I think you are looking at kata in a limiting way. As you say, there are, indeed, many parts of Karate: Crippling self-defense, flow, balance, mental attitude, strategy, tactics, strong execution of technique, movement and evasion, spiritual bearing, takedowns, grabs and breaks, etc., etc. Kata, at least the traditional Okinawan ones, contain ALL these parts (for those proponents that have been initiated in them.) What is missing from kata is sport karate, which is a whole different animal. Historically, Karate was not taught from text books or you tube videos. The theory and philosophy was passed down from master to student by oral tradition. The physical knowledge was passed down by kata. Kata was karate's text book, meant to be studied for full understanding. So, in this sense, kata is karate - the key to a style's interpretation of combat.