Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Importance of the Jab


Boxing Friends,


The jab is the most important punch in boxing. Three important factors include proper form, use as an offense tool, and use as defense. The proper form includes keeping both hands held high, stepping with the jab on the ball of the foot, keeping the shoulder level and the chin tucked in and down, and turning the jab to the 4 o’clock position at the last moment. The effective use of the jab for offense controls the opponent, sets up the opponent for power punches and combos, and measures the distance of the opponent for accurate distance and power. The boxer’s effective use of the jab as a defensive tool throws and keeps the opponent off balance, disrupts his timing, and keeps him at a distance if the boxer becomes hurt.

The proper form of the jab is the key to delivering the most effective jab. A boxer must keep his hands high and ready to throw a jab rather than deliver the jab from his waist which takes more time and loses the snap. When ready to throw, the boxer steps with the lead foot, landing on the ball of the foot so that the step is smoother and faster – in line with the punch. What is surprising is how many boxers, even top-rated, throw a jab without the proper stepping. The chin should be tucked under the lead shoulder to protect from the counter punch over the jab. The last split second, however, is the key, when the jab turns inward to the 4 o’clock position. That last split second, if done correctly, gives the jab the majority of its power and snap. Boxing commentators, trainers, and fans constantly gripe about the lack of boxers with great jabs. A return to basics will help with that.

The jab is the boxer’s most effective offensive tool. Using a strong consistent jab puts the boxer in control of the opponent by putting the opponent where the boxer wants him and creates constant pressure, both physically and mentally. Very few things in life are as frustrating as being constantly hit by a jab and being unable to hit back. That fact has caused many boxers, even great ones, to quit . (see Roberto Duran v. Leonard II) The boxer then sets up the opponent for power punches and combos by placing the boxer where he wants him, either in the center off the ring, on the ropes, moving forward, sideways or backwards. During the fight the boxer will notice when it is and in what direction that the opponent is easiest to hit. At the same time, the boxer is measuring the distance of the opponent with the jab so that the power punches and combos land with the best leverage, and therefore, the most power.

Using the jab for defense is often forgotten. The boxer’s jab keeps the opponent off balance by snapping the opponent’s head back and having to constantly change footing and position to avoid this punch. The jab should be constantly thrown but is most effective when the opponent steps. Once off balance, the opponent then loses his ability to time the boxer and finds it more difficult, if not impossible, to land a clean strong punch. (see Winky Wright schooling Felix Trinidad with the jab) And if hurt, the boxer uses his strong jab and feints to keep the opponent at a distance. So often a hurt boxer reverts either to going toe-to-toe, running around the ring, or taking a knee, when using a double jab and feints would have been more effective. And of course, keeping the opponent off balance and losing his timing allows the boxer to be more offensive, aggressive, and balanced. Revert to my earlier post to learn about the importance of balance. Basically, if you have balance and your opponent does not, you are already half-way to victory. So practice, focus, and repeat the perfect jab until you get it right. Doing so will always pay off.

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1 comment:

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