Granted I haven't been studying long, and I would not dare to suggest a 'best' method of training, however it would seem to me that a balance between armed and unarmed training would deliver the most balanced student. My instructors introduce weapons training early on, but only after a firm and solid foundation in unarmed form. Without the form and technique of unarmed training, weapons training and form are lost on the student. I propose balance in the two with a firm foundation upon which to build. However I do believe that the article was trying to convey that the armed training taught the author the lessons necessary to give her the confidence needed for self defense. Which anyone can tell you that just because you go to Aikido classes regularly, that does not necessarily mean that you can defend yourself on the street when attacked.