Aiki said no beginner should sign a two year contract, not that no one should. (Edit- well in his original post he stated that. I see he said different later on.) Me, I am at the beginning of the third time I have signed a long term contract. My first one (after a year of study) was for 4 years, then next one and my current one 3. They have shorter contracts, I just opt for the long term one. It is a good deal. Nothing shady about it. I am completely happy with it. I am an adult and read all the terms. It has out clauses if I move or am too unhealthy to continue. I get a frozen rate for that time. San Diego is just about to implement a 44% increase in the minimum wage. That is going to make prices of EVERYTHING in San Diego go up, but even if my school raises prices- I imagine they will have to - my rate is locked in. I get additional bonuses, discounts on seminars and our tournament, extra classes that cost extra for regular members (weapons class particularly). I know I will be there using the school the whole time of my contract. I am completely happy with it. Just because some people use contracts in a shady way does not mean ALL contracts are bad. If one is not comfortable with contracts, by all means go to a place that doesn't have them, but to state they are bad for everyone is incorrect. Different strokes for different needs of differrent students............... As martialman said, many other places have contracts, I don't see why it is considered bad only in martial arts schools.