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Old 06-23-2010, 03:08 PM   #26
Adam Huss
 
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Re: signing a contract

Maggie very true;

Shodan (初段)

Sho (初)

しょしんしゃ a beginner, a novice
ういういしい fresh, unsophisticated

Dan (段)
a step, a grade, a passage

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 06-23-2010, 03:17 PM   #27
RED
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Re: signing a contract

No one likes to consider injury, but, what if you are injured? I've know a guy or two who either got hurt at work or doing sport or what not, and found themselves unable to keep up with training. If you pay 12 months ahead of time contractually, what if you are injured and unable to train...what if you are injured in that dojo? Would that hurt your feelings towards your dojo even more?

you already seem to have some hard feelings for how this has been handled. I don't know what you should do about this, all i know is there's no way you can learn from some one your recent.

MM
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Old 06-23-2010, 03:59 PM   #28
"gullible"
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Yeah, I find the whole discussion kinda odd. If you're uncomfortable, go somewhere else. I don't see it as a particularly difficult decision. If you intend to train in an art like Aikido for a long time, take the time to find a place where you feel comfortable.
Didn't mean to be odd. I guess I was just wondering if others had similar experiences and what they felt about the whole contract thing. I will try the other dojo.
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:11 PM   #29
Aiki1
 
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Re: signing a contract

Many people in Aikido fall into the trap of having to establish a relationship with the teacher being "the big Sensei" as ultimate authority and above questioning etc.

Run.

Run fast in the other direction. Unless for some reason you think the Aikido there is so good that you are willing to sacrifice your "self" for it.

Not a good idea anyway. Run.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:29 PM   #30
David Maidment
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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?

"Never escalate a battle unless forced to do so by your enemy" - Zordon
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:33 PM   #31
Aiki1
 
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
David Maidment wrote: View Post
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?
For me it's not that necessarily, it's all that I'm hearing.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:38 PM   #32
Marc Abrams
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Didn't mean to be odd. I guess I was just wondering if others had similar experiences and what they felt about the whole contract thing. I will try the other dojo.
Gullible:

Nobody views you as odd. I would also strongly suggest that you do not place any sensei on a pedestal This teacher should not be above being accountable to be asked detailed questions about billing issues, class issues...... The dojo is certainly not a democracy, that does not place the Sensei out of bounds to ask questions regarding business policies. I go out of my way to maintain a dialogue with all of my students. It is very important for a teacher/sensei to know where people are at and to listen to suggestions, complaints, compliments,.....

I personally do not favor any contract system and I would have to be given some very persuasive reasons as to why I should implement one. That being said, if a teacher feels that this is a workable business model, then the teacher does have an opportunity to make it work or not work. Many of those contracts do have some exclusion reasons and telling a teacher that certain exclusion reasons would be necessary in order for you to join would be reasonable on your behalf. Things such as relocation, medical reasons.... are some prime examples.

To me, it always boils down to finding the best teacher possible and making a serious commitment to learn from that teacher for as long as I possibly can.

Good Luck,

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:45 PM   #33
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Didn't mean to be odd. I guess I was just wondering if others had similar experiences and what they felt about the whole contract thing. I will try the other dojo.
Interesting again:

Over here you won't find a dojo or club where you don't have to sign a contract.

So to not train in a good dojo with a - seems so - good teacher because of having to sign a one-year-contract after six weeks sounds very, very strange in my ears.

May I ask how in the US you normaly become a member of a dojo if not by signing a contract?
In wich way do you "fix" this?
And what about people who don't pay their dues?
And do you only pay for the classes, you attend?

Interesting again.

Carsten
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:41 PM   #34
Janet Rosen
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
May I ask how in the US you normaly become a member of a dojo if not by signing a contract?
I've been a member of 4 dojos. None required a contract.

Each required a modest annual fee + that dues be paid monthly.

Two of the four were set up for automatic credit card billing, but this could be stopped easily in case of withdrawing due to either a temporary stoppage (leave of absence) or permanent one (stopping training).

Janet Rosen
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:21 PM   #35
Keith Larman
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
May I ask how in the US you normaly become a member of a dojo if not by signing a contract?
In wich way do you "fix" this?
And what about people who don't pay their dues?
And do you only pay for the classes, you attend?

Interesting again.

Carsten
Some pay monthly, some pay every three months which gives them a small discount. If you're going to take a leave you simply inform the powers that be.

If you stop paying someone will talk to you and try to work something out.

Some people prefer to work on a verbal agreement and a handshake.

I usually encourage new adult students to sign up and pay for three months as that gives them a small price break. I also suggest that they give themselves the three months to really get used to what they're doing and try to commit to sticking it out for all three. But some still come a few times then never return. And I'm not sure I'd feel all that good about taking someone's money for an entire year just to have them drop out a month or two later. Lots of gyms work that way and make a great deal of extra money on that sort of thing. I understand it. I'm just not sure it's something I would do.

WRT to the OP I really don't see a problem. Apart from concerns about contracts or unapproachable sensei, if he/she's not comfortable they should probably look elsewhere as I can't imagine they're going to learn to like working with someone they see as an aloof, unapproachable teacher. That's a tough thing for a beginner.

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Old 06-23-2010, 07:29 PM   #36
"gullible"
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
David Maidment wrote: View Post
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?
It says that I will pay $XXX per month, automatcially deducted from my checking account, for 12 months and that it is not breakable even if I am unable to utilize the services. It spells our late fees and legal action if I have insufficient funds to cover the automatic withdrawal. That's pretty much it.

It's similar to a health club that I almost joined once, except the health club had many, many different classes and services and was breakable if I moved.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:40 PM   #37
David Maidment
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Re: signing a contract

Then in that case I would look elsewhere unless you feel comfortable enough in the dojo that you think you'll be happy there for 12 months.

Legal action seems a bit harsh, but you also said that you've had until now to 'sample' the dojo, so it's perhaps a fair-enough proposal. The McDojos that [literally] knock on my door won't even let you watch a class before you hand over hundreds of pounds to them.

If your sensei never approached you with a contract, do you think you would have continued training there for several months to come? For me, that would indicate my answer.

"Never escalate a battle unless forced to do so by your enemy" - Zordon
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:22 PM   #38
Michael Hackett
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Re: signing a contract

We have a contract of sorts......it does not bind the student to a time period, but does require the student to pay his monthly dues by a certain date each month or pay a nominal late fee. It also spells out the various liability issues involved.

We do have a beginner program which gives them three months of training and a gi at a big discount and saves them a few bucks. They can attend all classes during that time and play with all the other reindeer.

A couple of years ago we had two brothers sign up for the beginner's program and they were great people and great students. They came to us in frustration as both were stuck in two-year contracts with a chain kung-fu school. The contracts were onerous in my opinion and I personally would not have joined that school, but they were young and didn't know any better. They finished up their kung fu contracts, completed the beginners trial period and moved on to a small and traditional kung fu school. They still pop in now and again to renew friendships and while we miss them on the mat, are happy that they found what they were looking for. They both have said they learned more in one month in their new school than they did in two years at the first.

Michael
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:11 PM   #39
"gullible"
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
David Maidment wrote: View Post
Then in that case I would look elsewhere unless you feel comfortable enough in the dojo that you think you'll be happy there for 12 months.

Legal action seems a bit harsh, but you also said that you've had until now to 'sample' the dojo, so it's perhaps a fair-enough proposal. The McDojos that [literally] knock on my door won't even let you watch a class before you hand over hundreds of pounds to them.

If your sensei never approached you with a contract, do you think you would have continued training there for several months to come? For me, that would indicate my answer.
Yes. Because if I decided I didn't like it or there were things that popped up that I couldn't live with, I could leave. If I had joined, I would have had to stay or pay as if I were there. And it would seem there might be other hidden costs or obligations that I wouldn't know to ask about, even if I could ask, before signing the contract.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:26 PM   #40
Marc Abrams
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
It says that I will pay $XXX per month, automatcially deducted from my checking account, for 12 months and that it is not breakable even if I am unable to utilize the services. It spells our late fees and legal action if I have insufficient funds to cover the automatic withdrawal. That's pretty much it.

It's similar to a health club that I almost joined once, except the health club had many, many different classes and services and was breakable if I moved.
Wow!

I would frankly inform that sensei that you would like to train at this dojo, but not under unreasonable terms. i would explain that there needs to be some reasonable reasons to end the contract such as relocation, medical reasons, loss of employment..... If that teacher is not willing to reconsider this unreasonable contract, then I would widen your search and be willing to travel longer to find competent training under reasonable terms. I am truly sorry that this teacher has such a contract and you have such limited options.

Good Luck

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:12 PM   #41
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: signing a contract

I don't much care for contracts but from a business standpoint they create a guarenteed regular income. I think there should be resonable clauses that will let you out of it, loss of job, being injured, things of that nature. With that in mind how many folks have a gym membership that they pay monthly fees via direct debit or otherwise even if they don't go to the gym.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:23 AM   #42
"gullible"
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Lyle Laizure wrote: View Post
I don't much care for contracts but from a business standpoint they create a guarenteed regular income. I think there should be resonable clauses that will let you out of it, loss of job, being injured, things of that nature. With that in mind how many folks have a gym membership that they pay monthly fees via direct debit or otherwise even if they don't go to the gym.
I haven't joined a gym or health club either. But the difference I see is that a gym/health club has wide open hours and many services (spa, pool, etc) as well as classes so I could find something to utilize even if were injured or was working odd/extra hours, etc. But I'm not interested in a gym at this point. I just want to try aikido, not sign my life or my bank account away to it.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:49 AM   #43
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: signing a contract

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Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I haven't joined a gym or health club either. But the difference I see is that a gym/health club has wide open hours and many services (spa, pool, etc) as well as classes so I could find something to utilize even if were injured or was working odd/extra hours, etc. But I'm not interested in a gym at this point. I just want to try aikido, not sign my life or my bank account away to it.
Totally understandable. You need to know that the dojo is a good fit for you and you a good fit for the dojo and that is hard to commit to getting to know them if you are going to be locked into a contract. I offer students a couple of free classes before they make a finanical commitment, though two free classes is hardly enough to figure out if you and the dojo are a good fit. I don't require contracts but I understand them. Good luck with your search.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 06-24-2010, 11:51 AM   #44
RED
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Re: signing a contract

Personally, if I willingly signed a contract, knowing what that contract meant, I'd honor it.
If I signed out of foolishness, I'd still honor it and never do something that foolish again.

MM
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:29 PM   #45
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Re: signing a contract

I wouldn't want to sign the contract myself. That is a lot of money to put up out front when you don't know what lies ahead in your life. You haven't even checked out the other dojo yet. Take a hiatus from this dojo to "think about it" and go check out the other dojo. Now that you have a feeling of what you like, you can better compare the other dojo. Keep in mind though, that just because it IS different doesn't mean you wouldn't like that as well. Try it out and see. Best of luck.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:40 AM   #46
Darryl Cowens
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Re: signing a contract

12 month contract for an activity I'd only been doing six weeks?.... No way, absolutely no way
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:30 AM   #47
lbb
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
True Robert, and as an aside there are always the "got my black belt and now I'm out" people...which baffles me. You'd think they'd be more pumped about learning after shodan shinsa, but I guess they figure they have the whole aikido think on lock.
I don't think it's that, so much. I get the feeling that more commonly, it's like that jolt when you come to the bottom of a flight of stairs and you were expecting a few more steps: you've been so focused on this task that you haven't been looking around you, just trudging along with your eyes on your feet...and suddenly, wham, you're "there". You look around, and for the first time you think, "Uhhhh...now what?" And then you find out now what: more training doing exactly the same things you were doing before you got shodan, only without the excitement and motivation of an impending test. Or maybe you have been thinking about what it would be like once you had shodan, and you find out that the reality is nothing like that. Or maybe you really shortchanged the rest of your life or neglected an injury or whatever to push through the test, and now those chickens are coming home to roost. It's all common enough in people who have worked long and hard for a goal, but who have developed tunnel vision along the way. Emerging from the tunnel can be a rude shock.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:57 AM   #48
Adam Huss
 
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I don't think it's that, so much. I get the feeling that more commonly, it's like that jolt when you come to the bottom of a flight of stairs and you were expecting a few more steps: you've been so focused on this task that you haven't been looking around you, just trudging along with your eyes on your feet...and suddenly, wham, you're "there". You look around, and for the first time you think, "Uhhhh...now what?" And then you find out now what: more training doing exactly the same things you were doing before you got shodan, only without the excitement and motivation of an impending test. Or maybe you have been thinking about what it would be like once you had shodan, and you find out that the reality is nothing like that. Or maybe you really shortchanged the rest of your life or neglected an injury or whatever to push through the test, and now those chickens are coming home to roost. It's all common enough in people who have worked long and hard for a goal, but who have developed tunnel vision along the way. Emerging from the tunnel can be a rude shock.
Are you trying to tell me you don't get special powers the morning after your shodan test? Lol.

I guess what I was trying to say something similar, but I was using sarcasm while you actually explained it, thank you.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:53 PM   #49
RED
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Re: signing a contract

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It's all common enough in people who have worked long and hard for a goal, but who have developed tunnel vision along the way. Emerging from the tunnel can be a rude shock.
That's a very true statement. I remember having a former NFL player do a speech during one of my college classes. He said after he won the super bowl he looked around and found all his team mates hitting the gym preparing for the next football season. He on the other hand institutionalized himself for suicidal thoughts. His entire purpose of the game was winning that superbowl. Unfortunately the game became his life, so when he reached that goal he felt like his life was over; he hit the summit. He later quit the game altogether when he realized that he didn't do football because he loved football, he did it for the superbowl ring. He said he played football to win the ring, while his team mates played football because they were football players.

Maybe Aikido can get a little like that for everyone every now and then? Maybe there can be this feeling of "what next, where do I go from here?" after shodan. I think when you hit that feeling you might have to do some soul searching. Figure out whether you trained for years to get that belt or if you trained because you are an Aikidoka. If you trained for the belt, maybe you should quit--you hit your summit. Aikidoka trained because that's what defines them as Aikidoka, regardless of rank.

Last edited by RED : 06-25-2010 at 02:57 PM.

MM
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:00 AM   #50
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Re: signing a contract

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Thank you for writing this. You helped me understand my problem. The sensei at the contract dojo is "The Sensei". I don't feel comfortable asking him for any of these things because he is "The Sensei". It's also why I didn't ask for more clarification. On the mat, he is above questioning and carries the ultimate authority. The relationship is entirely one sided (as is the contract), so I don't even feel comfortable asking him what would happen if I got injured and couldn't train, etc.
Also, and this is just my impression as a new person, I feel I can't trust him with business negotiations because he was not up front about the one year commitment, and because he hold himself above questioning. I don't know now what other obligations might be waiting that I haven't been told about. Will I be pressured to attend seminars at other dojos or here that I don't feel comfortable going to or can't afford? Will the dojo have fundraisers that I am pressured to contribute to? I also don't feel that I can be truthful with him about why I will not be joining the dojo. I will spend a month or two at the second dojo and tell him only that I am thinking over my decision and exploring other options.
run away, fast!
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