It's something to do only ritually with a trusted training partner, with the understanding that it is after all, pretty stupid. The only benefit I see from it is gaining 'respect for the blade', which seems to be a recurring theme in the FMAs. However, you can gain the same respect by using aluminum training blades, as they are still pretty scary and they are definitely pointy. You can also train realistically with them, and if they fall on the floor you don't have to worry about your nice fancy sword or knife getting chipped or dulled.
I like to flick balisongs around for solo practice. I use them to slice open UPS packages. I've gotten pretty good, and most cardboard and tape products have learned to fear me.