(The same was true at the dojo of Gleeson Sensei). I see merit in both practices but the sword work was more spirited in the Saotome system. Perhaps the wooden suba offers a false sense of security but consistently the katas at these other schools approach the speed and force that is only equaled in the encounters between instructors in my own school. What I cannot tell is if it results from a real (or imagined) sense of safety or simply because weapons work is integrated into the curriculum at the other federations.
My experience is that Gleason Sensei's dojo sets an unusually high standard for weapons work. That may or may not have anything to do with their use of tsubas, except that I would be extremely reluctant to face Gleason Sensei without one.