I don't get it. How is using kote or hockey gloves to protect your hands any different from using a tsuba for the same thing...which, help me out with this, is what the tsuba is designed to do?
Honestly, I really think some people are just trying to find fault with others' practice here...while, in general, being ignorant of what they're talking about. Not saying you specifically, Cliff, but this thread, wow.
I often screw up the process of articulating what i am trying to say. it certainly does look like I was criticizing the type of practice Joe was describing, but ultimately I have not trained with Chiba Sensei and I don't know much about what he was describing. I suspect his characterization of that type of training was tilted towards his own badassness.
But still: once again, if you are training how to use a tsuba in some way, then you need a tsuba. I am talking about techniques where you use the tsuba to deflect or catch the striking sword's blade, perhaps as a means of taking them off balance and throwing them or something like that.
However, I do think there is something wrong with your training if you are relying on your bokken's tsuba to protect your hands from sloppy or imprecise technique that is not supposed to involve the tsuba.
A general example is where your maai is too small, or your cut is too shallow, and somebody's fingers get tapped. Somebody screwed something up, so do you want to ignore the mistake, or fix it? If you go "whatever!" and keep hacking away at each other, I think that really is lazy.
The description of Chiba Sensei's kiri otoshi is interesting because it doesn't sound like you are supposed
to strike your partner on the tsuba, you are trying to hit their wrist. So in this case, it sounds like you want the tsuba there so you learn how to hit the wrist instead. But Joe implied that the tsuba prevents your hand from getting injured by the technique, which is confusing.
If you want to learn how to hit someone's wrist, kote seem to be indicated. But they are not really protective enough for use with bokken.