Oh, the parenthetical note "here, for instance" is supposed to contain a link to this piece
from Rob Redmond's 24 Fighting Chickens karate blog. Sorry I left it out.
Thanks for all the feedback, everybody.
I'm with you on all points Matthew.
I was looking for a school to join for several months when I saw my school's bi monthly paper in a bathroom stall advertising an Aikido club. I contacted the faculty member listed, and he was totally chill. "Yeah, come on down on Monday, we'll have fun." After getting quotes of upwards of 150 dollars a month at some of the schools in the area, and they ALL have contracts, I figured I would be a moron if I skipped a free class. Even if it sucked, there was no reason not to check it out.
Now 8 months later I am going to classes at the club twice a week with a teacher who is fine with ridiculously bad puns, and a 'uniform' consisting of sweat pants and a tshirt. I'm also a paying member of his teacher's dojo about 50 miles away that I go to 3 times a week, with the actual gi, and we have fun and bad puns down there as well. Sensei Ken's quote on all of the seriousness, contracts, and politics you find in most schools is my favorite. "I don't care about any of that stuff man, I just want to do Aikido."
So now I am ordering some club supplies and shipping them to Sensei Ken myself since he charges no dues, and I'm arguing with Shihan Jamie about taking my money for dues, since I missed a month and he insisted I shouldn't pay since I wasn't able to make it to classes.
If you like this club, everything else will work itself out. Go for it.
And if you're ever in an area with a Wadokai dojo, feel free to drop in on some of my family members for a training session or two.