Re: signing a contract
I find it very troubling that there seems to be an overwhelming sentiment in this thread to disregard what has been established as a good-atmosphered dojo with regular teachers and one [potentially] self-righteous sensei in favour of a rogue group of aikidoka (granted, I'm paraphrasing the biased view of the original poster, but this is all the information we really have to go on), solely on the basis that the former sees fit to utilise contracts and automated payment methods for reasons we have yet to establish.
Why has no one asked what commitments the contract actually requires of the student? Where I train there have been notices go up on the pinboard reminding people that they're several months late with their dues. Several months. In my view, a contract and/or automated payment system would be spot-on to remedy such an issue.
Let's not let the McDojos ruin it for everyone else. Let's ask a few more questions before we advise this person either way. What does the contract actually say?