Friday, October 10, 2008

Boxing Fundamentals: The Jab

When you plan to learn how to box, you must understand the importance of the jab.

The jab is the most important weapon in any boxer’s arsenal of punches. It serves a lot of purposes and it really gives the boxer great advantages if properly mastered. If a boxer does not learn how to jab effectively, he severely restricts his ability to box and in the general, win the bout.

Simply put, the jab is an important foundation in building a person's boxing fundamentals and basics.

The jab is executed when a fighter snaps his leading arm and hand straight to the opponent’s head, usually to the chin or the temple. No looping motions or winding up. It just goes straight, with the lead arm fully extended and the fist rotating to 90 degrees with the thumb parallel to the floor upon impact.

After hitting the target, the boxer then snaps his lead arm and hand back to the guard position. That means your lead hand and arm covers your chin for protection.

If you are a right-handed fighter (orthodox), your lead hand is the left and vice versa for lefties (southpaw). It may seem awkward at first since a boxer will be using his non-dominant hand to throw the jab, but with time and proper training, a boxer’s jab will greatly improve to become one of the most potent shots at his disposal.

For starters, the jab is very crucial especially for those with long arms, significant hand speed, and less punching power. It can be used to create space between fighters, initiate a combination, or wear the opponents down for the big finish.

Ideally, the jab is used to keep the opponent at bay. Boxers like Muhammad Ali exemplified on how to use the jab to prevent the other boxer from coming in. With his long arms and naturally fast hands, Ali would thwart any attack from his opponents from the distance with his lightning jabs.

For boxers who do not have punching power, the jab is their ultimate weapon. Former light welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi sports an impressive record of 23-3, but the thing is, only five of those 23 wins were won by way of knockout. Maliganggi is not a hard puncher and relies heavily on his quickness to outbox his opponents. He uses his jab a lot to keep his enemies off balance and launch combinations when he sees an opening.

One thing a boxer must remember though, the jab is not a power punch. It is used to set up the power punches such as hooks and crosses. That said, the jab can inflict damage in the long haul and eventually wear down any boxer who is not keen on avoiding it. Ali is known to tire his opponents out with his quick and stiff jabs.

The jab, although not a power punch, remains to be the most vital weapon in a ring fighter’s armory and as such, should not be overlooked. If you don't learn how to throw an effective jab, you might as well throw the towel because your chances of winning are close to none.


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