Learn about the 5 basics types of jabs in boxing. Learn how to throw these basic punches and when to use them.
How to throw a Basic Jab: This is real simple. Without moving your feet or body or head, simply extend the fist of your front arm straight out towards your opponent. Upon impact and/or full extension, recover that fist back to starting position resetting your body back to its regular stance.
Pros: The basic jab is a standstill punch and easy to throw without compromising your defense. The focus is on speed and accuracy so that you can setup bigger punches.
Cons: The basic jab has minimal power. You must follow it with bigger punches like the right cross or left hook or else your opponent will walk through it.
How to throw a Step Jab: You step forward with your front foot right as you extend your front fist out towards your opponent. As your recover the jab hand, you quickly slide your back foot up at the same time bringing your feet back to its normal distance. (Your body will be one step closer to your opponent at the end of the step jab.)
Pros: The step jab offers more power than the basic jab and allows you to surprise your opponent. You can use the step jab to quickly move from outside of reach to within reach and land punches when your opponent is not expecting it. The step jab will allow you to advance forward into your opponent testing his defense while at the same time still giving you the option to retreat. The reason I use it at least 80% of the time is because the step jab is probably the only punch that can take you from outside of range into punch range.
Cons: The step jab compromises your balance because there is a period where your feet is spread further than the basic stance. If your opponent lands a punch on you at the right time, you may lose your balance and become vulnerable to other punches. The step jab may slow down the speed of your 1-2 combination because you cannot throw the right cross until the back foot slides forward into position.
How to throw a Power Jab: You first move your front foot towards your opponent. You then slide your back foot up bringing your body closer to your opponent while throwing the jab at the same time. (The Power Jab is different from the Step Jab! The Power Jab throws the jab when the back foot moves forward. The Step Jab throws the jab when the front foot moves forward.)
Pros: This is a power jab because your whole body is moving forward as your throw the jab. The power jab makes it very easier for you to throw a fast 1-2 because the back foot will be planted and ready to power your right cross right after your jab is thrown.
Cons: The power jab is easier to see and defend against since the movement of your front foot gives away your intention to attack. The power jab is harder to surprise your opponent because it is thrown with the movement of the back foot instead of with the front foot and lands later.
How to throw a Pivot Jab: For orthodox boxers, you will pivot clockwise on your front foot as you throw the jab. Your back foot should swing about one or two feet from its starting position while the front foot stays in the same place while pivoting on its ball. (Southpaw boxers pivot counter-clockwise.)
Pros: The pivot jab allows you to generate power while pivoting your body out of harm’s way. The pivot jab takes your boxing ability to the next level by allowing you to use angles in your punches. Because your jab was thrown from an angle (due to the pivot), the following right cross will also come at an angle making it easier for you to land punches and harder for your opponent to block punches. The pivot jab has offensive qualities (power), counter-punch qualities (angle), and defensive qualities (movement). The pivot jab can be used to play keep-away as you try to box your opponent from a distance or you can use the pivot jab at the end of a combination as you pivot your body out of the way.
Cons: The pivot jab leaves your balance temporarily compromised while you’re pivoting on one leg. The pivot jab may make it harder for you to follow-up with a cross since the back hand will be further away after you throw the pivot jab.
How to throw a Backstep Jab: You throw the jab as you step back with your back foot. You will then recover your front hand as your recover your front foot. It’s a great way to stop your opponent’s momentum and quickly counter with a retreating jab followed by a cross.
Pros: The backstep jab allows you to punch while retreating which helps to fight off an opponent’s attack.
Cons: The backstep jab is a weak punch thrown while retreating. Although it may land, it won’t do much to keep off an aggressive opponent unless you combine it with other counter-punches.
Final Notes On The 5 Kinds Of Jabs
There are endless ways to use the jab. From my experience in boxing, just about every jab you ever throw will have qualities from one or multiple types of jabs listed above. I suggest you learn them all, master the ones that fit your boxing style, and use what works. Thanks for reading.