Re: Weapons training leads to good aikido.
Once I had a junior member in my dojo asked me that he can't use his aikido against someone in his school. I asked him why? He said that the other boys kicks are to fast, punches too fast... etc etc.
I don't know why I did this but I went to the weapon's rack and took a jo. I got into ready position... and asked him to come at me with any attack he so desired.
He tried, but as I held my jo in my ready position, he couldn't find any opening to enter. Figuratively... I had tied his spirit down. He just could not enter into my zone.
The point I tried to make to him maybe was that it was easy to get confused and think how should be intercept a fast kicks etc etc... but when you have a weapon... the feeling is so totally different.
Hence my point... is I agreed with Nagababa wrt to weapon training... it add a bit of realism and weapon spirit (sorry for lack of proper word) to aikido.
I guess I am an advocate of weapon training.