Re: Why no tsuba?
Back to the point. I think I was extremely lucky to train with and witness the bokken in use and various points emphasized and demonstrated which showed 'the other side of the coin' so to speak in 'standard beliefs' when it came to it's or the swords use.
Now my teacher was not only a bit 'old school' but even went as far as to say that nearly all armour was a trap for the person wearing it and led to lazyness. (yes, lazyness)
I witnessed a viryual procession of 'swordsmen' (at the time, I didn't know whether they were aikidoka, kendo people or whatever) taking lessons from him in what he called the aikido sword. One of his favourite ways of teaching was showing how the other had become too reliant on the tsuba and demonstrated the fact by continuously hitting their knuckles.
His point was that they had relied too heavily on it's protection and so didn't know what to do when it wasn't there from such an attack.
Pros and cons, that's what I'm talking about. Totally different from should you or shouldn't you.
His favourite corrective hits? Knuckles and elbows. Now that would lead to some saying you must have elbow guards and how dangerous it all is and then we go further down the road of less skill.
The other side of the coin. Good movement and skill=no need for tsuba. That's the other end of the equasion.
Now before anyone goes off into personal this and that without knowing one thing about my own personal methods and skill know this only: Contrary to how most teach the sword or bokken I would not teach anyone until they had practiced Aikido for many years. I let them hold the bokken and try small things only to demonstrate certain principles or sometimes to show them why they shouldn't be thinking they know much about it.
My pre requisite is that a person must be at least quite capable of sen no sen before they can learn much useful about the sword at all. Without that, in my view, it's pretty much a waste of time no matter how competent or flash you look or indeed how many skills you know.
That's my personal view. But the point of the tsuba discussion is learning how to protect your hands and knuckles without a tsuba is also a skill worth learning.