Ask any boxer or Muay Thai fighter, and they’ll tell you that one of the most important weapons in his arsenal is the jab. A linear strike thrown with one’s lead hand to his/her opponent’s head or body, the jab is the simplest way to measure range, upset your opponent and conserve energy for more powerful attacks.
Because of it’s simplicity, the jab is often dismissed as a KO punch. However, if used wisely and properly, the simple jab could be enough to knock one’s opponent out, making it very dangerous. Thus, knowing how to defend the jab is one of the most important lessons one could ever learn. In this video, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Nong-O Gaiyanghadao shows 5 essential ways to defend the jab :
1) Outside parry and sidestep
To perform an outside parry, catch your opponent’s lead jab with the palm of the open right glove, pushing up and out to the right. This puts you out of your opponent’s line of attack, creating an angle for your counterattack.
2) Parry down
The parry down is the easiest and most straightforward defense against the left jab. It requires zero strength and should feel like a natural reflex. However, you must remember to perform this movement with speed. As your opponent goes in for the left jab, flick your right hand across his wrist, forcing his glove to the left. This will leave the left side of his body exposed, giving you space to attack.
3) Slip outside
As your opponent goes for the jab, turn your body to the right, outside of your opponent’s arm so you catch the blow on your left deltoid. Move your left shoulder upward and drop your body weight back over your right leg. As your right hand drops, use this momentum to go for a body shot. Slipping outside also makes it difficult for your opponent to defend the counter attack.
4) Slip inside
Avoid your opponent’s jab by dropping your body down to the left. As you drop your body down, this creates the perfect angle for a left uppercut to the body. The slip needs perfect timing – you must perform it at the precise moment you avoid the blow to be effective. Doing so will give you the element of surprise you need to attack your opponent.
5) Duck under
As your opponent goes for the jab, drop your body forward, going under your opponent’s blow. This not only allows you to avoid the jab, but also helps you stay in the range you need for your counter attack.
The best way to work on your defense is to follow each technique with a counterattack. Doing so will enable you to get in the habit of counterattacking and defending at the same time. As with all techniques, ensure that you practice these consistently in order to make them part of your arsenal. So go forth and train hard!