Risk of injury. Although the risk of injury is higher in full-contact sparring than in the other two types of sparring, the injuries are relatively minor and the matches are stopped before serious injury may occur. Knockouts usually only cause temporary brain damage, however, if someone who spars full-contact for years, the risk of permanent brain damage increases.
Level of expertise required. Full-contact sparring require a high level of skill and mental and physical fitness to deliver effective attacks, but it also takes a high level of mental and physical fitness to receive the attacks. In full-contact sparring, the result is far more important than the means. As long as the technique is legal, there is no concern for its form, only for its result. Therefore, precision at performing techniques is not required, so it is not practiced. If an attack works, that is all that matters.
Usefulness in self-defense. As related to self-defense, full-contact sparring is about as close to the real thing as possible to achieve safely. Practitioners are used to hitting with full-power and being hit with full-power.
Who may participate. Full-contact sparring is generally limited to adult participation, but some martial arts and states permit teenagers to spar full-contact with parent’s permission. The body takes a beating from full-contact sparring; therefore, there are not many full-contact fighters over forty years of age. As seen in boxing, years of having your head pounded may have no, little, or a profound effect on the health of the brain. One thing everyone will agree upon, years of having your head pounded does not have any beneficial effect on your mental health.
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