After all, it's much harder to get aiki out to the tip of a sword or spear.
I might be remembering incorrectly, and I'm sorry if I am, but I think i recall Toby Threadgill saying somewhere that he believes weapons work is an important way to developing an aiki body...or something akin to that.
I believe you've said something to the effect that aiki has nothing to do with the other person in the interaction (am I mistaken?)...what about when the other person is also using aiki? Isn't there at that point a kind of searching into the body of the other to find the inside track? In other words, it seems like developing an aiki body (self-oriented?) is a kind of step-one whereas applying it to another aiki body (self-other-oriented) might be a kind of step-two. Does that make sense?