Kickboxing is often practiced for self-defense, general fitness, or as a full-contact sport. In the full-contact sport the male boxers are bare-chested wearing shorts and protective gear including:
- 10-oz. boxing gloves
- and optional protective helmet (usually for those under 16).
The female boxers will wear a sports bra and chest protection in addition to the male clothing/protective gear. In European kickboxing, where kicks to the thigh are allowed using special low-kick rules, use of boxing shorts instead of long trousers is possible.
In addition, amateur rules often allow less experienced competitors to use light or semi-contact rules, where the intention is to score points by executing successful strikes past the opponent’s guard, and use of force is regulated. The equipment for semi-contact is similar to full-contact matches, usually with addition of head gear. Competitors usually dress in a t-shirt for semi-contact matches, to separate them from the bare-chested full-contact participants.