It sounds as though you feel it is hazardous? I don't intend any disrespect with this comment. Your anecdote is one where uke has the jo. You describe teaching students to be with the jo. You describe it as a partner. I'm simply saying you don't seem to regard it as an extension of yourself in the way that a weapon must be.
I'm very clumsy with the jo myself, but I've made a lot of progress with the sword lately. I can tell you that kata training, assiduously, under the tutelage of a good instructor DOES work wonders with regards to weapons. As your level of comfort and proficiency increase, it opens new doors for expression of your Aikido.
Thank you Cliff. Hazardouse? No. Seeing it as an extension of self- yes. As I've said in previous thread one of the principles I practice is to 'be with' hence the exercises in the video. Only when you're comfortable with and comfortable moving with and striking with does it become part of you. Thus an extension of yourself. This principle applies to all weapons and even learning to drive a car does it not? At first you feel separate to it, then you gradually get used to it until it is like an extension of you. That's all the video was designed to show.
Kata done with any weapon to me have the same purpose, that of you and your body getting used to those actions until the movements become smooth and easy. Again no different to any other activity where you drill a movement over and over again. There are finger drills done in learning the piano.
So from this viewpoint I can do certain numbered moves from a kata, all well and good, but they may not be enough for me or I may prefer to concentrate on one particular part and keep practicing that one until comfortable. For example I may practice cutting from tai-sabake over and over etc. So I think I agree with your view there.
If I'm reading you correctly you seem to imply that I see weapons not as weapons which in one way is true.
I practice being attacked by a weapon, lets say someone thrusting through with the jo. At first of course to me it is a very dangerouse situation and I feel tense just being in that position. Then no different to what happens in practicing kata as I get used to it and the ways of moving and taking the jo and executing techniques from that I of course get more comfortable and more proficient. Now I personally find that the principles I use in normal Aikido or empty hand if you like, when applied to the receiving of the attack are exactly the same, or at least that's my aim. So I welcome the attack and move to be with it rather than against it and doing it this way works for me.
So by moving to be with rather than against it with the feeling of welcoming it makes the significance of it's danger dissappear, makes the motion more in tune with Aiki etc. At those times it feels like it's not my enemy at all it's just part of me coming back to me. This is how it is to me rightly or wrongly. Of course I am not saying that makes it easy or that lot's of practice on all the variables isn't needed.
Finally, as you say you found you are a bit clumsy with the jo I can only say that for me personally I found that moving my center to align with the center of the jo made it much more comfortable for me.