Chen Zen said: "That helps, though it sounds like you just said its a sword art without the sword? Sort of."
LOL--that's one way to look at it. I should have said "SOME of the power generation is like the sword". For some branches of Daito Ryu, the sword work (Ono Ha Itto Ryu) is integral to the study of the (Aiki)jujutsu. Tokimune Takeda Soke, even said that all the principles of Daito Ryu are to be found in the sword work (from an interview on Aikido Journal).
According to the history, Sogaku Takeda was the 'reinventer' of the style. There is a lot of debate about how much he changed, and where the material comes from. However, it's said that it was his master Saigo Tonamo (s.p.) that told him to change the techniques for the times. I.E. the sword was fading as a weapon useful in day to day life. So Sogaku applied those principles found in the sword work of Ono Ha Itto Ryu (which he had mastered when he was younger), and added to this the 'Oshikiuchi' (inner barrier teachings) of Saigo. So, you're kind of right to say that it's a sword art without the sword.
I personally love the sword because it gives me something to train when I'm alone. Intially, it was a passing interest, as I really wanted Aikijujutsu. But since I've been making it a part of my daily routine, I find that it makes my unarmed techniques much stronger.