Thursday, December 05, 2002

The Definitive Jab thread started by lefthooker

NOTE: I had this thread archived to my 2nd Tripod site ages ago. Tripod took down my second archives. In time, I will be adding to this blog some of the info that was up there. My thanks to someholdsbarred and waise pairasta for their help.

From: lefthooker
Date: 18-Nov-02 10:37 AM

Introduction to the Jab

The JAB is the most used punch in boxing, this is because the Left JAB (for right handed) people is the punch that is closest to your opponent. Normally thrown with the elbow straight, the punch is the quickest and safest punch that can be thrown. It will set up any other punches that will be thrown in combinations. It can be used either in offense or defense. By adjusting your footwork as you throw the JAB you can to move to different directions in the ring. The punch can be thrown at different speeds, from different angles and you can adjust the about of power behind the punch. The JAB can be a light flicking punch that probes for openings or can be a hard jolt that can almost be a knockout punch on it's own. Some noted boxers that have relied on the use the JAB are Oscar De La Hoya who employed a hard stiff JAB, Floyd Mayweather Jr. who uses a FLICKING JAB to set up his power punch and Larry Holmes who used an UP JAB to raise the chin of his opponent for his power punch. Each JAB was thrown differently but the all had the same result, to set up other punches and help build successful careers.

OFFENSIVE JABS- Offensive Jabs begin when the front foot moves first into a different position, usually a change of angle will result. On the completion of the JAB an attack will commence.

DEFENSIVE JABS- Defensive Jabs begin when the back foot moves first into a different position, usually a change of angle will result. On completion of the JAB you can attack or you can gain further distance.

The Jab – Part 1: The Offensive Jabs

The following will describe the 5 offensive jabs. For a right handed person they will be jabs thrown with the left hand.

The BASIC JAB When the BASIC JAB (I refer to it as the JAB when training) is thrown your relative position does not change. The mechanics of the punch are thus. While standing in your normal stance,

1. Step forward with your left foot about 1 foot pushing off of your right instep.

2. Thrust your left hand straight out at the same time.

3. Turn your right palm to your left to cover your face.

With practice these 3 movements will be done at the exact same time. When the punch is completed, the left hand, left foot and right palm will go back into the position of the original stance. In effect you are throwing a left jab and right block. The right hand will catch any straight punch coming back at you. If you keep the correct distance from your opponent he will be unable to counter you with any other punch other then a jab or possibly a straight right hand. It is possible to place your right hand by your right ear when you jab if your opponent insists on trying to counter you with a left hook. You can even place your right palm by your left ear to counter right hand counters. I suggest you place it in front of your face as it is the most likely target when trying to counter you jab.

The FORWARD JAB: The FORWARD JAB will allow you to gain distance on your opponent. This will allow you to get closer to him while still punching. This will set up quick combinations of hooks and uppercuts. This is especially important when boxing someone who is taller and has a longer reach then you. The only difference between the mechanics of the BASIC JAB and the FORWARD JAB is that upon throwing the punch and stepping with the left foot you do not retract the left foot but bring the right foot forward so that you are in your original stance. This movement will bring you forward, ready for a quick attack upon your opponent.

The BACKWARD JAB: The BACKWARD JAB will allow you to increase the distance between you and your opponent. This will allow you to be at a distance where you cannot be countered directly. This will make your opponent come forward to you if he desires to attack. From then on you can set up pivots and counters to stop his attack. The only difference between the BASIC JAB and the BACKWARD JAB is that upon throwing the punch you dip down slightly and then step back with your right foot about 8 inches. You then bring your left foot back into your original stance. This movement can be very effective as you can punch and see what type of defense your opponent uses against your jab. It is possible to move your right foot to your inside (right) or to your outside (left) this will change your angle. It is good to vary this move, it will make it difficult for your opponent to know which direction you intend to go.

The OUTSIDE JAB: The OUTSIDE JAB will allow you to step diagonally to your left as you jab. This will bring you to an angle so that an attack can be made while your opponent should be on his heels and off balance. The only difference between the BASIC JAB and the OUTSIDE JAB is that instead of stepping directly forward with your left foot, you step forward and to your outside (left) you then pivot on the ball of your left foot and bring your right foot into your original stance. The distance you step and the speed of the pivot will allow you to make the move wider or narrower depending on where you want to end up.

The INSIDE JAB The INSIDE JAB will allow you to step diagonally to your right as you jab. This will bring you to a angle so that an attack can be made to the back of your opponent (if his is right handed). This angle cannot be countered and is very effective. The only difference between the BASIC JAB and the INSIDE JAB is that after you have thrown the punch (while stepping forward) step to your inside (right) with your right foot then pivot slightly to your inside on the ball of your left foot. This will change your angle so that a straight right hand should land cleanly.

HAND POSITIONING The left hand normally is held high, the thumb held about the height of the nose. You can also throw any of the OFFENSIVE JABS from a low position with the hand held just above the waist. This will make the jab come from a different angle and make it harder to block. Any of the above jabs can be thrown in this manner. It is a bit more dangerous and it is imperative that you bring the jab hand back to a HIGH position after you jab so that you can defend against a jab or right hand counter. There are times you can bring the left hand back to the low position it you desire to counter your opponents counter. I will explain this later in the tactics section of this manual.

FLICK JAB The FLICK JAB is a jab that is thrown with the left hand held high (the elbow is at a level of the shoulder with the glove held near your chest), the left hand is thrust out so that the knuckles just touch your opponents face. The hand flicks out and in quickly in a flicking motion. This punch is not powerful but will confuse your opponent as it makes it very hard for him to set himself up to punch back. The flicking jab is used to set up a right hand. This is especially true for boxers that like to use a lot of movement.

The disadvantage of the FLICK JAB is that there is little power to it and it is almost impossible to throw the left hook or the left uppercut after the FLICK JAB is thrown. And because of the angle of the elbow the left hand can not be used for parries. However, it is a good punch to have in your arsenal, used once in a while it will give your opponent something else to think about during a fight.

The Jab – Part 2: The Defensive Jab

The DEFENSIVE JAB is used to keep an on rushing opponent at a distance and allow you to quickly change angles for a counter attack.

The mechanics of the DEFENSIVE JAB are:

1. Throw out the left hand as in the offensive jab.

2. Turn your right thumb so that the right glove is in front of your face.

3. Step back with the right foot about 1 foot while leaving the left foot in place.

4. Bring back the left foot so that you are in your original stance. These 3 steps are done very quickly and almost instantly. With practice it will all flow seemlessly into one move and you will be able to place yourself at a distance from your opponent.

Inside and Outside Defensive Jabs: It is possible to change angles when using the DEFENSIVE JAB. Instead of stepping directly back with the right foot you can step to either the INSIDE or OUTSIDE to change your angle to either direction. This will allow you to set up a right hand and be in excellent defensive position. Practice the DEFENSIVE JAB moving to different angles and setting up the counter. This is a very important tactic and should be a part of every boxers inventory of punches.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 18-Nov-02 11:15 AM


From: Bull_in_chinashop
Date: 18-Nov-02 11:42 AM

Excellent! ttt

From: 5 o clock shadow
Date: 20-Nov-02 11:30 PM


Can the flick jab be kinda like a backhand (backfist)? I saw James Toney use this one a lot from his lead-hand-down, look-over-the-shoulder stance. It almost looked like a backhand.

Also, this is a GREAT thread. The jab is the most important punch in boxing. I also seem to pick up little details from these threads on the basics.



From: koralwarrior
Date: 21-Nov-02 12:11 AM

lesson in jabs = Marco Antonio Barrera

From: wanderer
Date: 21-Nov-02 08:39 AM


From: 5 o clock shadow
Date: 21-Nov-02 09:03 AM


Care to add your two cents about the "jabber-cut?"


From: tacticalfighter
Date: 21-Nov-02 11:58 AM

Good posts!

From: martinburke
Date: 21-Nov-02 02:48 PM

fos-That flick jab is just a quarter-turn of the wrist away from being a backhand.And even a flick jab can be "illegal" if you don't close your fist.

That being said,in a pro fight,it'll depend on the ref,and your reputation,as to whether it gets enforced or not.

I remember talking to an old photographer back toward the end of Ali's career.He mentioned that Sports Illustrated and other mags wouldn't buy many of his Ali pics because they would capture him turning his thumb forward during his open-gloved flick jab.

It wasn't a side of Ali that SI readers wanted to see,I guess.

From: wanderer
Date: 21-Nov-02 04:42 PM
Edited:21-Nov-02 05:06 PM

martinburke is that true?? Holy shit that blows my mind. Not that I thought Ali would never be dirty, but...he is such an icon that I just wouldn't associate him with doing that.

I guess it's kind of like Marciano hitting Walcott with his forearm..the great ones were great, but they all took a shortcut now and again...:)

From: LEMon
Date: 22-Nov-02 02:15 AM

The jabbercut is basically a jab with your palm turned up. It travels from your face, in a downward then upward arc about 4 inches, designed to lift the chin. U must be very careful of his right hand doing this, its nice if u combine it with a left hook or and overhand right after. I have caught alot of guys with it but u gotta be prepared for what happens after, either have a combo ready to flow into or dont do it because u will get nailed if u dont move quick or hit with a combo. Judah used it well against Kostya, he slipped left and right and as he slipped left again he had it loaded and leaped into it. Naseem uses the same thing as well. As i said u can get nailed if u do it to much and they expect it.

From: 5 o clock shadow
Date: 22-Nov-02 03:14 AM


I tend to use the jabber-cut when I tilt backwards from a blow. Without resetting, I'll fire the lead hand out and up-wards. Bruce Lee has a picture of this in the Dao of Jeet Kune Do labeled as "the elusive lead." I also like to use the jabber-cut from a slip to the left. As I am coming up, I fire the jab outwards. Due to the angle of my stance, it is most comfortable for me to hold my fist facing up.


I heard that Ali had a certain technique, a flick that he would use on the end of his flicking jabs to cut people. Some people said he picked it up from a Karate guy. I remember Mills Lane talking about it once on a documentary. He said that Ali would cut people up like he had a razor.


From: martinburke
Date: 22-Nov-02 02:28 PM
Edited:22-Nov-02 04:00 PM

wanderer-I don't know if it was 100% true;he may have been stretching the truth a bit as far as the frequency.But I've seen a few photos of him doing that very thing.

As far as being a dirty fighter,well,it's human nature.It's not like we're throwing kisses to begin with.A punch to the head with murderous intent differs from a thumb to the eye only in degree.

fos:I think most people would find a palm-up jab more comfortable in that instance(after slipping to the left-especially from the peekaboo).don't know why it's not taught more.

About that Ali technique-you can't do it so much with the gloves today,but back then you could flick the tip of an open glove and it would pop like a whip,especially after it had gotten wet.

He wasn't the only one to do it.There was guy called Orlando Zulueta(sp?)who couldn't break an egg,but he'd slice people open like that,too.

From: Sobolewski
Date: 22-Nov-02 03:14 PM

lefthooker: Are you writing a book? If so, I'll be one of the first ones in line to buy a copy! Great stuff!

From: lefthooker
Date: 22-Nov-02 06:18 PM

Me and a friend of mine who trains fighters at Gleasons wrote a boxing manual. We have the first copy completed.

This is just an excerpt from our manual.

From: Sobolewski
Date: 23-Nov-02 03:21 AM

Let us all know when it's available! Seriously!

From: Bramacharya
Date: 24-Nov-02 11:49 AM


This is the kind of information I’ve been looking for, would definitely be interested in obtaining a copy of your manual.


NOTE: posted to the Underground's Boxing forum.

Originally posted to this site on Dec 22, 2008 - edited today Nov 27, 2013 to mirror my old site's posting of Dec 5, 2002. Copied from



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