No-contact sparring is more traditional in its philosophy, history, and etiquette. Since religion plays an important role in the Eastern cultures, it affected the development of traditional martial art styles that use no-contact sparring. This may be why traditional no-contact fighters continue training longer on the average than full-contact practitioners. Traditional students learn how to integrate their style's philosophies into their everyday lives, and enjoy more efficient, harmonious life-styles. On the other hand, full-contact fighters have more of a "nomadic warrior" mentality. Since they spend so much time in intense training, fighting and conditioning is all they think about. Like boxers, they usually have short careers. Since no-contact fighters have fewer injuries in training and in competition, they are able to compete longer and into older ages.
No-contact practitioners tend to only follow the generally accepted training methods of their particular style, which means they miss out on techniques that may be more suited to their body type. Since avoiding injury is a major concern, their techniques may not be effective against real attackers. Full contact fighters are usually taught a mixture of several fighting concepts and they continually experiment to discover what techniques work best for them. Because they have fought under actual combat conditions and absorbed punishment, they are better prepared for real attackers than no-contact fighters.
Both types of sparring have their place in the martial arts. As a potential martial arts student, you should choose an art and school within that art that has the level of contact that matches your goals.