Re: Why no tsuba?
We don't use tsuba in our bokken work as our aiki ken is intended to relate to open hand technique and movement. One of my dojo mates is a Chiba Sensei sandan and he is the only one in the dojo with a tsuba on his bokken. I asked him about it and he explained that it protected the hands and fingers during bokken waza in their practice. He also said that he personally wore hockey gloves when doing weapons work as protection for his fingers and hands. He explained that weapons work was very vigorous and often resulted in smacked fingers and hands, hence the extra protection. He is great fun to train with and he has yet to strike my hands - a testament to his skill and not mine. From that limited perspective it would appear that we don't use tsuba because our practice doesn't require it, and that it would be very valuable to have one if training in a Chiba school.