...in a temporary sense in any case.
I don't know if this is just my experience, but as someone who has been involved in the martial arts since childhood and is now approaching their mid-twenties, I have found it nearly impossible to find actually good, practical karate schools, anywhere. My original club was great as an introduction to martial arts in a hard, 70s kickboxing-karate kind of a way, but in any case, having lived in two of Europe's biggest cities, and my studies having taken me quite literally all over the world, I am still perplexed by the undeniable absolute dominance of clubs that do nothing but so-called "sport karate", but which are nonetheless convinced that they are some kind of bastion of "tradition", that what they are doing is in some way an effective martial art, and are completely inflexible and unreasonable when challenged in any way.
Evidently, practical karate is on the rise thanks to the absolutely brilliant work of people like Iain here, but until it is the norm and the WKF and friends have been ousted for WCA type organisations, or at least until it is possible to find actually good clubs with systematic ease, I have now decided there is just no point being actively involved with karate (beyond going to Iain and co.'s seminars etc. when possible, and of course working solo kata and imagined applications etc.) - it just isn't efficient having to constantly and consistently scour the world for training partners in the place of having a club of some description where I can be learning. I figure that my time at this stage is much better spent just (at least temporarily) leaving karate to one side and rather absolutely committing to something else (be it judo, bjj, tai chi or whatever), instead of spending half of my available training time trying to facilitate the possibility to train and hunting out mma-style bouts for self-testing.
Beyond just my personal mini-rant there (sorry), I have been thinking in any case: I am willing to venture that what I have found is not just my experience but also rather the case for the vast majority of practically-minded karate-ka out there that aren't fortunate enough to have been brought up through a practical club. We can pussy-foot around being respectful etc. when talking about solely-sporting groups, and sure if people enjoy tag-"sparring" so be it, but that doesn't change the fact that nobody has ever started karate to learn how to get their arse handed to them in self defence or fighting/combat sports, and that as such said sport karate really doesn't operate in good faith or add anything positive to the total sum of good karate as it were. As such, and though it pains me to say it, part of me thinks that the best advice that could possibly be given to sport karate-ka that have had the practical revelation (and especially those lower down the food chain), is to just steer clear away from karate, to stop it outright (unless of course they have an Iain-style club available), and just to move on to whatever good, practical club is around and available, regardless of style.