Controlling Distance Using The Jab With Cain Velasquez
Despite not being the most powerful, and arguably being one of the least powerful in any striker's arsenal, the jab is widely recognized as the most important punch for any striker to learn and master.
The jab can control distance, start off a combination, and set up more powerful strikes. All this while being a very noncommittal strike, meaning that it is a very low risk and potentially high reward technique. This is why it is a really important technique to master if you want to be an effective fighter. There’s a reason a ton of world class fighters say “A good right hand will take you around the block, but a good jab will take you around the world.”
In this video, Cain Velasquez goes over how to use the jab to maintain and close distance on his opponent. Cain Velasquez is a legend in MMA, been a 2 time UFC heavyweight champion and a coach on a season of The Ultimate Fighter. Despite being recently retired from MMA competition, Cain is still training and loves to share his knowledge.
This video goes over how to use your jab more as a tool than a weapon and how to maximize its efficiency. It starts off with Cain saying that you want to keep your opponent at the end of your jab. This is what he calls punchers distance and Cain does not recommend that you stay in this distance for long. For most of the fight you will be outside of punchers distance, where you will need to step inside to land strikes. You also shouldn’t just walk into punching distance. Instead Cain says that you should get yourself into distance behind your jab.
The jab will not only keep you safe and stop your opponent from striking while you're coming in, it will also keep your opponent guessing. Using the jab you can set up your combinations and even takedowns.
Velasques makes sure to point out one specific detail that a lot of fighters and coaches don’t go over. That detail is that once you are in punching distance you are doing one of two things, striking or moving. This means that once you get into range to strike, do your damage quickly and then quickly move out of the way. This way you can avoid any potential counters from your opponent.
After mentioning that detail, Cain goes over some technical points of the jab to make it as efficient as possible. First he says that you need to make sure that you fully extend your arm when punching to maximize your reach and power. This means not punching too close with your opponent as that will cut off both your reach and power.
If you want to close a lot of distance with your jab, Cain recommends jabbing as if you were a fencer. This means treating your arm like the fencer’s sword and darting in really fast. This requires you to push off of your back leg to panuch forward and land your jab. If you only wanted to land the jab and you need to retreat backwards after landing it, Cain recommends that you move back with head movement instead of just walking backwards. This way you are not a stationary target, making you much harder to hit if your opponent tries to counter.
If you like this tutorial and want to learn more from Cain Velasquez, then checkout our complete video series featuring him “Fundamentals of Power Punching”, available exclusively on Dynamic Striking!