Effectively Counter The Jab With Thiago Alves
The jab is one of the most important strikes in all of combat sports. It sets up strikes, distracts your opponent, helps you find and keep your range and more. This is why the jab is considered the best strike and one of the most important one’s to train. What is often overlooked however is the need to train defense and counters against the jab.
If you’re able to shutdown your opponent's jab, this means that you’ll probably be able to shut down most if not pretty much all of your opponent’s offence. Since most combinations start with the jab, if you take that away from them, they lose a big part of their arsenal. Since the jab is also used a lot for maintaining a safe distance from your opponent, taking this away from your opponent is a great way to make sure that they don’t ever get comfortable against you.
A great way to take away your opponent’s jab is to counter it. If you are able to land a hard counter to punish your opponent whenever they jab, you’ll be able to stop them from jabbing pretty quickly.
In this video,Thiago Alves goes over how you can use a roundhouse kick to counter your opponent’s jab. Thaigo is a UFC veteran and most recently competed in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship winning in his recent debut. He also currently works as a coach for other fighters.
The video is very straight forward. It starts off with Alves showing how he uses a rear kick to the body to counter his opponent while their jab is still extended. Doing this technique while the jab is still outstretched will make sure that your opponent can’t block your technique. This kick will hit your opponent square in the ribs and, if you’re a particularly hard kicker, you might even be able to break your opponent’s ribs.
You’ll need to parry your opponent’s jab to defend yourself just in case your opponent is able to land. If your opponent is able to land their jab while you're kicking on one leg, that’s a great way to end up with your butt or your back on the mat. This is why the parry is still necessary from this counter.
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Thiago then goes into the importance of really twisting your hips and throwing this kick hard. If you throw this kick lightly, even though if you time it right your opponent won't be able to block, they can still catch the leg after retracting their jab.
This means that even though you will have landed, you’re now caught on one leg. You’ve basically given your opponent the opportunity to to land their own shots, sweep you or take you down. This is why you need to throw this kick hard, not only to damage and possibly drop your opponent but because throwing a hard kick will also move your opponent in the direction that the kick was going. This way they are moved and unable to grab the leg.
Thiago says that there is a difference in the way that you land this kick between Muay Thai in MMA. In Muay Thai, because there is no grappling, you can land with more of the shin bone. In MMA, because the takedowns are a factor, kicking with more of the top of the foot is safer. This will do less damage but it is also much harder for your opponent to grab.
It’s important to keep note of the fact that this can only be done in a closed stance scenario, meaning that both fighters are in the same stance. If each fighter was in a different stance, countering a jab in this way would be more difficult. You would either need to use your lead leg to counter the open ribs of your opponent when theory jab or you could counter their rear straight in the same way you would with a fighter in the same stance as you when they jab.
If you like this technique breakdown and want to learn more from UFC veteran Thiago Alves, then check out his complete video series “Explosive Striking by Thiago Alves” available exclusively on Dynamic Striking!