A primary reason patterns were developed was to increase the ability to inflict pain upon aggressors in response to unprovoked acts of violence. Some think the performance of a perfect pattern is an end in itself. A sports car that does not start may look beautiful, but it cannot be viewed as perfect since it cannot perform the task it was designed for. A beautiful, entertaining pattern that uses techniques that are useless in combat is not a pattern, it is a merely a choreographed dance performance. Gichin Funakoshi in his book Karate-Do Kyohan states, “Once a form has been learned, it must be practiced repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency, for knowledge of just the sequence of a form in karate is useless.”
The movements in patterns were designed to be used against an untrained attacker. They were not intended to be used against a trained fighter, so when trained fighters say the techniques used in patterns are useless in a fight situation, they are probably correct as long as the opponent is a trained fighter. However, if the opponent is untrained, the techniques are useful. Untrained attackers of today are not much different from untrained of feudal times. Weapon technology has increased over the centuries, but the basic fighting methods of untrained humans has remained the same for centuries.
Pattern training generally stresses perfect stances, arm position, foot placement, power, etc. However, this is only half of the performance of a pattern. the mental aspect of pattern performance must also be trained. A pattern is imaginary combat, therefore the combat mentality should also be practiced.