Robert M Watson Jr
Well, yes and no. I mean, martial arts are not for reading tea leaves. Kata is an established vehicle to transmit hard earned lessons from combat. Certainly kata alone cannot convey the complete lesson. Lesson learned in kata are a foundation to build upon.
Working the progression from suburi to kata to paired practice in ki no nagare mode and then randori (honestly how many actually practice randori with weapons or completely unstructured freestyle with weapons) and finding a distinct lack of continuity in tranferable skills leaves large questions in my mind.
On the other hand learning specific methods of body conditioning as a foundation there is an ever increasingly obvious transfer of skills so I find less need to study waza and more need to rebuild the foundation to achieve the 'aiki that make waza just appear'. I already know plenty of waza that I know works considerably less effectively that I believe is should and I do not see more practice of said waza as an efficient means to improvement. The more I concentrate efforts on body conditioning to create aiki the waza does actually become more effective and efficient.
Waza is not useless ... I just do not find it enough to further me along my journey.
I agree with all you said. That's just how I see it.