The last type of jab in our series is the power jab. The power jab throws your entire body weight into the punch to inflict as much damage as possible. This is not a set up shot or a probing attack; it's intended to hurt your opponent.
The difference between the power jab and other jabs is primarily in the initiation of the punch. While the basic and flicker jabs are initiated from the "pulling" energy of your wrist toward the target, the power jab is initiated from ground. The basic and flicker jabs are like magnets which automatically speed toward the metallic attraction without any hesitation as the object essentially acts to pull the magnet towards itself.
Similarly, that is how one should think of the jab, it instantly and automatically is pulled toward the target. It uses as little muscle as possible, just barely using the small twitch muscles in the elbow and lower tricep, barely flexing at all. The pull is rarely understood as most punchers "push" their punch out, meaning their body weight is not pulled into the punch, but rather their body weight acts as an anchor from which the punch is extended using primarily the tricep and shoulder similar to doing a push up. The power jab is a "pushing" punch, but rather than pushing the punch from the body, it pushes from the ground and therefore transfers the body weight into the punch.
Frankly, a good fighter is really just a conduit of energy using either energy from the ground or from his opponent. Either he uses his opponent to pull his punch toward the target like a magnet or he uses the ground to push his body and punch toward the target. When the punch is pulled toward your target, obviously the fist and wrist go first and the body is carried behind it. When a punch is pushed from the ground as in the power jab, the body weight moves first toward the target and then is transmitted into the hips, shoulders, and then the elbow and fist. It generally is a process, but doesn't have to be and one can use both the push and pull energies in delivering a punch, but that's for a latter topic.
Now, the power jab as mentioned is initiated from the ground. What this means is that your rear foot will start the movement. If you are throwing this punch stationary without any footwork, your rear foot will push down and back driving your weight in the opposite directions of up and forward toward your target. Assuming you're in a boxing stance, your weight is moving up and forward you will need to turn your hips which in turn will also turn your shoulder, you will feel your arm "want" to extend because the movement of your weight has nothing stopping it. This is just the initial pushing off movement.
You can obviously throw a power jab from any number of stances. The point is whichever foot is in the rear, this will be the source of your initial start up as it is the part of your body furthest from your target, your opponent's face or torso. Remember, your knees should be bent from your stance like a coiled spring ready to release. This will allow you to push forward without hesitation.
One point here, the back heel is raised. This allows additional spring in your step, ease of movement, and the ability to jolt forward. However, when executing the power jab, it does limit power generation as the initial push from the rear foot is weakened in the bend of the toes. Because the ball of the foot is a joint, it acts as a spring and absorbs some of the initial start up. However, this loss in minimal compared to the advantage having the heel raises provides. Besides the benefits mentioned above, it also allows for great distance and transfer of body weight across that distance.
Placing the majority of your weight on your lead leg is much easier if your rear heel is raised. Of course, do not over extend yourself and loose balance. The ideal way to maximize power, distance, and speed in this punch is to initiate the punch from the rear foot with the heel down, pushing from the knee into the heel directly into the ground, then as that jolts your body weight forward and up allow that forward energy to also raise your rear heel driving everything through the hips and into the punch. This is an option. Obviously, it is easy enough to just keep the rear heel raised as little power is lost.
The delivery of the power jab after the initial start up is very much the same as the speed jab. The fist goes forward being driven by the body weight moving forward and is extended out toward your target. Remember the elbow should remain down generally speaking. Since this punch uses the turn of the hips and shoulders as well, at the completion of the punch, your lead shoulder, rear shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fist should all form a relatively straight line. This ensures proper transfer of power from the ground which you used to initiate the punch and into your target.
So, having the elbow out slightly isn't significant from a power stand point if upon impact alignment of the fist, elbow, both shoulders, and hips is correct. Since the hips are rotating slightly to push the body weight forward, this rotational forces acts well with the elbow slightly out as in throwing a lead hook, but delivered straight. The body should form a straight line of power from your rear foot to the target. So essentially your rear hip needs to be aligned with your lead shoulder to ensure the power is fully transferred. The way to check is to ensure your rear shoulder is aligned to your lead shoulder. It's not significant whether your fist is vertical or horizontal, just be aware of which it is and which knuckles you are using to target your opponent. A horizontal or vertical fist may be preferred depending on the situation.
With footwork, power is significantly decreased with this punch because it relies on a strong base, grounding, and stance. Placing one foot in the air would change the power dynamics and how force is transmitted to the target. A power jab can still be thrown with footwork, but now with the addition of one foot off the ground, you must use gravity to aid in making up for any power lost. This is where Jack Dempsey's falling step comes into play. While a subject for another article, the basic idea is to use the force of gravity to accelerate your body weight down and forward into your opponent. The initial power generation from the rear foot is the same, but it will not be possible to add much rotation to the hips as you'll need the hips to support a wider end base stance as a result of the forward lead single step. The rear foot remains in place, only the front foot steps. The landing should be more of a stomp and the punch should connect slightly before the foot lands.
This concludes Part 3: The Power Jab. Thank you for reading. Remember to always believe in you and say no to anything that is not aligned with the realness of who you are.
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