Teddy Atlas’ Keys To The Door: The Importance Of An Educated Jab
Dynamic Striking is known for providing a platform for esteemed trainers, coaches, and athletes to film technical instructionals. Once such instructional is Teddy Atlas’ Keys to the Door: 14 Signature Jabs. After reading this title, you might think to yourself, “there are 14 kinds of jabs” or maybe even “why would anyone need to know 14 jabs?” The answer to this question lies within the concept of an educated jab. In this article, we will break down what an educated jab is and how some of the greatest fighters in history have demonstrated their educated jab.
What Is An Educated Jab?
Anyone even marginally familiar with boxing will have heard the saying that the jab is the most important punch in boxing. Why is this? First, the jab is the weapon nearest to your target which means that you can strike your opponent most quickly with this weapon. Second, the jab requires less energy to throw than many other punches which allows you to throw it more frequently in a fight without gassing out. The jab also allows you to throw with relatively fewer exposures than a hook or cross, punches that rely on a more extensive rotation of the hips. Each of these benefits constitute the jab’s seat on the throne of all boxing punches; however, by themselves, they are meaningless.
When done well, jabbing is done with a purpose. Great jabbers can use their jab for many purposes. This is what it means to have an educated jab. An educated jab is one that can serve multiple functions depending on the matchup. This also answers the question as to why you might need 14 jabs, such as the ones taught by Teddy Atlas in the Keys to the Door instructional. Let’s look at some different ways great fighters have used the jab.
Drawing Out And Shaping Defensive Patterns
One function of the jab can be to safely draw out defensive patterns of your opponent. Larry Holmes was a master of the jab. In his fight with Ken Norton, Larry came out flicking the jab, often in an upward trajectory from his waist. When a fighter wants to throw the jab with power, he needs to step in and get his weight behind his punch. On the contrary, flicking the jab requires no such step. The trade-off here is that while you can’t deliver a powerful blow you can fire off jabs quickly, with higher volume, and with less exposure. Flicking a jab out noncommittally, in high volume, over time will force the opponent to show his defensive tendencies. All fighters have them and each tendency can be exploited.
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Further, when landed enough, the jab begins to shape the defense. Larry Holmes was magnificent at pelting opponents with the jab, persistently over time. Eventually the fighter on the receiving end would bring his rear hand forward and to the center to parry the jab. Perceptive boxers like Larry Holmes pick up on this pattern and capitalize by hooking off the jab, landing on the now unprotected side of the head. Sometimes, these two functions can converge, like they did in Holmes vs Norton. Norton came into the fight with a predilection towards parrying the jab. After a barrage of jabs, this habit became more and more pronounced leaving a gaping hole for Holmes to land the left hook. Given Holmes accolades, which he can thank his jab for, it makes sense that one of the jabs covered by Teddy Atlas in his instructional is the “Beach Towel” jab that Holmes made famous.
Setting The Distance
One of the more common views of the jab is as a distance setter. In this view, a tall, rangy fighter will use the jab to keep a shorter fighter at arm's length. When successful, the taller fighter keeps a range in which he can land punches while remaining safely out of reach. Countless fighters throughout history have hinged their games on this strategy. Examples include Semmy Schilt in kickboxing, Rose Namajunas in her second fight with Jessica Andradae, and nearly anyone vs Mike Tyson. Perhaps the most notorious for relying exclusively on this strategy was Lennox Lewis.
In many of Lewis’ fights, he would spend large portions of the fight skirting around the edge of the ring, tattooing his opponent with jabs. Lewis enjoyed a reach advantage over most of his opponents, allowing him to use his jab to set a distance in which his opposition could not land punches. Once this distance was set, Lewis maintained it with lancing jabs at a distance and shorter, intercepting jabs as the frustrated opponent leapt in with left hooks. Punch tallies reflected Lewis’ success with this strategy as Lewis outlanded opponents by margins as large as 300-110.
A less common view of the jab as a distance setter, as explained by the tremendous Teddy Atlas, is to lull the opponent into a false sense of security. In the video below, Teddy explains how George Foreman programmed Michael Moorer to stand at the perfect distance for his thundering right hand. By throwing the jab just shy of full extension, Foreman convinced Michael Moorer that he had Foreman’s distance down. Patience is a prerequisite for this type of programming. The old veteran Foreman packed a plethora of power and patience, both of which he brought to bear in his knockout of Moorer. Ten rounds of throwing a ¾ jab taught Moorer to stand in perfect range of Foreman’s right hand, which he leveraged to score a late round KO and capture the heavyweight title at 45 years old.
Key Takeaway: Develop Your Jab
Jabbing is a premium skill in all striking sports. If you are a fledgling or advanced striker, developing the jab should be one of your primary objectives. In Keys to the Door: 14 Signature Jabs (Keys to The door 14 Signature Jabs by Teddy Atlas – Dynamic Striking), you get a world class trainer breaking down a multitude of jabs proven in the elite levels of boxing. Learn and develop these jabs so that you can both expose and create openings in your next fight!