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?
I don't like the idea of contracts... it's not a health spa, it is a dojo. I understand why some dojo would in this economy. It guarantees payment to help keep the doors open regardless of attendance. However, like I said, not a big fan, it puts off certain students, I don't like putting people off.
But, if you pay for it I'd plan on using it. I'm cheap. One of the reasons I go to as many classes as I do is because I paid my monthly dues! lol..might as well get as much out of my money as I can.