So my best friend and I do full contact combat sport together (I'm a guy, she is a girl), we're fairly experienced and about the same skill level. We're still technically best friends but we have also kissed and I feel we're both interested in making us official, neither has just asked that question yet.
We were in a sparring competition not long ago and ended up facing each other (not very common in this sport, but it happened). We both had a bit of personal things going on in our lives coming into it (not related to us being friends) and so weren't in the best mental state going into the match. We ended up physically hurting each other quite a bit (cuts, bruises, a few fractures) because we both wanted to win and got ourselves worked up during the course of the bout. We didn't break any competition rules or anything, and we only realized the state of our injuries after the match because of our passion/aggression/adrenaline during the match.
So the issue now is how best to move past the fact that we physically hurt each other quite a bit, and repair any damage done to our friendship. We're both upset at having hurt each other but we both entered the competition willingly and were fully aware of the potential dangers. And with us possibly starting a relationship (fingers crossed) I'm conscious of being aware of the difference between full contact sport and physical abuse. We'd never hurt each other outside of this sport or training, I'd say we're very respectful and non-violent people, but at the same time because we're both quite inexperienced relationship wise I want to make sure we get the balance right between our love of this sport and for each other.
The other thing I've thought about is from a social perspective our friends, family etc and their specific reactions to a us having visible physical injuries from time to time, because that is just the nature of the sport. For example, I'd hate for my friend's parents or friends to think that I am a violent or abusive boyfriend and vice versa.
In terms of next steps what should we do to pave a path for long term?
Your relationship is based on a giving and receiving negative strokes in a most violent form.