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.