No-contact does not necessarily mean there is no physical contact; there will always be some physical contact while training in a martial art. No-contact means that, when performing hand and foot attacks, the striking surface of the weapon (body part) used is controlled so that it does not make contact with the opponent. To score in a no-contact sparring competition, the striking surface of an attack must come very close to the target without touching, be fully extended, be executed with full-power, and the form of the technique must be nearly perfect.
The physical contact in no-contact sparring may be compared to arm wrestling. There is physical contact in arm wrestling, but, while extreme effort and power is used to win, there is no intention to strike the person or cause harm to the opponent.
Risk of injury. No-contact does not mean that accidents will not happen and that contact will be inadvertently made, it just means that the intention of an attack was to make no contact. Martial arts are physical, especially the hard styles, such as Taekwondo, so there will be contact, sometimes with enough force to cause pain or minor injury, but, with no-contact sparring, the risk of injury is greatly reduced. Since no-contact, techniques are focused two or three inches short of the depth of penetration required for injury, the risk of injury is very low.
Level of expertise required. No-contact sparring techniques must be perfectly performed and precisely executed while also using maximum power. In no-contact sparring, the means is more important than the result; how the technique is executed and focused is more important than the technique hitting the target. Since attacks must be close enough to score but not make contact while exhibiting proper form and power, judging no-contact sparring is very subjective, so judges must be very experienced to score attacks fairly.