Bogu type (full body protection, Head, gloves, chest protection). Strikes are full power, and points are only scored if/when the recipient is sufficiently rocked and/or knocked down.
Bogu is what we do aswell. Although we don't use gloves. We use the Anzen-Bogu as developed by Hisataka (founder of Koshiki - Shorinjiryu Kenkokan).
What I teach is limited to self-protection, which sparring would be counter-productive to. Though many would disagree, I don't feel that sparring adds anything to learning to protect one's self. The argument of learning to take a punch is BS. Sparring is a sport, there is no correlation to reality contained within it.
I do agree that most sparring is sport. However there are certain parts of bogu-kumite that can be beneficial to self-defense.
For example the coping with high adrenalin levels because you know your opponent in bogu-kumite is striking full-power, even to the face.
The fact that you try to hit an opponent in a dynamic setting, unlike in most yakusoku-kumite.
Hitting your opponent with bare fists and feet on a hard surface (the bogu surface is quite hard, especially the faceshield) conditions your 'weapons'; hand and feet. Bad techniques get punished by the hard surfaces of the bogu-equipement.
Sparring has NO similarities to a Real confrontation.
Dealing with high adrenalin levels and being in a dynamic 'fight' are similar to a real confrontation. (It isn't copy-paste of a real confrontation, but can get close to it.)
Sparring, is a sport, that's all fine and good, but it has nothing to do with reality. To fall into the belief that it does, is delusional and miss-leading. As I stated, if you participate in it for the "sport"entertainment aspect, that's fine (and it is "fun", LOL). But to believe it necessary to learning to protect one's self is silly.
Fun: can be, I find it so.
Needed: a propper mindset. In my mind, during kumite, my opponent is trying to end me. It's up to me, to beat him to it.
My fists and feet are toughend by the bogu-kumite we practice. I know I can depend on them and my techniques in a real confrontation, where I might hit a hard part on my opponents body. (In contrast; some boxing champs made news with the ill-effects of always using boxing mitts.)
So my conclusion reads: Sparring can aid in dealing with real confrontations. It depends on how you train, both physically and mentally.