IMHO, the hand that holds the weapon is always the weapon.
In FMA (Filipino martial arts: Kali, escrima, and arnis) we start with weapons (sticks and blades) and then transfer those same techniques to the hands.
I agree about the over conditioning. I have friends who can barely walk or hold a pencil because to too brutal breaking training. Which is great if you don't intend to live into arthritis.