But I think you and Graham are missing a critical point here. Swords have tsuba in "real life" and some techniques utilize the tsuba as part of the waza. Saying it is lazy or going too fast or sloppy *totally* misses the point and is frankly ignorant of the variety of things done in various sword arts and styles.
I do understand that critical point also. It doesn't detract from what I say. It is obviously necessary for such techniques as you describe.
I have observed personally the results of what I am saying ie: people so used to having one that they haven't got a clue what to do when their knuckles keep getting whacked when they haven't.
In these cases they had unawarely become complacent on that point, not their fault as they hadn't been taught. Led into a false sense of security springs to mind as a saying that fits.
Using the word lazy can be a word that shakes a person, can seem harsh, but I assure you it is quite usable for those who want to wake up. You know me on here as someone taught firstly by spiritual principles and Tohei style principles. I also have said how my teacher was old school, quite zen, and he would use such definite terms.
If he found I wasn't keeping centre, keeping one point, keeping zanshin, or even to use too much or sometimes any force he would reprimand in such a way....lazy. Quite a powerful and in the end indisputable word.
However such is that. One thing I also would like to say is my differentiation is to do with training, not combat.
I'm sure all past samurai or knights or whoever did training in their training gear and when they went into battle then wore the appropriate armour.
Meanwhile they could also add into training techniques done with armour or full armour. It all depends on the purpose of that training that day no?
Here's one more lesson I was taught to add to this mix. He would sometimes ask me to attack, however I wanted and I soon learned it was virtually a waste of time for as I went to I was already 'cut' This he described as true sword and that if you ever have to 'touch' swords it's because you are already too late or 'lazy'
Thus no Sparrying of any kind there and the lesson was correct motion defeats the sword albeit that would be very high level and involve no doubt sen no sen etc. When he went into his what we called 'samurai' mode he would say one motion, one cut, finish.
So all in all you are quite right in what you say when you say it depends.