Re: The role of weapons in Aikido
For school that do weapon in aikido, the idea is to improve the use of your body.
Not like very thing in aikido it varies from style to style and sensei to sensei
Aki weapon for what I have seen so far do miss a method to enter safely against someone fighting from a conservative position to make it a true weapon system.
That being said all the techniques are sound and you will find them in many fencing manual.
In lots of way, aikido is fencing with your open hand in the same way you would use a weapon. Speed and control with a weapon comes from not being tense and using "core" strength, more that shoulder and harms. The drawing of you opponent is a very fencing move as well as the continuity of movement (aka flowing)
As well as it has been mentioned before there is direct connection between actual sword move and technique