Amusingly enough, one of the biggest questions 'outside of Japan' amongst karateka, is exactly that... "What style do you practice?" Ironically, here in Nippon, whilst politics obviously still exist, there is just karate-do, competition and traditional. The biggest divisions are not style, but rather the manners/main objectives of training.
The three main 'manners of training' are: (1) Full-contact karate - get in the ring for a KO (such as Kyokushin, Seidokaikan and others); (2) Sports karate (focused on WKF rules competition karate) - look pretty doing kata and tag to score points in kumite; and (3) Budo/Bujutsu karate, which is focused on 'ippon technique', that is karate (kihon, kata and kumite) with a 'single killing blow' as the prime objective -"Continued life or death in an instant."
So when someone says they practice Uechi-ryu, Wado-ryu, Shorin-ryu, Seido, Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu, Shukokai, Kyokushinkai, Ryuei-ryu, Shotokan etc.., it really doesn't say much. The real issue is how they practice, and what they sincerely practice for. Do they train for full-contact fighting, sports karate, or for application in the real world. One may argue that they train for a combination of these, however, this is impossible, if a reliable level expertise is desired in any of these fields.
© André Bertel, Japan (2009).