapidly to be battle ready.
7. Provide physical conditioning.
8. Something else to perfect and meditate on as is the Japanese way.
No particular order there and only referring to material I have come across on koryu sites. I don't think kata were ever intended to be used against opponents, I think that they were instead used to build skills and mental ability. Subori or randori may not have always been possible for some reason or another. They could also have been used as warm ups or something similar.