I practice shotokan, waits for the mouths to start foaming lol, but really I think it is up to the karateka to make their training work, find a good buddy and work on alive trainng, personally I train with a goju guy from the jundokan. During class we spend alot of time on kihon and kumite and I feel I'm pretty lucky as we do go semi to full contact and most of of like to go full on. We don't wear any protectors and I have left with some bruises, I will say this sadly because we are small club and we have a few white belts we don't get alot of time on jiyyu kumite.
I own a gym where there is a TKD program, and they spar really hard. They've also developed their own league that uses the old full-contact karate rules, so they work all the basics: keep your hands up, chin down, etc. Same stuff I do in my boxing classes, but they have all these beautiful kicks in their arsenal, as well.
My main complaint about the style is that they don't allow kicks to the legs, which I think is a huge shortcoming... They don't even have an effective way of dealing with lower-body kicks at all.
At my old karate club, we were told to practice 'light' sparring, but when they paired guys against each other it was ON (because we're guys and we like to hit things Grrr.) And then they'd stop us and say "I said light contact." My old Shotokan club still got bloody noses and winded lungs (by accident) despite their safety measures. Accidents are inevitable. Karate is definitely a good MA for sparring if its done with good technique.
well I did edit the end, but give me a chance dude, I'm only trying to join in.
I remember checking a kick in TKD like I did in MT. Got told off. I get the feeling I should drop a "nuff said", but there's more to say.
I've learned many, many times more about fighting in 2 months of MMA than I had in a year of Shotokan. One thing I will give to Karate though, is that the sideways stance protects the groin a lot better than a standard stance. However, that comes with a lot of tradeoffs, like free crippling leg kicks, no power on the front hand, and looking like an idiot.