IntroAt most commercial schools, you will be required to sign a contact. At small schools or for classes held in community centers, YMCAs, basements, etc., contacts are usually not required, you just pay for a course of training or monthly,
Legally bindingA contract is a legally binding agreement between the student and the school, so you should get a copy beforehand and read it carefully and maybe even have a lawyer or financial advisor review it. Most contracts will require you to make payments for the length of the contract even if you stop training and do not attend classes. If you fail to pay, the school may sue you or sell your contract at a reduced price to a collection agency that will not hesitate to sue you and ruin your credit.
NegotiationsMost contracts are nonnegotiable, but it never hurts to ask. Just make sure everything you negotiate is written on the contact. Verbal statements are meaningless and not binding.
Contract TerminationContract termination depends on state law. Some states allow 3 days in which you may terminate a contract while others allow 90 days.
Use cautionMartial arts organizations schools have years of experience in contracts, so you can be assured their contracts protect them from practically every eventuality, you not so much. Most martial arts schools are reputable, but the contracts are primarily to protect them, not you.
Make sure you know what you are signing.