Re: When should a beginner learn the jo, bokken?
In my case. I faced with contradictions:
When teaching us (the "veterans") to teach, my Sensei suggested teaching weapons after about a year of practice, so the student will have time to learn coordination with just his body and no weapon to focus on.
When I started learning, I got the Jo after less then a month and starting doing "walks", "stances" and basic strikes and blocks while advancing\retreating. I continued practicing the Jo and advancing in it, including "Jo Randori" (similar to a light sparring of Jo Vs Jo, except the point is not to spar - rather to learn). I only started practicing the boken several years later.
When a Shihan of the style (Korindo) was invited to a seminar, he indicated he believes in weapons training from day 1.
My own conclusion was that most teachers, seem to adhere to the way they were taught. My Sensei started with Judo for many years, and only then came to Korindo Aikido. The Shihan I wrote about, had learnt multiple weapons styles of Koryu prior to joining Korindo.
I think any generalization here would be presumptuous. Each student has the right time for him, depending on the teaching style of the particular Sensei. There is not a single "right" or "wrong" here, for each should go his own way.