Full-contact sports allow competitors to either intentionally or unintentionally exert a significant physical impact on opposing players, with rules governing what type of contact is permissible.
Broadly speaking, full-contact sports can be separated into “combat sports” (such as boxing, sumo, mixed martial arts, judo, and others) in which players can utilize striking, kicking, grappling, tackling, blocking or even weapons to achieve victory, and “contact action sports” in which contact between players is secondary to the main objective of the game (such as scoring a goal in football, ice hockey, and water polo).
While the origins of full-contact sports can be traced to ancient times, the modern history of contact sports started in the 1800s with the development of modern soccer and popularization of amateur boxing. Since then, many contact sports have become part of Olympic Games competitions, and hundreds of millions of people are enjoying them recreationally or professionally all around the world. Today, the world's most popular contact sport is soccer, which is played annually by over 250 million players in over 200 countries.
Boxing is one of the most popular full-contact combat sports in the world, placing two competitors in a ring where they must fight for the predetermined amount of time using only an approved set of hand strike moves (jab, cross, hook, and uppercut), stances (upright, semi-crouch and full crouch), movement and blocking techniques.
Originally devised in 17th century Europe, fist-fighting competitions eventually morphed into modern boxing during late 19th and early 20th century with the rise of standardized rules, size of the boxing ring, weight classes and protective gear that competitors must wear in order to compete in sanctioned matches. Modern boxing is separated into two categories of amateur and professional boxing. Amateur boxing was popularized with the arrival of modern Olympic sport 1908, which pushed many fighters to build professional leagues that today represent the most popular segment of boxing sport (with amateur bouts still remaining popular in some territories, such as Russia, former Soviet republic, and Cuba).
Since the birth of modern boxing, several styles of fighting have been developed. The three most popular styles in current existence are “outside fighter” (boxer) in which fighter tends to move a lot inside the ring and create distance between him and his opponent, “brawler” (slugger) where fighter relies not on his movement but on the power and accuracy of his hits, and “inside fighter” (swarmer) where fighter uses unrelenting aggression to achieve victory. Other styles of fighting are boxer-puncher, counter-puncher and hybrid styles.
Boxing history covers almost the entire history of mankind. Starting in prehistoric times, it gained wide popularity in ancient Greece, and with the help of rules and international regulations, it transformed in past several centuries into popular forms of amateur and professional boxing. Today, this combat sport is practiced all around the world.
Hockey is a fast-paced full-contact sport (sometimes also called collision sport) in which two teams play against each other by trying to control a small ball or puck, pass it between each other and score by hitting opponents goal using a curved wooden “hockey stick”. There are several types of hockey, with two most distinct ones being ice hockey and field hockey. Since these two types of hockey are rarely played together in the same country (colder countries prefer ice hockey, while warmer field hockey), the word hockey can mean different things in such territories.
While the origins of the hockey and various other games played with sticks can be found anywhere between ancient Egypt and medieval Europe, the modern form of hockey coalesced during 19th and early 20th century when the majority of modern hockey types formed official rules, regulation and government organizations who oversaw their development and professional bouts.
In addition to the field and ice hockey, several other forms of hockey are played today, most notably bandy hockey on football pitch sized ice fields (usually outdoors), roller (inline) hockey, quad hockey, ice sled hockey and street hockey. In all this form of hockey, players use protective gear, usually to protect their shins, knees, elbows, and heads, with professional players also using armored chest protection against strong collision hits.
Games played with curved sticks and ball can be traced all the way back to the Ancient Egypt and Greece, but the earliest example of a modern version of Hockey first originated in middle ages. The modern version of the game which is played on Ice, grass, and fields of various surface types was solidified in the 19th century when first governing organizations and international competitions were formed.
Lacrosse is a limited-contact sport in which two teams play a point-based game using special lacrosse sticks and a single lacrosse ball. The goal of the game is to catch, carry and pass a ball using the head of the lacrosse stick, and eventually shoot the ball into the opponent's goal. It can be played on the outdoor lacrosse field or indoor lacrosse courts, but since it is fast and energetic, players on the field may come in contact with one another, including hard hits that may bring them down to the ground. Because of this, lacrosse is ranked as low to mid-range in terms of strength of contact between players.
Lacrosse can be played in four major variations, two of which are contract-based and require the use of protective gear that covers hands, shoulders, elbows, head (usually with some form of eye protection), with goalies having additional protection. Those types are men’s outdoor (field) and indoor (box) lacrosse, in which players can make contact both with their bodies and sticks. Women’s matches allow only contact with sticks. The fourth and final major type of lacrosse is non-contact “intercrosse”, where teams can have mixed genders, sticks are made from lighter plastic and ball is softer.
Originally played by the tribes on native in North America (specifically on territories of Canada), the sport of Lacrosse rose in popularity in mid 19th century. It entered Olympics as early as 1904, and from there it experienced rapid expansion across United States, UK, Australia and the rest of the world. American Major League Lacrosse (MLL) is currently the largest professional lacrosse league in the world.
History of lacrosse started around 1100 AD with the culture of Iroquois people who lived in the current territories of US states of New York and Pennsylvania. This sport played by between 100 and 1000 players was eventually adopted by Jesuit missionary priests living in Canada, which enabled it several centuries later to reach wide popularity with rules that promoted smaller teams.