Just to give you some background, I train in Iwama Ryu Aikido which I guess is considered the "traditional" style of Aikido.
My Sensei believes that weapons are an integral part of our training. After all we are a samurai based martial art and as is well known the samurai were skilled swordsman. Subsequently our open handed techniques are based upon our sword work. There is a link between our sword and open handed techniques, however I am yet to discover this link at many levels. Keeping that in mind, the link is not evident at the beginning of your training.
It was also interesting that someone mentioned that weapons taking against sword had little application as u are more likely to be attacked by a knife. That is obviously true in todays society, however you can use the same sword taking techniques against someone attacking you with a baseball bat, steel bar, a stick etc. I believe sword taking is just as applicable to everyday life situations, you just need a bit of imagination during your training.