The Awesome Power Of The Muay Thai Jab
As a Muay Thai practitioner, the jab is going to be one the the most important and fundamental weapons in your arsenal. You may have been under the impression that jabs are weak but next time you watch a Muay Thai or UFC fight pay close attention to how often they throw jabs.
Jabs aren’t known for their knock out power but they are strategically used to set up your opponent and keep them off balanced. I will get into exactly how they can and should be used shortly.
So for the moment consider Muay Thai jabs as a powerful tool and be prepared to invest a lot of your time in mastering this Muay Thai technique.
The Versatile Thai Boxing Jab
The jab is so versatile you not only can use it on the offensive, but you can also use it on the defensive.
Still think the jab isn’t worth the time to develop? What other Muay Thai technique is more versatile than the jab?
Benefits of the Jab:
- Used to set-up other powerful attacks
- It’s a fast technique
- Counter punching
- Measure your distance
- Travels in a straight line and it’s the closet weapon to your target
- Different types of jabs Can be used to stop your opponent with his/her attacks
- Used to get a reaction
- Used at different angles and confuse your opponent
- Can be used to start lots of great combinations
So you see the Thai boxing jab should not be overlooked as a weak weapon. Some martial artist claim it’s a useless technique, but as you can see above, it definitely isn’t.
Types of Jabs:
- Regular jab
- Step jab
- Jab to the body
- Step back jab
- Fan jab
- Shot Gun jab
- Long jab
- Up jab
- Straight lead (vertical jab)
- Stiff jab (posting)
- Axe jab
There are many different types of jabs that you can use in thai boxing. If you would like to know more just leave a comment below and let me know… for now I’ll just cover the basic one.
“The jab should be felt, before it is seen”
Learning How To Throw the Muay Thai Jab
Start in your proper Thai stance. Make sure your whole body is relaxed, chin is down, and your hands up. Keep your knees slightly bent and your eyes on the target.
If your need more info on the Muay Thai stance check out my blog on the basic Muay Thai stance.
Start to extend your Jab punch. If your an orthodox fighter you punch with your left hand — Southpaws jab with the right hand.
Step 1 – Extend your jab punch –
make sure that your relaxed and keep your hand in a closed, but loose fist. (imagine your holding a potato chip. Squeeze it too tight and the chip cracks) This will help in making the punch shoot out quickly.
Remember, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so keep that jab going forward on its path. It will get there a lot faster.
* Stay loose and relaxed (can’t stress that enough)
* Keep your elbows in to not telegraph the punch
* Don’t lean forward or back. Stay in your Muay Thai fighting stance
* Keep your eyes on the target
* Chin Down
* Don’t forget to breathe
Step 2 – Hand Rotation –
As your jab makes contact with the target, rotate the hand until the palm of your hand is facing the floor.
This part is very important. The turn of your punch is what gives the power to your jab. By turning it over at the last minute and clinching your fist into a tight ball, you give your jab a snapping type of motion which can cause damage to the opponent.
* Turn your hand over just before or right at impact
* Make a tight fist
* Palm faces down
* Shoulder slightly rised
* Hit with the front two knuckles
* Breathe out as you make contact
* opposite hand stays up on your head
* Keep a slight bend in your elbow at impact (can cause damage to your joints if you extend it all the way out)
Step 3 – Return your jab –
To return your jab punch back and ultimately return to your Thai Boxing fighting position, is to just reverse the technique. As easy as this might sound, this is often an over look part when you throw punches, especially for beginner’s.
Just like when you extend your punch in a straight line… it also has to come back in a straight line.
The return of the punch has to quickly come back to the starting position just as fast as you threw it out. A slow return might cause you to get counter.
Also try not to loop your punch. Which is another common mistake for beginner’s. Meaning… after you land the attack, avoid bringing the jab to your hip or chest. It has to come back directly to your face.
After you hit your target relax your fist and quickly bring it back to the starting position. Be sure your ready to move and defend after the attack.
Muay Thai Boxing Jab Common Mistakes
Not staying relax
This will cause your jab to be slower and weaker. Imagine trying to drive your car with the emergency brake on. Your not going to get very far – very fast! Not to mention you will get tired a lot faster. This will help you whip out the jab with quickness and keep you from wasting any unnecessary energy.
Bringing your chin up when you punch
I don’t think I have to explain this one…
Dropping your opposite hand
Most people tend to focus on the jab punch and forget that they have to keep the other hand up to stay protected. So make sure that other hand is close to your face, otherwise you could get countered.
Bring out the Elbow
This is another mistake a lot of beginner’s have a tendency of doing. Rising the elbow when they throw the jab. It’s natural for people to do this — It feels like you get more power, but in reality your just telegraphing your intentions and letting them know something is coming.
Pulling the hand back
This is by far the most common mistake. And the one that my students and sometimes myself struggle with… Is pulling the jab hand back to load the punch. Although it adds a bit of power, it’s something you don’t want to get into the habit of doing. You sacrifice speed and the element of surprise. Remember the quote above… “The jab should be felt before it is seen“.
The Ultimate Goal
I would rather hit my opponent with less power, and a jab that they don’t see coming, then with a jab with slightly more power, but can see it coming a mile away. Many times it’s the punch you don’t see that hurts or knocks you out, rather then the one you do see and can prepare for it.
Punching in this way also keeps your opponent on their toes and off balance and having them worrying about what’s coming next is the ultimate goal when using the Muay Thai boxing jab.
One of the biggest reasons that I love the jab so much, and that a lot of people don’t realize is the balance aspect. Each attack should move you one step closer to keeping your opponent off balance. Both psychically and mentally. The more I can disrupt his/her balance the better my chances are of finishing the fight.
And this is exactly what the jab does.
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