Deconstructing the Jab (diary entry)


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My client returned to training with an interest in exploring further Western Boxing concepts in martial arts and self-defence. He has already completed my basic course on Western Boxing for Martial Arts Cross-Training and, having now explored a wide range of different areas of combat, wanted to return to this base to better improve his hand striking and foot movement.

Tonight we focused on the jab and we will be continuing with this particular area of study next lesson. This was begun with some partner work, sending and checking the jab. We looked at some simple variations on the punch. The short-jab is a great speed punch and can be effectively delivered in rapid multiple shots. The long-jab is a great defensive technique and range finder. The power jab really isn’t a jab at all, as what the fighter does cannot really be described as a jabbing motion. Instead the fighter drives through behind a straight leading hand punch. The uppercut jab flicks out like a regular short or long jab, but then changes into an uppercut moments before impact. It lacks the power of a regular lead hand uppercut, but has the advantage of catching an opponent unawares from a sudden change of angle. A similar principle can be seen in the straight hook, which we also covered. The anchor punch was also touched upon, but it did not fit into the theme of tonight’s tactic. Although the punch is a lead hand strike with its own peculiar angle, it is executed using a specific drawing tactic.

The description and distinction of these types of lead hand punch were explained in the lesson for the sake of some superficial clarity. The real lesson, however, was what allowed these punches to be executed successfully. We covered moving offline and back again using these punches. The fighter would jab from their original starting position, shift to their left to throw the same punch and then shift back to the original position and punched again from there. This process was then repeated to the right and then the two were combined. It was crucial to coordinate the punching with footwork in every instance, so that there was a continuous flow of movement. This tactic works as a good way to both corner an opponent and to avoid being corned if being thrown whilst retreating.

Finally the variations on the punches were mixed into this procedure. Here we looked at better options for each punch. For example, the uppercut jab is not really very effectively thrown in repeats due the angle it connects. It is best thrown in combination with other jabs. The client was shown some simple heavy bag work to practise at home before the next lesson, dedicating a round to each variation and to experiment with other combinations.

The session was then finished with a brief discussion on self-defence applications such as the finger and arc-hand jab, as well as range finding with the fence’s “sensory tentacle” and the lead hand shove. These will be covered in more depth in future lessons.

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