Mark Uttech wrote:
Weapon training from the beginning is a good way to learn that weapons are not "weapons" but tools to help you learn and build on body movement. Nothing more. Nothing less. In gassho
- Mark Uttech
I would say just the opposite Mark, in fact I would say that the empty hand practice is not really empty hand practice, but in fact weapons technique.
In Aikido you really have no choice but to train weapons from the beginning, as weapons fighting is the only kind addressed in Aikido's traditional technical syllabus.