George S. Ledyard wrote:
Perhaps it would have been better to have had my fingers smashed so I could appear to be ideologically pure.
ha ha ha! I expect that was a verbal dig in my ribs to wake me up
I think I know the move you are talking about George where they cut directly towards you and you cut directly towards them - it is very intimidating, but the cutting action itself throws their weapon to the side in our practise (without having to actually move your sword sideways or utilise a tsuba). Maybe this is unrealistic, since the wooden sword is much thicker than the steel sword. For me I only practice weapon work for what it provides for unarmed practise (and for me it provides alot). I don't know how the tsuba relates to unarmed practice. This defence described above related to blending e.g. ikkyo/irimi-nage relationship, and the ability to enter even when their force is strong (without conflicting).
P.S. I'd agree about aikiken deriving from Saito (and the reason he only taught Saito the full aikiken, as I understand it, is because students became obsessed with weapon aspects!). However I also think more recently that iaido has infiltrated aikido, since many aikido practitioners do iaido and incorporate this into aikido weapon work. For me I'm not sure this is useful - aikiken is not just a weapon work 'add-on' for aikido.