For the jab I see on videos and from others a few different techniques for the jab punch (leading arm facing the opponent).

There is one style which lifts slightly the forward foot while the arm pulls slightly back before pushing, and as the arm goes forward the forward foot makes a small step forward, and the punch lands at approximately the same as the foot grips the floor again. The whole body has only slightly turned in the direction of the punch. To get fast multiple punches the forward foot hardly touches till the jabs are finished as the step never completes.

The second style is where the forward foot does not displace but has a larger turning movement with the body for the jab. The forward foot at an angle of initially about 30 degrees turned away from the opponent becomes larger to about 45-60 degrees and the shoulders are almost completely in line with the punch.

The third places very little emphasis on the legs moving but calls for a dance like grip to support the shoulder's momentum pushing the arm. Recoiling the arm is fast here although the acceleration feels like there is a delay requiring my hips to support the body twist.

Is either one the correct way? or do they serve a different purpose depending on the distance of the opponent and the strategy to place yourself in the opponent's space? or due to the speed/strength trade offs of each punch?

Or is it a matter of personal taste. The third gives me the greatest speed as having the feet in place I recoil the arm without losing balance.

3 Answers 3


I'm not a boxer, I have almost zero boxing experience, but I've seen several valid approaches to footwork during the jab. The two I've been shown most commonly are a Jack Dempsey-style jab with a heavy forward step and a jab with no step, pivoting the front foot on the ball of the foot.

I can't speak to the jabs you've seen or the examples you describe, but there are multiple ways to throw a jab that are appropriate in different situations. People favor one or another due to strategy or personal preference.

  • i agree that multiple ways all have some advantage in different scenarios. The step may be good to close distance simultaneously with the jab. but with the step the forward leg really participate in speeding up the punch and feels strange.
    – Vass
    Sep 11, 2013 at 13:24

According to Bruce Lee's Tao of Jeet Kune Do, the jab—which he called "The Leading Straight Punch" should be delivered with the fist but not generated from it adding other parts of the body.

All subsequent quotes are from the book the Tools —> Striking section

The Stance

When you are standing right foot forward, your right punch and right leg become the main offensive weapons because of their advanced position. With your right foot and your right hand much close to your opponent than the left. The same is true for the left stance position.

The Origin

The delivery of the punch is different from the traditional gung fu. First of all, the punch is never positioned on the hip, nor does it start from there. This way of delivering is unrealistic and exposes too great an area to protect. Of course, this also adds unnecessary distance to travel towards the opponent.

The Power

In Jeet Kune Do, never strike your opponent with your fist only; you strike with your whole body. In other words, you should not hit with just your arm power; the arms are there as a means to transmit the great force with the correct timing of feet, waist , shoulder and wrist motion at great speed.

The Delivery

Instead of coming from the shoulder, the punch is thrown from the center of the body in the form of a vertical fist, thumb up, and straight toward the front of your own nose. The nose is the centre guiding line. The wrist is turned downward before delivery and is immediately straightened upon impact to add a corkscrew effect to the opponent.

The Moral

The important point is not to have any classical "get-set" posture or preparatory movements prior to delivering the straight punch — or any punch for that matter.

And with this, Bruce asserts what you would hear from many other master practitioners of martial arts. There is no one way to get things done. Find a way that works for you—taking into consideration your body type, speed, agility, mindset and situation.


In Boxing... Western Boxing the "popper" way to stand for a jab is as follows

Jab hand being the forehand or the side closest to your opponent. Generally this is your weak side. If you are right handed then the power hand being your right hand is in the back with your left out front. keep your hands up in a defensive/protective fashion IE keep your hands up elbows in.

Your feet in this 'left hand lead' stance, your left foot up front and planted your right foot to the back and heel off the ground (on the ball of your foot). as you jab or cross your back foot does the pivoting.

however when your "hook" your shift your weight to the back foot and come up on the front foot and rotate with the hip on the front foot.

If my answer is unclear I will try to record a small video tonight in the gym and upload it to YouTube.

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