I am new to aikido and observed classes at two dojos in the town I live. The first dojo seemed a little better organized, the senseis taught all the classes and seemed to take an active interest in all of the students. The second I was more on my own, with whoever the senior most person who showed up teaching classes each night and no one looking out for the new folks. So I signed up for a 6 week introduction at the first dojo. I was told that after six weeks, I could join the dojo as a member and that they used a "service agreement" with a "thrid party billing agency". I guess I should have asked exactly what this meant because after six weeks of training and making friends at the dojo, the sensei presented my with a year long contract which stated only that I could not break it for any reason and that I would pay dues for 12 months regardless of anything. I don't feel comfortable with this and am wishing I had gone to the second dojo (where they accept dues by the month and advertise "no contracts"). Two questions: Was I misled by the first dojo, or should I have been more inquisitive before signing up for the 6 weeks? Are contracts like this typical in the aikido world?
You have answered your own question-you should have been more inquisitive before signing up for 6 weeks.In my experience most aikido dojo do not have contracts.While the sensei may be ok some guys are now teaching people aikido as if the people were conveyor belt chickens ie lets get them in , get the money ,
quantity not quality of training.