Cliff where can we see some of that!
It sounds epic.
Well let me hijack the thread for a minute...I'll see if I can tie it into what we are talking about.
Here's a clip of the main Yagyu Shingan ryu Taijutsu group,
under Kenji Shimazu Sensei. This is apparently the same line Ueshiba studied with. This is likely Ueshiba's first exposure to classical weapons training. I believe the origins of Aikido weapons are in here. You can kind of see it in their bojutsu and some of their sword work. They have a lot of sword work that appears to be almost more grappling than fencing, which resembles Kashima Shinto ryu (which Kisshomaru trained formally and, for whatever reason, Saito Sensei's Aikiken strongly resembles.)
Now one thing relevant to the thread here - this group doesn't seem to emphasize the classical sword cut shapes we make in the Aiki arts. But Ono ha Itto ryu and Yagyu Shinkage ryu both do; Takeda is well known as an Itto ryu swordsman. Ueshiba had some training in Yagyu Shinkage ryu and obviously realized that it is the sword style closest to the gods.
Here's a good video of the group's jujustu.
You are not expected to see any aiki in this.
Might be informative to observe the types of attacks . This is training for men wearing armor. You get lots of lapel grabs and such, not so much atemi as an attack (but they have some robust tanto dori stuff, so that should still fit in with the idea that aikido strikes generalize an attack with a weapon). You don't see so much wrist grabbing as though you are going to stop someone from pulling out a sword.
There is another major Yagyu Shingan ryu group, the split occured in the Edo period, and the other group calls their system Yagyu Shingan Ryu Heiho. When they do embu, they wear armor and it looks very rough and not delicate. But they get a little more ritualistic with their empty-hand training, which you can see starting at about 3:00:
Yagyu Shingan ryu Heiho.
Then there is this curiosity, a really high-quality video shot by Gudkarma productions last year at an embu in Tokyo. They do Yagyu Shingan ryu....Heijutsu? Something like that? I think the teacher was given a full license under the Heiho system and sort of ... took the interesting body mechanics to another level. And then he also teaches Daiwado, which is a gendai budo that has some kind of relation to Aikido that I can't recall right now.
Interesting video of a newer branch of YSR and Daiwado.
These groups are some of the only koryu that really maintain an abstracted body training to the level that it is something they do outside of their paired kata and consider it something worth demonstrating to the public.