I would like to apologize for being less than clear in my previous posts. My last one, in particular, was made when hurried, rather than when I had time to pay more attention to detail. As a result I've delayed my response. Hopefully a little extra time will help me to be more clear, despite being a bit tired.
I intend primarily to clarify my previous points, and address donaldj's points in this post. Of course, I am going to try to make this point of some use to the original poster asking the question, and other readers as well. In order to make the post as a whole more comprehensible, I am going to refer to previous points by theme, rather than chronologically.
This post is going to be a big one, as I am attempting not only to make points, but to undo damage my previous clumsiness may have caused.
Making a very strong case for my standpoint is not saying my philosophy is the only acceptable one.
You are quite correct sir. However, there are a few points in particular of your previous posts gave me the impression that you do not view the policy of delaying weapon training any longer than past the first few classes as a reasonable or respectable one. In this specific instance, you have a strong preference, which I can respect. However, you seem to me to be disparaging a position I also respect.
Train at a school that will put a weapon in your hand within the first couple classes. If the instructor says "Weapons are reserved for higher ranks", run away.
So, if you're in a violent altercation, and you know you're going to want a weapon, why not train in weapons FIRST, and why not ensure you adjust your every day carried items to include weapons??
First, you tell the original poster to run away from those instructors who institute any delay in weapon training. Second, you use what may be a rhetorical question. When the rhetorical question "Why not do X?" is asked, the implied point is that there is no good reason.
Now, this question may not have been rhetorical, and accepting this possibility, I gave an initial hurried stab at answering it, while also responding to some of your other comments on the matter. More of that exchange is below.
Pretty much any technique you learn with a weapon can be applied to open hand, and vice versa.
I'm aware of several common techniques that can be adapted. The many variations on the hammer-fist, for example, would be one of my techniques of choice with a kubaton or a knife. There are also several that would be extremely awkward to adapt, depending on the weapon chosen. Many of the techniques for linear thrusting attacks with weapons, for example. Could they be used with no weapon in hand? Sure. But it'd be a pretty dumb idea. You'd wind up breaking or spraining your wrist unless you adapted the technique far enough that it became a different technique. Similarly, unless you have a weapon designed around enhancing the punch, the punch would be a bad technique to adapt to use with a weapon.
I am also aware that there are some systems that are specifically designed around teaching you one set of moves that can be adapted between a variety of implements.
For your paragraph on adapting technique, you seem to go full circle... Yes, techniques can be adapted to weapon and open hand. Yes, some of them are not applicable. The need to have some sense and filter these does not invalidate the point. But honestly, why train in one thing when you can train in 5 things simultaneously? Understanding the similarity in technique with a weapon to its open hand counterpart to other weapons is paramount in ensuring your mat time is not wasted.
I disagree with your initial stated point that "Pretty much any technique you learn with a weapon can be applied to open hand, and vice versa."
However, a more moderate version of this statement "There are many techniques that can be used both armed and unarmed, with minimal adoption" is one that I agree with.
I attempted to draw this distinction in haste and now readily admit that I did so clumsily, and in a rather incomprehensible way. I left out the thesis statement of the paragraph, and muddled much of the rest of it. Once again, I apologize.
There are a large number, and wide variety of armed techniques that cannot be adapted to useful unarmed techniques without altering them, and visa versa.
As just one example, the vast majority of techniques in Kendo, or Bushido (the modern sword school) require two hands on a single weapon. Most of the moves involved, if you simply remove the sword, and leave the move the same, will be completely unusable. Blocking with an object that is not there doesn't tend to result in a successful block. Some other techniques could be adapted (a downward strike could be turned into a double-fisted hammer fist), however this would require a moderate amount of adaption, and still not be the most useful technique.
I could devote more time and space to this, however I am merely pointing out that I think you have over-stated an otherwise valid point. I also agree with the idea that a system that focuses on moves that can be adapted between unarmed and armed moves is a good and valid choice. That is the choice you are advocating, not trying to turn Kendo into an unarmed art. As such, unless someone wants to continue this branch of the conversation, I think would mostly be a distraction from more important points.
Now, back to the main question I'd like to address, and some of the discussion on it: "Why delay training in weapons at all?"
In many cases instructors want to make sure that they instil control first, and provide a safe learning environment, in order to make sure that they minimize any injuries that occur when they introduce weapon training. This control training comes as a part of the open hand training that they provide first. They also typically train with padded weapons at the start. Martial arts training often involves some level of injury. Many responsible instructors attempt to minimize the incident and intensity of injury. This is one reason to delay weapon training.
If the trainee is not in control and is being unsafe, it is a partial failure on the instructor's part. The instructor has not instilled the correct compliance, respect, and learning mindset for that trainee.
This actually goes to the point that I am trying to make. Instilling compliance, respect, and a learning mind set in a student takes time. A good instructor ensures the safety of his students as a part of method of training. One technique in the instructor's arsenal is to delay introducing weapons, or their training analogues until the students he is going to train with those analogs have learned sufficient training safety to no longer be a risk to themselves and others. The level of control needed will obviously vary with the specific weapons the instructor is training the students to use, and the specific techniques the instructor is teaching them to use the weapons with.
If the instructor has a very small class, he may well make the decision on how long, if at all, to delay this training for each student. This can work very well if the instructor hand picks respectful students who deeply trust the instructor, or if the instructor does not use belts. In other cases, the instructor he risks engendering resentment and jealousy. It is a manageable risk, but a risk all the same.
If the instructor has a large class, he may well use his experience to determine when the vast majority of students have the required safety mindset, and set a standard belt level at which he begins training in weapons, only making exceptions from there when he sees that a student is ready much sooner, or is not yet ready (though this second can be ameliorated by making a lack of training safety a reason not to advance the student to the next belt).
A delay in training with weapons is one tool in the arsenal that the instructor can bring to bear to ensure the safety of his students, and using it, when the instructor thinks t is necessary is a decision I can respect.
Now, I am not advocating the stance that "only black-belts can train with weapons". I personally think that this is a poor decision, and is rarely made for safety reasons. But focusing on the dojo's basic unarmed techniques for the first few belts/months is a decision I can easily respect.
That said, I think that there are a number of weapon techniques that can be safely trained with from an early stage, especially in drill form with training analogs, and I also respect the decision to incorporate weapon use early on.
There are enough techniques in any style, or system of self defense, that it will take years to learn all of them, and there are a huge number of respectable orders of teaching those techniques.
But honestly, why train in one thing when you can train in 5 things simultaneously? Understanding the similarity in technique with a weapon to its open hand counterpart to other weapons is paramount in ensuring your mat time is not wasted.
As for the systems that teach one set of moves and adapt them to multiple implements and to open hand, that is precisely what I am suggesting. It is the fastest way to proficiency, the fastest way to reliable protection, and truthfully, a far faster way to martial understanding than learning sets of disparate styles and techniques uniquely.
And this goes to a difference in philosophy. You are arguing from the perspective of what it takes to follow a lightning fast path to basic competence at self defensible. That's a valid point, and may well be what the original poster wants. If so, ddog27, donaldj's suggestions have been very good ones.
However, ddog27 seems to be asking questions from the perspective of a complete neophite, who is only aware of some media representations of martial arts, and may not be aware of various training philosophies, and might be interested in martial arts that have benefits even if you are never attacked. After all, the motto of the Podcast is "Helping you to live a better life if times get tough, or even if they don't."
One such art, if studied under a true master of the art (rather than just a physical therapist that took a one week class), is taiji chuan (Tai Chi). This art is not one that focuses on "learning sets of disparate styles and techniques", but rather is a comprehensive art that focuses on the techniques of moving softly. A master will often teach how to be soft to such a degree that it permeates other aspects of a person's life.
Taiji is a healing art, and the very process of training in the art has been known to send a wide number of conditions into remission, including causing high blood pressure to plummet, and greatly reduce diabetes. It is good for joint pain, and has been suggested by several hospitals to their nerological patients as well. Is it a "miracle cure" that can cure everything and anything? No. But it good for you in several ways.
Taiji is an art that takes a great deal of time to study. Reaching basic combat competence in this art can take years. However, like many soft style martial arts, masters of the art are very skilled, and can take on many opponents (even masters of hard style martial arts) at the same time, and win. If ddog27 wants to be able to eventually protect himself and his family from multiple opponents, Taiji would be a very good art to study.
However, as one of my instructors put it... he could teach us all of the Taiji forms that exist, and all of the moves, but if we do not have softness, there is no point.
Taiji eventually teaches the use of weapons, including the sword, spear, and the fan (many of the techniques of fan use would be usable with a kubaton or a flashlight or, as intended, a fan). These are useful skills in and of themselves. However, part of the point of teaching them is to use the additional weight and leverage to show how the student is still hard (not yet soft), so that the student can correct himself. If you introduce the weapons too soon, they can lead to the student using more force, rather than more softness. This can actually retard, or even prevent, greater mastery of the style.
To summarize this last point: You are arguing from the perspective of seeking the fastest path to basic competence. This is a respectable choice, depending on a person's needs. However, I am arguing that other paths worthy of respect place some degree of emphasis on higher levels of eventual mastery, or other benefits to the art aside from it's obvious martial uses.