The Jab – One of the Most Important Strikes in MMA

The jab is the most basic strike used in martial arts, and while it may not land with the power of other punches like hooks and uppercuts, it is one of the most essential tools a mixed martial artist can have in their arsenal. ICC is an all-in-one mixed martial arts combat centre. Highly regarded as the leading academy for martial arts, Lugarno, Penshurst and Western Sydney locals come to us to practice a variety of combat sports in a safe and welcoming environment. Here we will explore the jab and the many ways it can be used in MMA.

What is a Jab?

A jab is a straight punch that is thrown from your lead side. There are countless ways to throw it, and when used correctly, it is the most effective strike in combat sports. A jab is also one of the safest strikes you can use in MMA, when executed properly your jaw should be covered by your shoulder blades while your hand is extended. This minimises opportunities for your opponent to counter.

What Are Some of the Different Types of Jabs?

  • Standard jab – the traditional type of jab that students learn first. Ideal for setting up combinations and distracting opponents.
  • Tapper jab – a light jab that is thrown in quick succession. It forces opponents to put their hands up for defence.
  • Back-step jab – used to stop incoming charges, these need to be timed perfectly to be effective.
  • Power jab – the hardest-hitting jab where most of the power comes from taking a forward step and pivoting off your lead foot while throwing the strike.
  • Double jab – two quick jabs thrown to catch your opponent off guard.
  • Body jab – a light jab thrown to force your opponent to overcommit to protecting their body, leaving their head vulnerable to attacks.
  • Counter jab – often thrown after blocking an opponent’s jab with your rear hand.

Ways to Use the Jab in MMA

The number of ways to use the jab is almost limitless, it can be used as an offensive weapon, or as part of a punch-kick combination. It can be used for defence to deflect an attack. The number of jabs you throw and the speed at which you throw them provides endless possibilities. Here’s just a few ways to use the jab in MMA.

Determining Range

A fast jab is a great way to gauge how far an opponent is. Landing a jab lets you know where your opponent is and what attack options are available. If you can touch your opponent with a jab, it means you can also connect with kicks thrown with your back foot. A jab, followed by a kick from the opposite side is one of the most popular MMA combinations.

Peppering Opponents

It’s not always the devastating strikes that hurt an opponent. Peppering them with light jabs will break them down over time. Jabs are harder to see since there is no wind-up, and they use less energy. A jab is the most effortless punch to connect with, so you can throw it repeatedly even if it doesn’t seem to be effective. Peppering with jabs can lead to issues like eye-swelling or a broken nose, making it harder for your opponent to see or breathe.

Setting Up Combinations

A jab is a great way to start a combination. It is the farthest-reaching punch in your toolbox, and it can serve as a distraction that prevents your opponent from seeing you load up on more significant moves. Effective combinations that start with a jab include:

  • a jab followed up with an uppercut from the opposite side
  • a jab and a body kick with your rear leg
  • a jab followed up with a hook from the opposite side

The strike that follows your jab should be a big strike that you would not have been otherwise able to land.


A jab isn’t necessarily always an offensive move. You can use it to thwart attacks when you see your opponent is about to start a combination. By throwing a jab when you see your opponent winding up, the jab will usually reach your opponent before their attack connects.

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