Many criteria should be evaluated when choosing a martial art in which to train. One such criterion is the type of contact the art uses when students train or spar in class and/or in competition.
Sparring involves two martial artists who face each other in friendly combat to test their fighting skills against each other under certain rules and limitations. Some martial art styles or individual schools do not use sparring as a part of their curriculum, but most do. Before a sparring match, the level of contact to be used must be clearly established and agreed upon by the participants and the level of contact must enforced by an impartial observer. If this is not done, one or both of the opponents will get angry or injured due to not being prepared for the level of contact used or because a rule was not obeyed.
Three levels of contact are used by martial art schools that use sparring as part of their curriculum:
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