One thing I have learnt is that a contract does not guarentee payment. As a matter of fact in the ma community more and more people are becoming against contracts, but if the studio you join has one then it is your responsability to ensure that you can afford this serice for 3 or so years. It is no different than a gym membership at say 24 Hour fitness. You join for a service and are expected to live up to your responsabilities. I see nothing wrong with contracts. What I see wrong with them is the iron clad nature of them that do not take into account peoples changing financial conditions, the economy and other influinces. But, if you sign one then you are agreeing to be responsible for the fees for x many years. If you can't then signing is something you should'nt have done. That being said. Always ask what the outs are and if there are any outs for a change if economy and finacial situations. If they say they can/will work with you then get it in writing, and have it be specific. Personally I think a month to month contract is the best way to go. Safest for all partias involved to. Simply put, a contract does not guarentee payment, just headache.
D.W. McCullar, Hapkido
I.H.K.A./I.H.M.U.Ca. Chief Instructor, 5th Dan