Be Your Own Bodyguard ... and Walk Away Alive



The jab or the boxers jab a fight tool that is versatile because it is good for attacks and for defenses. This is good yin yang. It is also has a third purpose, completing the fight cycle of aggressive, passive and assertive.



The jab is very quick because it is used with the lead hand which is already out in front, closer to your opponent. It should be either within a few or several inches from your opponent or just a quick lean or step to your opponent. The distance should be short and quick to cover so you can take advantage of it. The short distance and position will surprise your opponent, giving you a distinct advantage.


When it is done correctly, your opponent won’t see it until the last second but will definitely feel it’s surprising impact. A split second before being hit, your opponent will see an object thrusting toward the jaw and then, BAM and crunch, a solid head jolting hit and maybe some “stars” that trigger the beginning of a knock out.


Many fighters have tried to achieve a knock out with the jab punch. Karatekas, street fighters and boxers, but the only one who might have been successful was Mike Tyson. Yes, Ol Iron Mike who was well known and feared for his incredible power.


Bruce Lee may have been successful, too. The famous legends of the power from his one inch and three inch punches were well known. If he ever used them as a jab he probably easily knocked out other fighters.


To get the most power into the punch you need to put your arms, chest, hips, legs and feet into the punch. Speed provides power too. You will need to be well balanced, either in a solid, upright stance or leaning into it. Then by twisting your body as you make your delivery, power shoots up your body starting with your feet and continuing all the way into your fist.


Part of the secret to achieving a successful hit is landing in the right place. This will be the chin. It is surprising how many fighters think the main target is the nose or the forehead but it is only the jaw. The impact here will drive the jaw backward into the two mandibles and start the beginnings and maybe the ending of a knock out.


Sometimes you get lucky and fight someone with the proverbial “glass jaw”. This type of person is not a seasoned nor real fighter though. However, if you do encounter this person (“fighter”) then it will be a short and successful fight for you.


There may be other times that you are up against a newbie that is scared to get hit. When this is true, a solid pounding from your jab and your opponent will spend all the time moving around and away from your justifiable punches.

However, once you are against a seasoned, serious fighter then you know your fight game is on and you will be exercising all your tactics. The jab will only be used with the seven purposes that it truly is designed for.


The first real purpose of the jab is to find your opponent. Your distance varies during combat and you always need to keenly be aware of how far you need to travel to connect with your punches. The jab serves just this purpose. Once you connect with the jab, immediately follow with your real weapon which will likely be a cross punch. Nail your opponent squarely with a powerful cannon ball cross and begin your assault to victory.


The next purpose is to stop your opponent from advancing. A quick jab into the face will notify your opponent to stop and pay attention to you. You don’t want that person coming any closer. Think: Stop and Desist, NOW! A sudden fist into the face will send that message loud and clear.


Another purpose is to “blind” your opponent. When you start sending a few jabs into the face or particularly, the eyes of your opponent, you temporarily create a shield  that hides your other actions from your opponent’s view. This provides you with a very brief moment to prepare for your real plan. A good move would be to lean or step closer and then deliver a cross, or knee.


You will keep your opponent busy when you deliver several jabs into the face of your opponent. The constant barrage of fists smashing into the face of your opponent will require constant moves of protection to stop the oncoming fists from landing. You always want your opponent on the defense while you remain on the offense, attacking continuously until you win.


Although not likely to knock out your opponent, the jab can and will do some damage. This is your next purpose for the jab. Every hit counts when delivering pain and damage. By landing correctly on the jaw, your opponent’s head jolts backward and does some damage. It’s much like nickels and dimes: they don’t make you rich but after a bunch of them come together you have a few dollars. The same idea is with many connecting jabs, they pack a wallop and then when you deliver your power blows, like a cross, you do some real damage. This puts you closer or right into the winner circle.


The last purpose of the jab is to feint. The feint or “fake out” is to draw your opponent into blocking a punch that never is there and allow you to use another punch or attack that you really wanted to use. The feint jab quickly evolves into a hook punch or rolls up into a backfist or even a head smashing hammerfist. You can even pull back and use the other hand to deliver a cross or overhand punch. Your opponent was so busy blocking a jab that is not there and brought down the protecting guard and is now open for your attack.


To get the most from your boxers jab, put your dominant side forward. Therefore, if you are right handed, put your right side forward, if left handed, put your left. This is the best lead when using KUNG FU WARRIORS’s fighting techniques as this is the style taught by our lineage starting with Bruce Lee and then with Dan Inosanto. Traditional, Western boxing prefers using your non-dominant lead  because it has less power and choses to use your dominant hand as a cross because it believes there is more power in this hand. KUNG FU WARRIORS believes the cross will gain substantial power even for a non-dominant hand and believes the dominant hand generates significant power and speed because it is the dominant, frequently used hand and arm.


To execute a jab you need to:

·         Be in a single side lead, either right foot and hand forward or your left ;

·         Hand out in front about shoulder/deltoid level;

·         Elbow pointing straight down;

·         Hand-Forearm-Upper-Arm create a “V” shape;

·         Hand-Arm is about ¾ extended;

·         Shoot the hand foreward to the face of you opponent;

·         Squeeze your hand into a fist during delivery as it speeds to your opponent;

·         Keep your fist with the thumb up and the knife edge/baby finger on the bottom*;

·         Hit mainly straight in and also at impact move upward as if trying to hit the ears;

·         Return to starting point while releasing grip of fist.


*NOTE: some fighters prefer the “Boxer’s Fist” also called the “Corkscrew Punch” and is commonly used by karateka. The fist turns downward so that the bent thumb is facing the middle of your body, your squeezed fingers face straight down and the back of the hand is facing up. Although not preferred by KUNG FU WARRIORS it is still acceptable.  


The boxing jab is highly underestimated although frequently used. Despite its lack of real power it still delivers a good hit and serves to you well in combat. It sends warnings to your opponent as a caution of you presence, power and skill.


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...Sifu Mike