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How to Throw Different Types of Jabs in Boxing, Muay Thai and MMA

Updated on February 26, 2015

The jab is an essential technique for any boxer, kickboxer or mixed martial artist. Not only can it do a significant amount of damage on its own, it can set up a dizzying array of other techniques that do even more damage. A jab is simply a straight punch thrown with the lead hand. You might not realize, however, just how many different types of jabs there are. Learning at least a few of the most common will help you diversify your strategy for each opponent.

Many coaches consider the jab to be the most important punch for a boxer to learn.
Many coaches consider the jab to be the most important punch for a boxer to learn. | Source

# 1: Standard Jab

To throw a standard or basic jab, if you are an orthodox (right-handed) fighter, simply drive your left fist straight forward from your forehead by pivoting at the waist. Many beginning strikers exclusively use the triceps to launch the jab; however, these muscles are relatively weak and tire fairly quickly compared to the rest of the body. Instead, rotate your core and your left shoulder to generate the jab’s speed and power.

As your shoulder and arm tires, it will become easier and easier to let your jab drag or sag on its way back to your starting position. When this happens your jab will tend to return along a U-shaped arc, rather than a straight line. Fight this tendency; your goal should be to bring your jab straight back to your face along the exact same path and even faster than it traveled out. In addition, be careful not to let your rear hand drop or sag as you throw the jab with your lead hand.

A jab can do damage by itself, but its true value is to set up an even more damaging strike.
A jab can do damage by itself, but its true value is to set up an even more damaging strike. | Source

# 2: Double Jab

A double jab begins just like a standard jab. However, instead of bringing your lead hand all the way back to your forehead after the first jab, you should bring it back about halfway, then immediately fire another jab. This style of jab is less powerful than a standard jab, but significantly quicker, making it a particularly effective option for setting up other attacks. However, since you will not be able to block with your lead arm while firing a double jab, be very careful to keep your chin tucked beneath your lead shoulder throughout the motion, minimizing your exposure on that side of your head.

Many fast strikers rely on the double jab to overwhelm their opponents.
Many fast strikers rely on the double jab to overwhelm their opponents. | Source

# 3: Power Jab

A power jab is simply a standard jab with several additional steps to increase its damage. To begin the motion, you will take a quick forward step, landing on the ball of your left foot. A split second after your foot touches the floor, you will fire your jab; gravity and your forward momentum will significantly increase its power. At the same time, rotate your left hip hard by pivoting 90 degrees on your left foot as if you were throwing a hook or a cross. When this punch lands, it will feel more like getting hit by a cross than an ordinary jab.

A power jab can do as much damage as some crosses.
A power jab can do as much damage as some crosses. | Source

# 4: Flicker Jab

The term “flicker jab” is actually applied to more than one type of jab by different coaches. The most common, however, is also known as a Philly jab because it is thrown from a Philly style stance – sometimes referred to as a Philly shell – in which the lead hand is held low, protecting the torso, while the rear hand protects the front of the chin. This means the jab rises from near waist-level, outside of your opponent’s peripheral vision, making it very hard for him to see it coming. When you throw it, rotate your core and shoulder while simultaneously snapping your arm up. Flicker jabs can be a particularly effective weapon for fast, long-range strikers; however, you should be aware that they can leave you vulnerable for a headkick, so use them cautiously in kickboxing or MMA.

The flicker jab is generally thrown from a modified guard in which the lead hand is held low.
The flicker jab is generally thrown from a modified guard in which the lead hand is held low. | Source

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