Boxing Tip #1: Jab Tap
I will never forget the day in the gym that I learned the boxing tip that I call the jab tap. (I have no idea if that is the official name for it). My trainer could have told me how to do it, but instead I learned the hard way during one of many sparring sessions. This day I ended up with a very bloody nose. I flicked a jab out at his head and from out of absolutely nowhere I got clocked with a straight right that rattled every bone in my face. After I recovered from the shock, I was in complete disbelief.
How did he manage to punch through my jab with a right?
If you think about the mechanics for this boxing tip, two orthodox stances facing off leave very little room for a straight right to land on target when one opponent is throwing a jab. If you follow a straight line from chin to chin, the punches would end up hitting each other midway -- they basically follow the same line. Thus, the only way to land that straight right is to come in at a different angle to cross the jab or move the jab out of the way.
Well, turns out the second method is what happened to me. As my jab neared my trainer, he very quickly tapped it downward with an ever so slight tap as he began to throw a straight right. With the jab deflected downward, my face was wide open and he seized the opportunity turning the forward motion of the tap into a full out straight right that was completely unobstructed going in. The rest is history. It was a hard learned lesson.
I am so grateful for learning that lesson though, because it has come in handy more than once. It is one of those boxing tips that drives home the requirement for perfect timing in boxing. The ability to anticipate someone's move and use their offense in your own offense is what makes this sport so incredible. This boxing tip also serves as the start to a counter attack.
Utilizing the Jab Tap
1. Facing your boxing opponent, you have to read him or her and anticipate when they are going to throw their jab or you can bait them. I talk about baiting in another boxing tip, but basically you can lure them into throwing what you want them to throw by adjusting the target they see. In this case, bait them by opening up your guard and exposing your head slightly. Just be careful what you ask for.
2. As the jab comes in, you have to start throwing your right and time it so that it is just out in front of your face when the jab is coming in. It is at this point that your open glove should be able to very lightly tap the jab downwards. You only need a very slight movement. The momentum of the jab hitting the deflection of your hand will send it harmlessly out of the way.
3. Continue with the straight right now, with full force at your target. If the timing is right, your opponent will not know what hit him and there will be very little danger of counter attack as he will not have recovered his jab or be in any position to launch another punch. He undoubtedly will try slipping the right, so be sure to follow this with a left hook or a jab of your own.
When to use the Jab Tap
You can use this at any time, but I find it works best in the opening rounds of a fight. It sets a tone and says, "jab at me if you want, but I'm going to nail you". It definitely makes them think twice about throwing excessive jabs out. Be careful though, using a lazy jab from your opponent to do this with just says to your opponent to stop being lazy. If he's any good, he'll think twice about just throwing lazy jabs and instead will ensure everyone coming your way is crisp and clean. This could decrease openings and make slipping much tougher.
It generally does not work so well when your opponent is throwing a double or triple jab. This is because they may not be totally committed to the first jab. That is, they may be pulling it back about the same time you are tapping it. If that happens and you follow through for the right, they may be in a position to land the second jab as you are moving forward. Watch out for that.
I especially like using this boxing tip when my opponent thinks he is going to start a flurry of punches. Stopping him on the first punch really changes the tone of the fight.
Practicing the Jab Tap
The best way to practice is with a sparring partner in order to get the timing right. However, if you can't convince someone to throw jabs at you, then visualize it in front of the heavy bag. Picture it coming in, make the motion with your right hand to tap it down and then slam the right into the bag. As soon as you do, move and repeat.