Re: signing a contract
in our dojo in Brussels we had for a long time the custom that people paid monthly and there were no contracts at all. If someone had exams or was traveling for work and couldn't come, he wouldn't pay. The contribution had to cover only the dojo rent, and when there were many students, this random payment was never a problem. But then we started to have some problems, at first due to a never-ending construction/ renovation of the dojo, and the number of students went considerably down. I think at the end our teacher paid most of the dojo rent out of his pocket, but he never complained or told us to pay more.
Then we got a new sensei; the initial dojocho retired at the age of 81. Fees still remain more or less the same; I pay 48 €/ month for the whole family (mum + 4 kids), but the teacher asks us to pay at least for three months so that he has some planning security. I think that is only fair.
But when training in Turkey I pay for the time I am there, not as a regular member, but as a paying guest. That is equally okay, so I don't have the feeling I'd abuse their hospitality (when training in Abidjan they refused to take any contribution but insisted on inviting me to eat & drink after training, so after the third training I felt very awkward).
Still I think the practice of having at first six weeks of trial and then being confronted with a one year contract is not exactly what I'd call transparent.