A jab is a short, quick leading hand fore fist punch used from the on-guard position. It is powerful, but not as powerful as the reverse fore fist punch. The jab is the most commonly used hand attack.
How to Jab
The jab is a sharp straight punch with the lead hand. Begin with the knees slightly bent, feet staggered, chin down, and hands raised by the sides of your face. Then push off your back foot and snap the jab out quickly. The lead foot will slide forward slightly before impact.
The fist travels straight to the target and straight back, no extraneous movements at all. As it returns to its starting position, it also acts as a block. Focus on technique, speed, and accuracy and using hip snap to add power. From your guard position, with elbows tight to your ribs, hands up, and elbows down, turn the hip and extend your lead arm, while rotating fist a quarter turn so palm is facing downward at impact. Immediately re-chamber the fist to the guard position. Do not poke the jab or paw it like a cat. Instead, fire it out and back like a snake striking.
Since you should me constantly moving while sparring, you should practice using the jab while moving, not from a stationary stance. Learn to jab while moving forward (to set up a combination) and backward (as a defense) or sideways (as a counter). Practice using two quick jabs with one or no body movement and using two quick jabs with a body movement (such as two quick steps forward with a job on each step).
Uses for the Jab
- Ruin the opponent's timing. When an opponent catches or sees the jab, his timing and mind set are upset.
- Keep up the pressure. Constant jabbing keeps the opponent on the defensive.
- Set up combinations. The flash of a jab in the eyes immediately puts the opponent on the defensive, which set him or her up for further attacks, Thomas Hearns jabbed at the forehead to lift up his opponent's chin for the knockout right cross. Jab to the stomach to lower the guard, then right cross to the chin, followed by a left hook to the liver, doubling up to the head, ending with a jab.
- Interrupt the attack. When opponent attacks with a combination, a quick jab to the nose will disrupt the planned combination and leave the opponent vulnerable for a split second.
- Establish dominance. Continuous jabs help establish you as the aggressor. The opponent must either back off or step up to the plate and challenge your superiority.
- Counter opponent's jab. Stay one strategy ahead by countering the jab soon after yours is established. When the opponent attempts to engage, keep one step ahead by working off of his or her jab.
- When the jab comes, slip left and shoot an inside left hook.
- Slip to the right for a body punch jab and come overhead to catch a lazy left hand.
- Slap down the jab down with the right hand and come straight with a right cross and move forward to offset your opponent. This is why you cannot be lazy in re-chambering your jab, right cross could be following.
- Force your opponent to attack, then counter. Jack Johnson said that, being a counter-puncher, he would use his jab to force his opponent to attack, from which he could counter.