The Different Types of Jab
The most important punch is a boxers arsenal, and the most commonly thrown punch, is none other than the jab. It is often called the can opener and for good reason. The jab can set up any punch and can be used in a variety of ways.
It can be used to hit your opponent obviously, but it can also be used to find your range, keep an opponent on the outside, set up punches coming behind it such as the cross or hook, it can be doubled up, it can be feinted, it can be delivered at different speeds to keep your opponent guessing too and can be used to distract them. The jab is so versatile it only makes sense there would be more than one way to throw the jab, in this article I am going to outline just some of the ways you can throw your jab to keep your opponent guessing in the ring.
First we will quickly go over the fundamentals of a jab.
1. Keep your non punching hand high. Always protect yourself when throwing punches, keep the non punching hand high so if your opponent counters, you have a much better chance of blocking their shot.
2. Rotate the hand as you throw the jab so that your palm begins facing inward, but ends facing the floor.
3. Keep the chin down, try to tuck it in behind the shoulder. The best way to learn this is to practice looking through the top of the eyes, this automatically helps lower the chin.
4. Pull your punches back. A good fighter will time their attack over your punch or behind your punch if you are too slow to pull your punch back. That means focus more on speed and snap, snap the jab out and snap it back in to protect your chin.
5. Jab using the chest. This provides extra power into the punch as well as helping elevate the shoulder to protect the chin.
Now we will look at the different jabs on offer:
The Standard Jab
This is the most basic of jabs. Simply extend your arm as you punch, rotate the fist, this provides the snap at the end of the punch and keep the elbow level to the shoulder(raise the shoulder to help protect the chin) and snap the hand back to position to protect against any counter.
The Screw Jab
Also referred to as the spear jab. The screw jab is delivered by turning the right shoulder(if you are an orthodox boxer) and then throwing the screw jab with the left hand, the palm will be facing up and it is delivered with an upward thrust with the aim of splitting your opponents guard and landing right down the middle. It is often described as an uppercut with a straight arm. I would also recommend you step in with the screw jab as it is thrown.
The Power Jab
This is the same as the standard jab except now your elbow is higher than your shoulder which also results in the fist rotating more so instead of facing down, it is almost turned outwards, this allows for more power especially if you combine this with jabbing from the chest and stepping in with the punch.
The Step Jab
This can be used with any variation of the jab, whether it is a power jab, screw jab or standard jab, all you are doing here is stepping in with the jab, that doesn’t mean lunge, a small step or half step is sufficient. This is an excellent choice especially when looking to close the distance against your opponent or add more power to the jab.
The Body Jab
Never forget attacking the body, people often neglect the jab to the body when aiming body shots but the jab to the body is a great method of breaking your opponent down. It can really upset your opponents tempo and be a huge distraction. It also makes a great counter to their jab as well as setting up the right hand upstairs after a jab to the body(or jab feint to the body) Throw the body jab by bending at the knees and waist, you can also step in to add more ‘zing’ to the jab. As always keep the non punching hand high protecting your chin and do not lunge into the punch. Resume back to position quickly else your opponent will likely try to aim a big right hand down at you.
The Up Jab
The jab is generally a very safe punch but the Up jab can be risky because you are lowering your lead hand and giving your opponent a window to attack. The Up jab is delivered from low down with the hand generally just above or just below the waist. It is a quick shot which is designed to be delivered out of the opponents eyeline as it comes from low to high with the aim of hitting the opponent under the chin to spring their head up allowing you to come over the top with your more powerful cross. The former Light Heavyweight legend Bob Foster was a master of utilizing the up jab.
The Pump Jab
This is really used to distract your opponent, you are firing off two quick jabs in succession whilst stepping in aiming to get in your opponents eyeline and distract their vision just long enough to come behind with your cross. You want them not to see your cross behind the pump jabs because the punches which hurt the most are the ones you don’t see coming. The name of the game with the pump jab is speed and obscuring their vision. Deliver the pump jab by throwing two, maybe even three jabs one after the other as fast as you can without pulling the jab back to the chin, you want to keep your jab in their face so they can’t see the big cross coming right behind it.
The Double Jab Feint
Here you will use the first jab to set up the second. You are looking for a reaction from your opponent. The first jab is delivered slower and only half way, if you find your opponent is reaching out to block your jab, you then immediately follow the first slower and half way jab with a fast, straight and full jab to the face. The first jab is the feint, the second comes right after and is the real jab.
Try these out the next time you are in the gym, a great boxer will always have a great jab so make sure you have a jab that keeps your opponents on their toes. Don’t always use the same jab, mix it up to keep them guessing, throw it in different ways, different speeds and with differing levels of power.