The jab is your quickest weapon in Muay Thai. It’s a quick strike that lets you maintain a strong defensive position. Offensively, you can use it to score points and scout for openings. Meanwhile, defensively, jabs can help disrupt an opponent’s flow of attack and push opponents back to give you enough space to operate.
Given the importance of the jab in Muay Thai, it’s imperative that you learn how to throw it properly and with consistency.
For that, these five tips below should come in handy.
- Maintain a solid base. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, with your left foot in front. The chin on the right side of your face should be protected by your right hand, while your left hand should be slightly forward and in front of your face. There should be enough room for you to see between your guard. Be careful, though, as the opening should not be too big as to make it easy for your opponent to throw your guard. Lastly, try to relax and avoid tensing up.
- Extend your left arm. From the basic solid base you just started, slowly take a small step forward with your left foot and extend your left arm to its full length. Do the opposite if you’re a southpaw. Avoid stepping to the side or at an angle as you won’t be covering the most distance possible by doing so. Instead, make sure that you step straight in front of you.
- Rotate your entire arm. Turn over your fist, including your shoulders and elbows. Your palms should now be facing the ground, as if you were to open your fists. Again, don’t forget to extend your arms to its fullest length. All the while, keep your right hand on your right chin to protect yourself from a counter. By now, your left shoulder should be touching your chin and your left arm parallel to the floor.
- Chin down. Keep your eyes focused on the target and your chin tucked in. This will serve as an additional means of protecting yourself from a counter. Remember, your chin is a weak spot. All it takes is for a good counter for an opponent to hit you on the chin and knock you down right there and then.
- Return to your original position. After extending your left arm, bend your elbow and smoothly return to your guard position. Jabs should be like a fast snap, as if you just touched a hot plate. After hitting it, pull back your hand as fast as possible. Doing so ensures that you remain protected and in a good position to follow up.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re a beginner, start practicing your jab in front of a mirror. Do it very slowly at first, making sure that you do it properly and get your form right. Once you feel you have good form, ask your trainer to watch you pull off a couple of jabs and ask for tips. Afterwards, if your form is correct, then just keep on practicing. Once you feel comfortable, you can start adding forwards, backwards and sideward movement to help stimulate a fight.
It may take you hundreds of hours to learn how to throw a proper jab, but given that it’s the one punch that will serve as the opening for most of your combinations, learning how to do it properly is definitely well worth it.