I have been doing Shotokan for about 34 years now and my path has been kind of a wobbly one. I started Karate when I was six...please...dont do the math
and I trained for two years with a group that was run by a great instructor that was going through a really rough patch and it affected his club. I left and took up Judo as a young kid. Loved it and stuck with it till I tested and graded for Shodan, to many injuries left me knowing that this was not my path. At one point during my judo I missed Karate training and was doing both at the same time. The club I joined was the JKA of Manitoba and right off I loved it.
After several years I began wanting to train in other styles as well. Friends of mine were all bragging about how dynamic their martial art was and I did not see alot of dynamics in Karate. yes their is explosive power but the fancy spinning and grappling was missing. At one point or another I trained in Tae Kwon do, Aikido, Wrestling, kick boxing, Kendo, Kung fu and pretty much you name it. But none of them had the feel of Karate and what I was looking for in martial arts. And after a breif break from karate (normally less than a few months) I was back in the dojo mad that I had lost so much time.
I can truely say that I tried every "next big thing" as it was coming up in the world of Martial arts and was less than impressed with it. When I wanted to compete in a sport I went to Judo and kick boxing, when I wanted a spiritual path I took up Kendo and kung fu and found that Karate if done right, had deeper roots in these ares than the sport or spiritual martial art that I left it for and quickly returned to the club.
As a side effect of leaving and coming back so often it took me a long time to grade for Shodan as my instructor did not see that I was serious about Karate and the first two times I tested for the rank I was asked how serious I was and failed. Not for lack of training ability but for the fact that I would be doing Karate and Judo or Karate and Aikido or some such combo.
Once I realized that Karate is what I make of it and training in other styles can only back up my Karate....and only if I do Karate more than the other style...well thats when I started to get it. To me Karate is about adapting the practice to suit your personal needs at the time.
If you want spiritual training, one that is mental and makes you focus more, turn to Kata and avoid bunkai training, just do the Kata to move and let yourself grow as a person by looking inside and using them as a tool. If you want to learn self defense combine bunkai and kumite as your focus when training and really work on live action drills. If sport is your fancy then work on Kata and Kumite for sport. The point is that Karate has many aspects to it and leaving Karate because it "lacks" what you are looking for means you are not looking hard enough.
I admint I have started doing some Jiu Jitsu, but its mainly to learn how to get off the ground if taken down. You Have to train to work on the holes that you may find in your style. And the only hole I could find in my Karate training ability (note I did not say my ability) was if I was taken down to the ground I did not know how to get up.
the whole world can be your Dojo. But you do eventually have to find a home for your Karate training. A home with a solid family to help you grow!
Even monkeys fall from trees