my sensei has several of the weapons scrolls given by saito sensei and has an impressive technical knowledge of all the weapons techniques taught in iwama style aikido.
we are required to do saburi for at least a year before taking part in partner practice, and this year also involves practicing every day (at home if not at the dojo).
after this year we take part in partner practice and over time i have been taught pretty much every technique in the weapons curriculum. at the moment we are doing the 31 jo-no awase partner practice.
i think this is an experiment (for lack of better words) on my sensei's behalf in testing the effectiveness of weapons in the learning process. by shodan grading we are expected to show just about all the weapons techniques. the kumi-tachi, kumi-jo, jusan no-jo awase, san ju-ichi no-jo awase, ken-tai-jo and so on.
this is pretty much the way i have trained since starting aikido so i have no way of telling wether if i had trained without the weapons my progress would still be the same. although many little revelations come to me during weapons training that i can apply directly in the tai-jitsu which follows.
im interested if any people out there have gone from a dojo not training regular weapons to one that does and felt a marked improvement in progress, or nothing. and those who have gone from a dojo training regular weapons to one that doesnt and felt any difference.